Golf de Andratx
After all the fuzz of club testing, I still owe you the report on the golf course of Golf de Andratx (see it on Google Earth).
The course has a very diversified character as it wraps itself around the surrounding hills of Camp de Mar. This wouldn't be exactly your preferred location to build a golf course as the normal vegetation is very meager. On the course you can see that the crew around golf director Stefan Blöcher has to work hard to keep the course in shape. On the shadowy parts of the course like the green of hole no. 7, grass normally doesn't grow, so they use replanted pieces of lawn to keep it in good shape. Some tee boxes are laid out with artificial turf for the same reason.
The course makes it hard to get into a proper rhythm, you start with a narrowing par 4 uphill, then a very narrow par 3 with no fairway but the tarmac of the cart path.
This reminds you of the rule no.1 for a decent score on this course: no errant driving.
The first and the last three holes are being played surrounding the Dorint hotel or the residential area of Camp de Mar. Especially on the 16th and 17th you can virtually knock the cups off the coffee tables of the residents if you pull your drive a little to the left. I'd rather prefer a natural surrounding and that's why my favorite part of the course are the holes 4 through 9. It's a par 3-5-5-4-4-3 stretch that demands precise and long play to prevail.
The 6th hole, dubbed "Green Monster", gives you 609 meters of uphill play, two big old trees left and right of the fairway lets you aim through something for the green. Standing on the 6th green you can see hole 7, fairway and green of hole 8, the beautiful halfway house and hole 9. Feels like an amphitheatre of golf, the athmosphere is really stunning.
The 7th hole called "Los Muros" is a rather short par 4, still going uphill. The name of the hole is derived from the two stone walls protecting the green. Once you place your second shot over the 2-3m of stone wall onto the green, you have to make sure of keeping your ball on the green. Chipping your ball from the back of the green towards the hole may not be the best option unless you really have solid control of your chipping game. For all others, the putter from the semirough is the better option. Better keep your first putt short or risk of finding your ball falling down the first wall again.
After mastering this challenge you stand on the highest point of the course on the teebox of the 8th hole. I mean, you can see the fairway from up there, but it looks like you'll need a drive carrying half a mile to get down there. In reality, 160 to 180 meters should get you there, but on first glance, you are intimidated. Luckily for me, we played a scramble the one day and my flightpartner Manni hammered a 250m drive straight down the valley and landed it safely a pitching wedge away from the green.
The 9th hole is a very short par 3 over a lake, be sure to place your ball in the back of the green as it hangs toward the lake. The following holes still are nice to play, but as I mentioned before, they don't match the fascination of the front nine in my opinion.
After your round you will probably bump into some VIP's at the clubhouse (we encounterd Boris Becker, Karl-Uwe Steeb and some others), but most of them are harmless and just honorary members of the club.
Altogether, Golf de Andratx is a very nice course, but you have to have your act together to master it. A disappointment is the driving range, half of the bays flood when it's raining (and it rained almost all the time we we're there), you drive uphill and all your strokes get very short. But well, this leaves them something to improve upon in the future.