9-hole Sea View (Yellow Course) – Par 36 – 3.164 mt.
Franco Piras, former player of the national team and now a golf-course designer and partner in ‘Gary Player Design’, describes to us the course that he laid out himself.
Reasonably short opening hole with the first stroke rising slightly to a level stretch, after which the hole slopes gently down again to the green. Only the bravest of players aims the drive into the strip of fairway set in the Mediterranean scrub in order to try to reach the green with the second shot. The more wary player takes a defensive approach, first with a 3 wood and then a lay up towards the bunker on the right of the fairway so as to have a fair shot at the green with the wedge. The split-level green is perched on the edge of the hill. Be careful not to go long or to the right, as the dense scrub offers no chance of recovery.
The raised tees offer a good view of the entire hole, which rises and makes a slight dogleg to the left. Two large bunkers, one on each side of the fairway, show the way. The player who tries to carry the ball over the one on the left to shorten the hole will find another bunker in his path, right in front of the green, which is narrow from this angle and demands a very accurate shot. Those who go down the middle of the fairway to the right of the bunker will find the road a bit longer but an easier entry to the green along its longitudinal axis. The whole of the green slopes upwards and can be reached with a medium short iron. When trying to get onto the green it’s better to stay short of the pin than to putt in descent and risk seeing the ball shoot off past the hole.
Downward sloping hole with a slight dogleg to the right. A group of bunkers protects the corner of the dogleg. It’s up to you whether and how much to cut across the bunker to get closer to the green, but watch out for the Mediterranean scrub on the right of the course. It’s close than it looks and mercilessly punishes the tiniest error on the part of the rash player. The longest road is always the safest: a good drive to the left of the bunker and a medium iron can take you onto the green, which presents no major problems.
No strategy, just grit your teeth and shoot long and straight. Only the middle of the fairway will give you a good view of the green and any hope of getting a par. The route bristles with hazards. Try to avoid the small but deep bunkers on the left of the fairway, from which it is very hard to reach the green: beyond them lies the Mediterranean scrub. On the right is the river, which runs the whole length of the hole and is just waiting to punish your mistakes. And, on the right of the fairway again, a tree partially blocks the view of the green, which is very undulating and defended on the left by two deep bunkers. A par on this hole is worth double.
The green rises from the level in an elongated diagonal to the left, where it is protected by a deep bunker in front. Only a shot close to the flag offers any possibility of a birdie, as the undulating green requires a very accurate putt to get into the hole.
The tee shot is in ascent and only the player with a long drive will see his ball vanish over the ridge and take advantage of the downward roll. Be careful though: a drive too far to the left runs the risk of ending up along the row of eucalyptus trees that borders the hole on the left and limits the view on the second stroke. The fairway is broad but narrows progressively in the second landing area, where bunkers on the right and a group of oaks penalize the inaccurate player, while the scrub on the left is even scarier. From there it’s still a long way to the green. Raised and set at a slight angle from right to left, the green is protected by a bunker on the left and the Mediterranean scrub on the right. Be careful not to carry right onto the green, whose last part slopes downwards and will make the ball roll off.
The hole makes a sharp dogleg to the left with the second shot all uphill towards a green set completely crosswise and protected by a large bunker at the front. A bunker at the end of the fairway on the right indicates the right direction for the tee shot which, played down the middle, will allow you to make the second stroke from a good position. Here too the player who dares to make a long and reckless shot can risk cutting the hole on the left to get closer to the green, but has to be sure of being able to carry the ball over the scrub and past the small bunkers that are not visible from the tee. If the ball ends up in one of them there will be no way to make a shot onto the green. On the second stroke don’t judge by the distance alone. The green looks closer than it is and the rise suggests using at least one iron more than you might think. But be careful not to overshoot the green, as the downward slope at the back will take your ball on, leaving you with a tricky recovery.
Think carefully about the iron to be used to shoot for the green, you’ll pay a high price for any error. The green is surrounded on three sides by the lake and is set crosswise to the line of play. Bunkers at the front on both sides add to the perils, while another bunker positioned at the rear of the green will save too long a shot from the water hazard. The green is on several levels and the putt is always treacherous. Getting a par on this hole is a great satisfaction and to have any hope of doing it don’t exaggerate in trying to reach the flag from the tee. A good shot in the middle of the green, which is the widest part, will never leave you too far from the flag.
When you arrive on the tee weigh up the options carefully on the basis of your abilities and the position from which you’re driving. You can try to carry the ball straight over the lake and leave yourself with a short iron to the green, but to see it you have to aim to the right. If you’re on the left the shot is blind and it will be difficult to find a point of reference that will allow you to place the ball close to the flag. Instead you could drive from the tee to the right-hand side of the narrow and partially blind corridor of the fairway and shoot for the green with a medium iron from a good position, watching out here too for the lake on the left which will make you pay for any inaccuracy. If you don’t want to take risks or you can’t drive far enough, pull your tee shot up short of the lake and go across it with the second, trying to get as close as possible to the green. After all, you can still make par with a chip and putt.