Golf Course Review – Altorreal

Golf Course Review – Altorreal

The pleasant golf course of Altorreal is located in foothills close to the town of Molina de Segura and only a 9km drive North West from the provincial Capital of Murcia and within one hours travelling time from Alicante and San Javier airports. First opened to the public in 1994 this 18 hole championship course was designed by Dave Thomas who was runner up to the great Jack Nicklaus in the British Open held at Muirfield in 1966 and who has designed the local courses at Roda and La Manga in addition to the famous Belfry Ryder Cup course in the UK.

To find this lovely course from the Costa Blanca take the A7 motorway in the direction of Murcia and take exit for the A30 towards Albacete for a few kilometres and turn right towards the Urbanizaciones at exit 130 and you will see the course signposted and as a guide the course is only 5 minutes drive from this junction.

The large clubhouse has an upper veranda giving excellent views of the 9th and 18th holes and is fitted with glass curtains which can be closed to the elements on ‘chilly’ late winter afternoons.The café bar restaurant offers a wide variety of food and beverage at very affordable prices which is unusual because usually in Spain, the catering facilities are ‘franchised’ resulting in extremely high price levels.

In addition the clubhouse has ample parking, shower and changing rooms plus a sauna and a golf shop.As you would expect of a course of this stature the practise facilities include a driving range, putting green and a chipping green which could be in better condition.Other services include, trolley hire, electric trolley hire, buggy hire, club hire and tuition.

The influence of ‘links’ golf on the playing career of the designer Dave Thomas is evident in that the course consists of two ‘loops’ starting and finishing close to the clubhouse. This more ‘parkland’ style golf course consists of 18 holes with a par of 72 of 6,239 metres (6,863 yards) from the competition tees and 6,036 metres (6,640 yards) from the yellow tees. Having played this course on many occasions I have come to the conclusion that it is a risk and reward course and you generally get what you deserve, if you play well you will score well and if you play poorly and hit bad shots you will be punished.In 2007 the greens on the first three holes were significantly re-designed and ‘lifted’ to eliminate flooding problems and the result is good with large sloping greens now a test to anyone’s approach shots and putting technique early in the round.

When all the building development in the hills surrounding the course is complete this will really be a pleasant place to play golf and the owners and greens staff are constantly working to improve the course.Given the undulating nature of the course the designer has used the slopes to ensure that you rarely have a flat lie and has combined this with strategically placed bunkers and water features to catch errant shots.The water hazards have been positioned on the 1st, 6th, 9th, 12th, 13th and 18th holes to catch the miss-hit approach or lay-up shot rather than the drive. The 4th, 7th, 10th and 17th holes are all par three’s and unlike the modern trend do not rely on length but bunker positioning and green design.For the better players there are a number of good birdie opportunities on this course but danger also lurks so you will also need good course management.Being an undulating course this may not be suited to golfer with difficulty in walking 18 holes.