As you can see from the story here the greens on the Master 3 (Classic) course at Almerimar were renewed around the end of June 2018. As mentioned here the holes re-opened for play towards the end of September 2018.
They have now been in play for almost 2 months so I thought it might be worth writing something about them.
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Firstly, the new greens are much firmer and faster than the greens on the Master 1 & 2 course. Also the new greens have been re-contoured so there are more significant slopes on them compared with before. Plus the edges of the new greens tend to slope down to the green surrounds. So it is easy for your ball to roll off the new greens.
When they were first in use in September 2018 the greens were pretty green in colour. As the temperature has got lower now that winter is coming the bermuda grass on the greens has gone dormant. So the new greens are now a mixture of green and yellow. There is so much yellow that Jacqui thought they had been top dressed in sand.
So, at present, the greens do not look very green but they are playing very well indeed. I think it will probably just be a case of getting used to the colour of the greens in the winter.
The new greens are so firm that whatever club you use for your approach shot it is virtually impossible to get the ball to stop quickly. So it is very difficult to get close to the pin with approach shots. The fact that a lot of the green surrounds are very receptive means that if you land just short of the green the ball sometimes does not roll forward on to the green. However if your approach shot just lands on the front of the green the ball will run on a lot.
I understand that this type of green being so firm in the first year is a normal occurrence. So it is nothing to worry about. Apparently they should become more receptive to approach shots as they mature. I guess we will find out more about this next year.
It is a big challenge to switch between the new faster greens and the old ones when you play the Red or Blue 9 hole courses. You have to play completely different types of approach shots. Also, the chipping and putting is very different on the two types of greens.
I understand that in December 2018 the management of the course will make an announcement about what is going to happen in 2019. If I was a betting man my money would be on all 18 greens on the Master 1 & 2 course being renewed next year. Rather than 9 holes in 2019 and the other 9 holes in 2020. So my guess is that there will be 18 holes closed (with just 9 open) from around the beginning of May until the end of September 2019. I am not sure, but I think that the management of the course will be trying to arrange special summer green fee rates at other local courses. I think that these rates will probably be available to use by abonados (people who buy a package of green fees) at Almerimar for 2019.
Originally I thought that when the Master 1 & 2 holes re-open towards the end of September 2019 we would have 27 greens that play just about the same. However my guess now is that it will take a year or so more for all of the greens to become similar in pace and firmness. So we will probably have some variation between greens from now through to summer 2020. One good thing is that I think that the difference will not be as great when we have 27 new greens compared with situation at the moment.
I personally feel that the renewal of the greens is a very sound investment by the management of the course. If the greens are renewed and the course is marshalled better (like it has been the last few weeks) we will start to have the basis for a fantastic golfing facility in Almerimar. The final key part of the jigsaw will be for the green keeping standards to continue on their upward trajectory. There have been considerable improvements to the maintenance of the course in the recent past. However I feel that there is still some further room for improvement in this area.