We have now played all 27 holes of the new winter golf course layout.

Earlier in the week we played the White/Red combination twice. Yesterday we played the Blue/White combination. Both of these winter layouts have the same slope table as the Master Course. Even though the Red course is 4 holes Master and 5 holes Classic. While the Blue course is 5 holes Master and 4 holes Classic.

The White course is the front 9 of the Master. So the layouts we have played as 18 hole courses contained 13 or 14 holes from the Master course. With 5 or 4 holes of the Classic.

As yet we have not played the easier Red/Blue combination that is a total of 9 holes Master and 9 holes Classic. This already had its own slope table with lower sloped handicaps.

The management of the course has put in a lot of effort to try to make the changes as easy as possible to understand.

There are plenty of signs guiding you around the course. My only slightly negative comment on the signage is that the distances shown on the signs (e.g. Red hole 4 - 130 metres) are as the crow flies. So the walk to the next tee is actually quite a bit longer than shown.  However, overall the distances walked between tees and greens in the new layout is about the same as the Master course. As show in the article here from when the new layout was trialled earlier this year.

New markers on the tees showing the official tee positions have been added on what was the Classic course. Also, the areas around the official tee position markers on what was the Master course have been strimmed. So you can see the markers more easily.

The Master course already had big concrete signs near each tee displaying a tiled image of the hole. The hole numbers have been modified on these signs so that they reflect the new layout (although the stroke index of the hole has not been changed so it does not match the new scorecard.)

There are similar signs currently being constructed on what was the Classic course. So that all 27 holes will soon have similar signs on each tee.

So far the speed of play has been OK. Also, we have had access to more tees times. We will have to see what happens in November when we have the maximum number of long stay players here.

The condition of the course is not fantastic. However it has improved quite a bit since the summer. When the green keeping staff struggled to keep the course tidy due to the grass growing so quickly.

All in all, at the moment I feel that implementing the new layout has been a success.

Jacqui and I are back on the Almerimar golf course after a week off due to a short trip to the UK.
 
It is a case of all change as the course is now in the new winter layout. So far we have played the White (Master front 9) and Red (Master 10-12, Classic 5-9 & Master 13) 9 hole courses.
 
We play the same combination in the FGS competition this coming Friday. However we are having a knock-around on Saturday where we will be playing the Blue (Master 14, Classic 1-4 & Master 15-18) and White courses with friends.
 
A lot of effort has been put in to try to make it as easy as possible to navigate the new layout. Also, there are new tee markers showing the length of the holes on what was the Classic. Plus there are efforts being made to ensure that the signs on all 27 holes look similar.
 
So far we have only played early afternoon tee times (12:50 and 12:58). On both occasions we have not had any problems with catching up with the last morning players (9:52 first tee time and 12:24 second 9 holes). So I guess that the marshals are doing their job making sure the morning players play quick enough.
 
It is early days but it looks like the new layout is working out OK.

Further to the earlier article here about changes to the layout of the golf course at Almerimar later this year.

The original plan was to introduce the new layout from 1 October 2017. I understand that the change has now been delayed until Tuesday 10 October 2017. The reason for the delay is that the management want to give the greens on the Classic (Master 3) course more time to recover from their recent hollow tining.

4th green 5 September 2017

As mentioned earlier the greens have now been hollow tined and top dressed. This is a photo of the 4th green from a couple of days ago (Monday 5 September 2017).

Lets hope that the main course will be in reasonable nick when it reopens again around the middle of the month.

We are playing twice around the Classic (Master 3) course at the moment.

The good news is that there have been two sets of red tees and two sets of yellow tees put out on the Classic. One set is forward and the second set is further back in the official tee positions.

In my view the Classic course is too easy from forward tees. Particularly for men. Playing off the official tee positions makes it a must fairer test of golf given the shots that people get on that course.

There is a notice up at the golf clubhouse saying that the Master Course (Master 1 & 2) will be closed for around the next 2 weeks as the greens are to be hollow tined.

Tomorrow (Monday 4 September) the front 9 (Master 1) will be closed. So people will be playing the back 9 holes of the Master course (Master 2) and the Classic (Master 3).

From Tuesday 5 September through to Monday 17 September people will be playing twice around the Classic (Master 3) course.

As usual, these dates are approximate and some minor changes to the closures might happen in the next 2 weeks.

I guess that after 17 September the Classic (Master 3 course) will close for hollow tining of the greens. Then I guess it should reopen again in time for the change in the course layout that is due to happen from 1 October 2017.

Lets hope that the courses are all back in good condition in time for the winter influx of golfers starting in October.

Today, while I was playing golf at Almerimar my Garmin golf device showed a message saying that the courses on the device need updating.

When I got home I updated the device. The update process was fine. However there is now a problem with the Almerimar courses on the device.

At present the device only shows the new combinations of courses that will be implemented for the coming winter season (White/Red, Red/Blue and Blue/White). It does not give the option of picking the current 18 hole Master course (Master 1 & 2) and the 9 hole Classic course (Master 3).

Golf Almerimar has already advised Garmin of the problem and are waiting for the current course layouts to be added back on to the course list (alongside the new ones).

So when I am playing in the competition on Sunday I will have to jump between courses on my Garmin golf satnav device. Doable but a little messy.

So my advice to Garmin owning Almerimar golfers is to not update the courses on the device for a while.

I will post another story here once I have been informed that Garmin has updated their course lists to include all 5 options (the three new ones and the two current ones). After that people can update their Garmin devices.

Please note that this same problem may occur with other golf GPS suppliers. Hopefully in the next few days Jacqui will be getting a replacement for her faulty Golfbuddy watch. So I will be able to report the current situation on Golfbuddy devices.

UPDATED: A reader has advised that it is due to reopen again sometime in September. So it is only a temporary closure.

I understand that the chiringuito at Alborán golf has closed. So if you are playing there you will have to go offsite to get something to eat before and/or after golf there.

At the moment I am not sure whether there are any plans for it to open again.

Speed of play

This sign has been put up on the noticeboard in the clubhouse. I guess that they are practicing for when the course changes to the new layout for the winter season. The 3 tee starting layout being adopted in the autumn will need to get players to play at least this fast for it to work OK.

It looks like there have been some late changes to the list of official golf competitions at Almerimar in August 2017.

The José Lopéz Memorial competition is now taking place on Sunday 6 August rather than later this month. The Match Quality competition has moved back to Sunday 13 August. This will be followed by the Virgen de Agosto on Tuesday 15 August.

The entry lists for the first two of these competitions are up on the noticeboard in the clubhouse now.

On Friday, in our regular Friday golf competition, we played on the Master (Master 1 & 2 course) not long after it had reopened following work on the greens. It is normal for greens to be tined and top dressed in May. As you would expect the greens were very slow and bumpy.

Yesterday Jacqui and I had a knock-around game on the same course. I am guessing that to protect the greens following the recent work they had not been cut for a number of days. So they were even more slow and bumpy yesterday.

I had to pop down to town this morning so I cut across the course rather than walk all the way round. While doing so I checked out the greens. The good news is that they must have been cut this morning. They certainly looked a lot better than they did yesterday. I guess there is probably going to be another week or two of recovery to happen yet. However at least they are on the mend now.

I have just spotted here a statement from 19 April 2017 about the possibility of a worldwide golf handicapping system to replace the many local variants that currently exist.

This is going to be a bit of a challenge to say the least.

The article says there are 6 different systems in use around the world.

I know from experience that the EGA system that is in use across continental Europe has a number of alternative configurations for individual countries to choose from. Also, I know from experience that the Spanish golf federation do not use one of the standard EGA configurations that are supposed to be in use across Europe.They have created their own national variant of the EGA 2016-2019 system.

The Spanish national variant has increased handicap cuts for players scoring more than 40 Stableford points (or Stableford adjusted points for medal competitions). It also includes different age groups of juniors with maximum handicaps in the range of 36-54. It also does not use the 2016-2019 EGA approved method for calculating sloped handicaps for players with handicaps of 36 and above.

I know about these local aspects of the Spanish handicapping system as we use a software package set up with one of the approved configurations of the EGA system for managing FGS handicaps. So I have spotted the differences between the Spanish system and the official EGA system.

I am not sure how many other local versions of handicapping there are around the world. Also, I wonder if there is a unified system whether some countries will continue to do their own thing. As has happened so far in Spain with the EGA system.

The Master (Master 1 & 2) course is closed until this Saturday (6 May 2017) as they have been tining and top dressing the greens. I have been told that they want to rest the greens to try to make sure they are in good condition for the summer season.

Looking at the greens from a distance they are completely covered in sand at the moment. I was just driving on the road past holes 11 & 12 and both holes looked better than the beaches in Almerimar. It was a very nice coloured sand that has been put on.

Following the trial of the new winter golf course layout earlier this month a few people complained to me about the long walks between holes when playing the Red and Blue combination.

Over the last couple of weeks or so I have played the course in various combinations and have walked or estimated various distances.

This covered distances to and from the clubhouse for the first and last holes on the 3 proposed new combinations of courses (White & Red, Red & Blue and Blue & White). Plus any long walks between holes on the three 3 layouts.

I then compared this with the same information for the current Master (Master 1 & 2) course.

The results are as follows:

Steps Course Calculation
930 Red & Blue  30 to first tee on Red (Master 10) from clubhouse + 350 from Red 3 (Master 12) to Red 4 (Classic 5) + 350 from Red 8 (Classic 9) to Red 9 (Master 13) + 200 from Blue 9 (Master 18) to clubhouse 
1000 Current Master 300 to first tee from clubhouse + 500 between 9th green and 10th tee + 200 from 18th to the clubhouse
1200 Blue & White 600 to first tee on Blue (Master 14) from clubhouse + 100 from Blue 9 (Master 18) to White 1 (Master 1) + 500 from White 9 (Master 9) to the clubhouse
1300 White & Red 300 to White 1 (Master 1) from clubhouse + 500 from White 9 (Master 9) to Red 1 (Master 10) + 500 from Red 9 (Master 13) to clubhouse

 

I found the results a little surprising as the Red & Blue combination has the least number of steps when you make this comparison.

There are a couple of long walks during a round playing the new Red & Blue layout. I guess that as it is a new combination people have placed more emphasis on these distances.

However the fact that you start on the current Master hole 10 and finish on current Master hole 18  means that overall the walking is less on Red & Blue than when you play the current Master course. It is also less distance to walk than the other two new layout combinations (White & Red and Blue & White).

The 5 day trial of the new course layout is now over.

Talking to people it seems like the trial has generally been a success. There are still some things for Juan and the caddy master staff to sort out before the new layout goes live in the autumn (slope tables, courses on gps devices etc.).

For me it feels like the new layout will be a success. As long as there is effort put in to ensure that the morning golfers finish their rounds on time. So the afternoon golfers are not held up and left playing in the dark during the shorter winter days.

MacGowan's
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