One of several Robert Trent Jones designs that are strung out along the Costa del Sol, Mijas is a marvelous golf complex offering two wonderfully contrasting 18-hole courses.
Los Lagos was first to open in 1976 and it is set in 150 acres of a gently undulating landscape with wide, open fairways, huge greens and several large lakes that feature at half the holes on the scorecard.
In contrast – and by way of complementing the Los Lagos layout – Los Olivos was opened in 1984 as a shorter, tighter 18-hole course routed over more hilly terrain. Cabell B. Robinson, an old associate of RTJ, remodeled the 18 holes during the 2000-1 season.
Los Lagos has many memorable holes and a contender for the best of these is the 617-yard, par five, stroke index 1, 5th where the fairway is restricted by a boundary wall all the way down the left. The hole narrows to a large waste bunker on the left at the landing area with water further along on the right, in advance of the offset green – risk/reward golf at its very best.
I really enjoyed my round at Mijas, Lagos. I have visited the area many times but had never come across the course as it is tucked away in an urbanization area, so until you reach the road for the course you would never know it was there. Surprisingly, once you are there the area the course occupies is quite vast, giving plenty of room for two 18 hole courses, a practice range, a chipping area, and putting green. The course itself is of extremely high quality in design and the turf is perfect for the hot climate. There are plenty of options off the tees on the longer holes, with vast landing areas for shorter hitters and many holes offering a risk/reward option for longer hitters, by taking the line over bunkers and hazards to shorten the approach. This is apparent from the very first hole, a par 5 which is reachable if you are brave enough to hug the left side of the course boundary and smash the drive over the corner. You’ll need to hit it over 240 yards or 220 meters to get the true benefit of this tactic and leave yourself a reasonable distance to the green to reach in two. To score well at Mijas you’ll need to get off to a good start, as the course opens with 3 relatively straightforward holes and gets tougher as you plot your way around the front 9. There are many memorable holes, and I can easily remember each hole as each is quite different in length and design. There are 2 holes that caught my playing partners out. One was the par 5, fifth hole, everyone came up short and ran into the water as the green slopes severely back-to-front, so play for the middle of the green. The other was the par 3, eighth hole - a clever short hole with bunkers on the right and a severe run-off on the left short of the green. Again, play for the middle of the green and certainly don’t go pin-seeking if the flag is on the left! The front nice loops back to the start and the routing is very smooth throughout, with very short walks between holes. Stand-out holes on the back 9 included the par 5, thirteenth, a very inviting downhill drive leaving a pretty much unreachable second to the green forcing a lay-up. The approach is still fraught with danger with water in front and a steep run-off into the pond to catch any mishit or misjudged approach. What I really liked about this course is that it’s playable for everyone, and all levels of players will get a different sense of enjoyment in playing it. I played with a +1, a scratch player, and my 14-year-old son and each of us found the course challenging in different ways. It was a great match-play course with the game going to the final putt on the 18th hole. Unfortunately, we lost to a birdie! We all agreed the quality of the tees, bunkers, and greens were top-notch, the fairways were made of quality turf with, tight lies requiring pure strikes, and there really wasn’t any weakness. In summary, I would say this is certainly one of the must-play courses in the area and competes with some of the more exclusive members clubs nearby. If you have the time, there is an option to play 36 in a day as both Mijas courses are accessible and apparently quite different.
Last week I gave a ride and played Olivos which I liked and found a very good option here in the area. Many fellow golfers and friends have said to me that this one was better and that I would really see the difference and I have to say that yes, it is a better designed course, maybe an easier piece of land to work on and with a 7th gear with the extra yards from her sister and the big greens which will allow many different pin positions and course set up.
Course though in winter was very well kept, greens rolling true and fast as many around so it looks like the destination holds a high stander for greens speed and quality all of them of bent grass. Some firmer and some softer, that usually depends on floor and amount of sun/shade the greens get but these ones were quite firm which I really enjoy better.
I would say that this one is in the line of Santana and El Paraiso with views not being the feature of the course, instead there are many well thought holes, a good challenge in the approach shots and some benevolence off the tee in order to allow golfers to be able to play well. In a destination mainly though for holidays, the concept I saw on Lagos is the one I like with a good piece of land, no unnecessary level changes and just a very good design.
The only feature I would be a little hard on is in the size of the bunkers which in many cases are too big: sand is not only an expensive material but also hard to maintain properly and with this Covid protocols big bunkers will suffer some lack of care by golfers what could spoil the image of the course. But this is just an opinion of what I would think for the future, the course is a very fun track and value for many is excellent with the nice Club House and the big Pro Shop being a good combo for a great holiday golf round.
As for the holes to highlight, these are the ones that made me think again on them:
- 1st is a nice easy opener par 5 where risk/reward equation fits great.
- 8th is a very long par 3 with water on the left edge but pretty much space on the right for those who wish to play safe
- 10th a downhill long par 4 with water on the left, it was my first hole and as an opener it’s not easy!
- I liked uphill 12th, the change of level is not small but it doesn’t look dramatic and not necessarily carries uneven stances for the second shot.
- 17th is a short par 4 with a quite challenging green, elevated a little bit and I played a very nice right pin position.
Greens are of quite a generous size and with gentle breaks you don’t face some crazy putts you may play on other courses.
It is definitely a course worth to be played and if there is room in your time here, more than once and you will not be disappointed.
Was played two times at middle of February 2020 in Los Lagos and was bit disappointed. Concerning average field supervision of golf course, was not expected condition as it rated more high as neighbors golf courses. I comparing La Cala (America), Santana GC, Chaparral & Miraflores and find the same fields conditions. Maybe tee offs in Los Lagos are better. My opinion it is bit overrated and overpriced golf course. At the same time played in several other golf courses at Malaga region and find much more better fields maintance (Torrequebrada, Río Real). First of all for the requested price they must try to organize and maintain an appropriate level. Clubhouse and practice area requested a bit renovation. Golf course is flat and long. Concerning architecture and picturesque this golf course is very avarage and boring without any attractive view. In general condition of fields and surroundings were average, fairways with some laps of ground, but playable.
Golf course is not very challenging. All you need is distance and bit accuracy. OK, let's return to positive things. One of it is greens. They are speedy enough and well prepared, predictable and readable also. Concerning distance challanging: the second par 5 hole (No. 5) was app. 545 m. from yellow tee and look likes easier at first look, but most of the whole left side is considered “out of bounds”; and, on the right, the water is predominating from the second lap till the end of the hole. It means shots must be accurate. Actually to make par here is not easy - large green defended by a lake and bunkers on both left and back sides. Next one hole is the most arduous par 4 of the course. The hole is entirely appreciated from the tee, with its heart-shaped green. At first, a long drive is demanded to be followed by a quite exigent hit to get to the green. Hole No. 8 is the longest par 3 and the most technical of the course. The green is surrounded by bunkers on the right side and guarded by a lake on both left and back sides. It was 210 m. long from tee when was played and moderate front wind. So really was lot of things. Also course has some long par 4 and one par 5 hole. Nothing special, game success depends on wind more than hazards. A beautiful gateway as a large imitation of a golf ball towards 11 holes which is probably a signature. Thats all...
Value for price I found average.
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, club 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 criteries will be rating from 1 to 5 stars. Concerning Toia golf course my personal opinion is follow:
1. Challenging - 3*
2. Condition - 3* (could be much more better)
3. Service - 3*
4. Surroundings - 3*
5. Value for the price - 3*
Price must be much more lower to decide back here play again.
Los Lagos is long. It measures 6000 meters from club tees, but keep in mind that is a par 71. Luckily the fairways are quite wide, but you still need to give the teeshot a good belt to get in range of a green in regulation. The course is located on a fairly flat area but with a nice amount of humps and bumps to make it interesting. As the name implies, there are a few waterfeatures on the course, but there is room to contend with them. Notable holes 4,5,6,12,13,14 and 18. The 14th is one of the few short par fours on the course but a wonderful challenge still, slight uphill teeshot to a dogleg left, inside sweep is heavily bunkered, and the putting surface is well defended by five bunkers. The sister, Los Olivos is not as brutal in terms of lenght, but is still a nice challenge. www.flickr.com/photos/jannor/3143130703/