Posted on August 9, 2023 in Travel & Golf.
La Hacienda Links Golf Resort, at the top of the leaderboard
Located in the Spanish town of La Alcaidesa, between Sotogrande and San Roque, the complex combines two 18-hole courses, La Hacienda Links Golf, the flagship of the resort and the Heathland which occupies more inland. The Hacienda Links Golf Resort, a little nugget that will I am sure join the top of the leaderboard of the most beautiful Andalusian spots alongside Valderama, Sotogrande or Finca Cortesin, host course of the next Solheim Cup in September 2023.
The nugget Hacienda Links Golf Resort
It is with always so much pleasure that I join the south of Spain to play and test new courses like here La Hacienda Links Golf Resort. Andalusia is a stronghold of European golf, accessible by direct flights from many French airports. the costa del sol goes hand in hand with its nickname of costa del golf. Indeed, with more than 110 golf courses including 70 in a Mediterranean strip of 100 km between Malaga and Sotogrande you will find here the golfing eldorado.
I'm talking about re-discovering because the course created in 1992 has been largely redesigned by Kurtis Bowman (fairways, greens, bunkers, departures) for 2 years to reach the standards of its illustrious neighbours. The new owner, the hotel developer Millenium Hospitality, has invested several million dollars in it.'euro, theThis place is now one of the prestigious sites with the European Tour Destination label.
But that's not all, because a 5-star Fairmont resort with 150 rooms will be operational by the start of 2024. It will thus fully meet the expectations of demanding golfers. The Hacienda Links Golf is a UFO for the region. Indeed, few golf courses on the Costa Del Sol are played so close to the sea. As the coast is unfortunately very urbanized, land by the sea is mainly offered to developers for the construction of often unsightly buildings.
Exceptionally here, a magnificent strip of coastline has been preserved to unroll this fantastic green carpet. But don't expect to find yourself in the middle of nature. The constructions unfortunately remain quite present.
The ambition of the new owners being to make the place unmissable, everything is thought out with care. We start the experience from the club house. Majestic, airy, its large openings allow you to see the sea from its threshold. Our comfortable GPS buggies are labeled with our names, and after a quick tour of the superb, wide and long ractice, we head for the start, with the European journalists who accompany me. Perfect climatic conditions for the place: 22 degrees and gusts of wind at 30 km/h. Enough to fully experience a game on a links.
However, one should not expect to find here the original spirit of this type of course. The affiliation with Scotland or Ireland is subtle. A nod to St Andrews for the double green of 5/13, the possibility of finishing by rolling on a good number of greens and of course the presence of the sea. On the other hand, no rough, as in Augusta, claimed influence by the architect Kurtis Bowman, suddenly the balls tend to flee the track towards the obstacles. The route, more reminiscent of Pebble Beach, climbs and descends along the cliff approaching more or less the beach gnawed by superb rolls surprisingly virgin surfers. The quality of the course is irreproachable, we are here on high standards of maintenance. Small point of vigilance all the same, the relative slowness of the greens wanted in part to allow the balls to be held in high winds.
The Hacienda Links Golf Resort is a real eye-catcher.
If the start of the course from 1 to 3 on the plateau is an interesting appetizer, the wow effect comes from the 4th. we are about to play by the sea. An additional gift from the place, the one that concludes this magnificent tableau and relentlessly catches the eye from the top of its 426 m, the Rock of Gibraltar. Located about fifteen kilometers as the crow flies, this incredible limestone monolith seems so close.
Hole 5 is for me the signature hole of the course, an ultra spectacular par 5 which starts on the plateau to plunge towards the seaside. The gradient must approach 100 m. But here there is little risk of losing your ball, the track begins just after the starting balls. Suddenly the big hitter does not get any advantage, however, the average golfer can boast of having made a drive of 280 or 300 m. The only obligation is to put the ball in motion and let it drip inexorably towards the end of the fairway... Don't panic, the strong will be able to catch up as soon as they attack the green subject to a powerful and precise shot from 200 m and offer themselves a eagle luck.
Then follows, from 7 to 9 and from 12 to 14, a succession of holes where you will have to favor the placement of the ball because unlike the original links, here we are more on target golf. It is essential to respect the design of the holes, carefully consult your course book so as not to end up unplayable thinking you have made the perfect shot.
Hole 10 is the least interesting of the course, certainly to make us appreciate the 11 more. Solid par 4 in right dogleg which in high winds is difficult to take in 2. As a result a lay-up will leave you a shot of about 80 m to reach the green which seems to be placed in the middle of a raging sea. From there to believing yourself at hole number 7 of Pebble Beach there is really only one step.
The par 4 of the 15 brings you back to the heights of the course, to touch the green you will easily have to add 2 clubs to cover the distance. The course is coming to an end with a few more nice holes such as the technical and visual par 3 of the 17th. The sporting aspect finished, it is time to turn to the gastronomic aspect.
Also top notch in terms of cuisine.Within the club house is the Sal Verde restaurant, owned by the Azotea group, which owns around fifteen top-of-the-range establishments in Spain. Their menus are created by renowned chef Manuel Berganza and the cocktails by Luca Anastasio, world champion in mixology. I have rarely been so impressed by a golf restaurant. Casual chic atmosphere, dishes inspired by organic products.Mediterraneaneans who oscillate between traditions and to ensureity, at affordable prices.
In France we have'accustomed to “food and wine pairing” menus » here, big première, it'is a food and cocktail pairing that is offered. Essential revisited tapas such as tuna tartare with truffles and dishes such as matured rib of beef will be paired with spicy Moscow mules and margaritas with lemon syrup.'agave… No less than 4 cocktails will be served throughout the meal… C'is totally amazing…Even without playing the course, a stop at this establishment is highly recommended, but it goes without saying that'it will no longer be possible to go back to golf or drive!
- Price of the Hacienda golf Links (summer): €190 cart included
- Heathland price (summer): €80 cart included
By Jean-Francois Ball
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