When you go to the Málaga-Marbella region, you expect most of the courses to be built on undulating terrain, but maybe not as much, or not as “wild” a design as Torrequebrada, which occupies the heart of the town of Benalmádena just south of Málaga. Already, finding the entrance of the club is not easy, even with a GPS: it is located in a severely downhill, winding lane, and the only sign visible when driving is… when you go uphill, whereas most first time visitors come from the highway way on up. Just the first reason to qualify the course as a “hidden gem”!
Torrequebrada is a course which is best played with a buggy, there is no doubt about that. The hills between and around which the fairways meander are steep, and many. This makes for some unusual holes, pretty much throughout the course. It takes a bit of strategy thinking to go round, rather than length off the tee. Take the first three: The 1st hole is an uphill par five, not long at all at 435 meters from the tips. You face a big hole, and the fairway seems to start only 100 meters away. In fact, you see a tree, and a big bunker, because after these “markers” there is a big dip. Driver is not an option here because the fairway continues uphill in a narrow corridor toward the elevated green. The par-four 2nd seems to lack a real fairway because of the hill on the left, which one should carry, and the trees on the right at the foot of the hill, and the second shot is again to a sharply elevated green, a blind one therefore. And then the third is a “pocket” par-three, 90 meters from the back, barely over 60 meters for ladies! Here, precision with the wedge is the master word as the green is far from flat and is surrounded by deep bunkers. And on from there to new adventures!
Other scenic and unusual holes include the 7th (313 meters par-four), the tee is very elevated, the tee shot is over a city street to a somewhat narrow fairway and using the driver is probably not a good idea as there is a lake barring the hole well within the range of long hitters. The green is tucked into the left corner of the hole behind the lake, and you can barely see a third of it from the tee. The final hole is also a grand view: the tee is located to the left of the fairway, at the top of a hill, which allows the player to see both the eighteenth and the sixth fairways, then the clubhouse and the mountains in the background. The tee shot is across a ravine, with a sharp slope on the left if you miss the fairway on this side, and bunkers on the right. Then the approach shot must be precise, as anything left of the elevated green may dribble down the steep hill into a very deep set of bunkers, and anything right into another large bunker running the length of the green. The only real option to miss the green is long, but your ball will be caught in the rough on a steep incline.
Despite all of the hill climbing, there is a lot of water on the course, as nine holes include water hazards around their greens.
Playing this surprising course was a lot of fun, a bit dampened however by the condition of the greens at the end of the season: the drought had damaged some of them quite a bit and many had to be resurfaced with new “tiles”. This affected the putting a bit, but not to the point of spoiling the game as the flags were placed accordingly. Another visit when the course is in optimal form would be most welcome. In the meantime, we certainly enjoyed cool drinks and good food at the reasonable Spanish prices on the terrace of the clubhouse, overlooking the 18th green and fairway.
Date: October 29, 2016