Lumine Mediterrnonea Beach and Golf Community Lakes course
Senior staff writer Adam Smith recently took a trip to Lumine Mediterránea Beach and Golf Community to play three courses on-site. Here's his review on the Lakes course.
Designed by Greg Norman and opened back in 2008 with a Sergio Garcia Pro-am, the Lakes has the Great White Sharks signature all over it; looks superb, very challenging and leaves golfers with a sense of excitement. And when it’s all over, all you want to do is get back out there and do it again.
It has an inland links feel to it and it and was designed and built around the Sèquia wetlands area which is a classified space of natural interest. With that in mind Norman was brought on board as he is known to be the industry leader in ‘promoting the compatibility of a golf course with the environment in mind.’
He certainly wasn’t limited however, space and time was offered to produce a championship course that could rival any in the nation and boy did he provide. Along with the Lakes he also designed and built the Ruins 9-hole course for which you can see a review right here.
The par-71 plays 5934 metres from the yellows so that’s 6489 yards and it plays every inch of that. The name is very apt as water comes into play on 13 out of the 18 holes and I’d be pushed to pick a course I’ve played where the greens rolled as fast and true as they did here. On the Ruins course I mention that as it’s a lot shorter and seems more scoreable but the tough greens are its defence. However on the Lakes, add in the theory of the fast, firm greens to the immaculate lay-out and toughness of the whole course and you have a fabulous but enjoyable 18-holes.
What Norman has done is create a master piece in design especially from the outset of the tee shots on every hole. To the naked eye it looks fantastic but also plays like it as well. Managing your way around here and plotting where to play to off the tee is the key to scoring well. You certainly don’t need driver off every hole as hitting the fairway and being in a position to put yourself in a scorable place on the green is vital, the pin positions and large undulating greens protecting its assets well so having a good eye for a lag putt is essential as you’ll be faced with a few rollercoaster long putts.
The 1st is a gentle start, a dog-leg right par-4 moving slightly up hill with strategically positioned bunkers off the tee which is something of a signature around this course.
The 518 yard par-4 2nd is certainly one where you would feel you can grab a few points or a stroke on the course. Avoiding the huge fairway bunker off the tee for this is vital but there’s a lot of room over to the right handside of the fairway. A pot bunker sits in front of the green taking the run up shot out of play but if you leave yourself a decent lay-up it’s one of the flattest greens on the course, still huge at 59 yards deep but relatively flat so hit a good wedge and you could be on for a birdie.
With the first two holes out of the way the 3rd is where you find water for the first time. All the way down the right hand side of the hole is wet but as Norman usually does there’s two bunkers on the left hand side of the fairway to catch any over cautious drives - great short par-4.
The 4th is the first is the first of four par-3’s on the course and my playing partner and I agreed if you play them well then you’re heading in the right direction of a good score. The 4th has water all the way down the right tee to green with a large bunker in-between being wet and being on the green.
Moving forward to the 7th, the next par-3 is a beauty. Directly over water onto a green that slopes sharply right to left and back to front and guarded by four bunkers. At 160 yards it’s the shortest on the course but most certainly the toughest. On paper the 4th is the third hardest hole on the course but I’d personally swap the 4th and 7th around.
Heading towards the end of the outward nine the 8th is a great driving hole with water all the way down the left and no fewer than five fairway bunkers down the right; accuracy is key. If you miss the fairways here on the Lakes the rough isn’t too bad, it’s just that there isn’t much of it, if you stray majorly offline then you’re in trouble; as should be the case.
The final hole of the front-9 is the hardest hole on the course which heads back towards the clubhouse and what a great par-4 it is. The toughness comes from the narrowness of the tee shot as the landing area is no more than 30 yards wide with water all the way down the left and three fairway bunkers down the right. If you miss the fairway you’ll struggle to get to the green in two as two huge bunkers protect the left hand side also making it a tough up and down if you get your ball up there.
The ride to the 10th tee takes you back past the clubhouse and down towards where you began a couple of hours earlier. Adjacent to the 1st tee the 10th is another gentle start to what is a fabulous back nine and three great closing holes.
The 11th is a tough but excellent par-4. The tee shot is narrow so plot your way through the fairway bunkers on either side to set up a daunting approach. You don’t want to be long here as the Sequia wetlands will have your ball. A huge bunker that wraps around the left hand side of the green all the way to the back may save it if you do decide to attack. If you want to play safe you’ll still need to fly the bunker at the front of the green.
The aspect I noticed most about the Lakes is the need to trust your yardage. Some approach shots may look shorter or longer to the naked eye but they’ll be either room over a bunker that’s short of the green or in front of hazards behind the green. So choose your numbers carefully and remember to change metres in to yards if that’s what you’re used to.
The 12th is one of my favourite holes on the course and from here on in starts a run of holes that you could play over and over again. A long par-4 with a semi-blind tee shot all you see is a fairway bunker that sits within driving range on the left hand side of the fairway, there’s also another one hidden down the right but it’s the approach shot that is special about this hole. Water comes in from the left and hides the left portion of the green, there’s also sand down that side as well. It’s a narrow green to find too so accuracy is a must. I would say this is the hardest hole on the course as its length as well as its hazards provides a stern test. Walk off here with a par and you’ll be all smiles going onto the 13th tee.
Leave the driver in the bag on the 13th as finding position is your number one aim. If you’re long enough then it’s a true risk and reward hole as wasteland hugs the left hand side but driving the green is possible. Water is further left than that but if you find it then you’re way, way offline. An easy fairway wood or rescue to lay-up will leave you around 100 yards in or less but this hole has one of the trickiest greens on the course with so many undulations your ball could land on the green and easily roll backwards 20 yards off the green. Trust your numbers again and try and get your ball hole high.
The 14th is a par-3 over water that sits in front of the tee but not at the green. Again this green is very difficult so even if you hit the green you’re going to be left with a tough putt. Three large bunkers protect it and playing slightly uphill it’s certainly no easy par.
The 15th is another tough long par-4 that once again puts emphasis on hitting the fairway as the approach shot is onto a tricky two tired green. The bottom of the flag is hidden on approach with water tucking in from the left hand side and a bunker in front and swinging around the left hand portion of the green. It’s the last par-4 on the course so make it a good one.
Now you’re left with three really great finishing holes especially the par-5’s 16th and 18th both of which dog-leg left around water.
The 16th is certainly the tougher of the two. A very tough tee shot needs to be drawn following the path of the water to hit what is a narrow fairway all the way down to the green. A well-positioned fairway bunker sits around 100-90 yards away from the green so make sure your lay-up shot avoids that. The green sits on a plateau so get your ball up there to have a chance of making a good score.
There’s no water to contend with on 17 but that doesn’t mean it’s not a great penultimate hole. Playing slightly downhill and downwind there’s a 34 yard wide green to hit which is protected by four bunkers all towards the front right of the green. If they’re devilish and place the pin behind them don’t be a hero, hit the widest point towards the front left and walk off with a two-putt par – sounds so easy!
Playing virtually the same as the 16th all be it shorter, the 18th is a gem of a finishing hole and one that certainly be fits a course like the Lakes. As stated like the 16th water is featured all the way down the left and it requires two hefty blows if you’re going to reach in two. The second shot is slightly downhill but again you have to miss the strategically placed bunkers that want to catch anything from 90 yards in. There’s one on the right hand side and one a bit further down on the left about 65 yards from the green. It’s a grandstand finish with the clubhouse behind and the veranda full of watchers but the huge green some 39 yards deep is inviting for an attacking approach to try and finish off in style.
Lumine at its best
As ‘resort’ courses go the Lakes is in a list of its own. It’s not a resort course at all it’s just part of what is one of the world’s best golfing facilities. When looking for golfing breaks the Algarve, Florida, the resurgence of Turkey and even Dubai nowadays are up there in the forefront of traveller’s minds but I recommend you seriously add Costa Daurada and Lumine onto that list.
One of the main aspects I enjoyed about the Lakes is that no two holes were ever the same and it had you thinking all the way around. I’ve played on a couple of Norman’s courses over the years most notably the Champions Gate courses in Florida and The New South Wales Golf Club on the outskirts of Sydney and they’re very much the same making his courses some of the best in my opinion. I only hope that Greg looks to bring his expertise to the UK soon.
All in all I couldn’t fault the Lakes course and it’s no wonder the European Challenge Tour were here in April of this year to tackle what it had to offer. Everything was pristine from the elegant cuttings on the tee boxes to the beautifully manicured and textured fairways. I really didn’t want the round to end.
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