Located near Torre Pacheco in Murcia, the course at Mar Menor Village Golf exhibits something of a split personality as Dave Thomas set out the front nine and Nicklaus Design completed the back nine. Water comes into play at three consecutive holes on each nine: 3 to 5 on the outward half and 13 to 15 on the inward half.
The course is now operated by UGOLF, a leading European golf course management company which looks after more than fifty Spanish and French golf facilities, including three in Murcia: Mar Menor, Hacienda del Alamo and Saurines.
Chris Ahern, PGA professional at Mar Menor, was kind enough to provide us with the following comments:
The toughest hole at Mar Menor Golf is the 3rd, a par four rated stroke index 1. From the tee, two fairway bunkers to the left must be avoided. There’s a big lake to the right and short of the green that comes into play for the second shot so the only bale out spot is short and left of the green. There’s also a greenside bunker short of the green which challenges players that attack the flag with their approach.
There are two contenders for “signature hole” on the scorecard, the first of which is the par five 4th, measuring 455m for men and 420m for ladies. This is probably the easiest par five on the course but it looks very pretty as you play up towards the entrance to the hotel. The major trouble at this hole is a hidden lake that lies short and left of the green.The other hole that vies for recognition as the most memorable on the course is the par four 13th, measuring 323m for men and 285m for ladies. It’s a right doglegged hole with a large lake running down the right side of the fairway. The drive must avoid bunkers on the right, left and centre of the fairway and the green is well guarded with water to the right of the putting surface.
Mar Menor Golf Resort was a place to try and play in the Murcia area golf courses and training zone for two weeks. The hotel quite good with all benefits of five star property. Actually very impressive to take a cup of coffee in the morning at room balcony with the view of 18 hole green. Small but cozy clubhouse with restaurant and proshop. No doubt the best thing here is The Clover - Irish pub for drinks and snacks. Very cozy place for golfers with possibility to watch PGA tour tournaments.
The training area and driving range could certainly be better maintained, but on the other hand it is also a consequence of the drought. The main advantage is that everything is on site and within walking distance of the hotel. It's really convenient. The first tee is also very close. Concerning golf course I can‘t say a lot of good words. Quality is very average and first nine is quite boring. One good thing that after first nine you can visit the resort shop (Spar) and take a few beer in the bag for second nine.
Second circle is much more interesting. The second round in typical Nicklaus style features wide fairways and wide roughs that will allow you to hit big shots, although the bunkers are placed in all the perfect spots to pick up the bad balls. A special mention is the spectacular lake that surrounds holes 13, 1, 4 and 15, making water the biggest obstacle to overcome, known by local players as the "amen corner" of Mar Menor. The fields are not very difficult, making them suitable for players of all levels. Much depends on weather conditions and wind strength and direction.
I would recommend this course if you stay at hotel or resort properties for training or quite play. One doubt is the poor value for money. Could be more cheaper for this quality.
No doubt every golf course rating is always a subject with a lot of subjectivity, depending on various criteria. I always rating by the following criteria: course complexity or challenging, fields condition (especially greens & fairways), service (only what you can get: buggie, clubs rent, condition of clubs, the amount of choice and etc. except staff and other subjective things that depends on your or staff mood), surrounding views or pleasure to the eyes and definitely value for the price. All criteria's will be rating from 1 to 5 stars. Concerning Mar Menor golf course my personal opinion is follow:
1. Challenging – 3*
2. Condition – 3*
3. Service - 3*+
4. Surroundings - 3*
5. Value for the price - 3*-
I really enjoy playing Mar Menor. Its a well designed course that has wide fairways and lots of bunkers. If you speak with people who play the regions course's often I think this course might not get a mention, but I think a lot of this has to do with it being a course that is very tightly packed in amongst a villa resort and the actual design of the course gets a little forgotten.
For me it is the best and most well balanced of the Jack Nicklaus courses in the region, there are no quirky head scratching holes on here, what you see in front of you is largely what you play to, so be careful with your yardages , plot the good and bad misses and you will do well here.
3 really handy tips here are:-
Play hole 3 as a par 5 unless you are a very big hitter !
On 15 dont be tempted to open up your shoulders, just plot a 7 irons into the fairway and the a 9 iron into the green (you will see what I mean when you play it)
On 16 ... always hit at least one more club than you think into the green... long is not a bad miss... short is an nightmare and you can be in and out of bunkers all day! (I had a 13 here once!)
Facilities great, big hotel as clubhouse, driving range a little battered but ok.
In peak season will be painfully slow, in summer its empty so much more enjoyable for me.