When I was at the pro-shop yesterday I was told that the front 9 holes of the Master course will be closed until the weekend. I am not sure whether it will open on Saturday or not. However it is just about certain to be open on Sunday as there is an official competition.

One big improvement that has been made recently is that all of the reeds have been cut down on the pond close to the 11th and 12th greens. I was wondering whether the front 9 had been closed to do something similar to the pond around the 8th green.

I sneaked a quick look at the 8th late yesterday afternoon and no work has been done there yet. The only thing I did see on the front 9 was that the sprinklers were on a lot. So maybe they are just giving the front 9 holes a bit of a rest.

PS The protective seagull parents are still on the rock in the pond close to the first tee. Their baby birds are growing well and can now fly quite well. However the parents still dive bomb you if you get close to the pond.

Ground under repair - 23 June 2016

The improvements to the golf course continue. I had to go down to meet Gabriel from the tourist office so I went via the Almerimar clubhouse and course.

As I walked past the 18th green I noticed that they had marked out 2 areas of ground under repair using blue paint. This is a relatively small thing but it is yet another sign of the continuing improvement on the course.

At the moment I am hearing the same message from everyone that is talking about the course. They are all saying that the condition has improved a lot since they were last here. This is very good news.

On another matter - the protective parent seagulls are still around on the rock in the pond between the first tee and the fourth hole. While their baby birds could not fly they were very aggressive with anyone who went near the area. They dive-bombed people and on occasions tried to crap on the people.

The parents are still around but are not as aggressive as before. However they will still swoop down at you if you go too close to their nesting area. So be careful on the first tee.

Earlier today I was down at the clubhouse picking up the list for Friday golf. While there I noticed that there is now a list of official competitions for the rest of the year at Almerimar.

The next competition is on 12 June 2016. There is one other one in June. Then 3 in July followed 5 in August. There is then one in September followed by a gap. The final 2 competitions of the year are in December.

If I remember I will take a picture of the list tomorrow and publish it here.

Flag positions at Almerimar - May 2016

Jacqui was down at the golf club this morning and took a picture of a new notice that has appeared about pin positions.

Well done to Golf Almerimar for implementing this change that should help everyone who plays the course.

17th green

17th green

Practice area

The photos above are of the 17th green and the practice area between the 17th and 18th hole on the Master course earlier today.

The top picture is a close up of the 17th green. Apparently the greens are still a little slow following the hollow tining. However having had a look at the 17th and 18th greens today they look like they will grow back nicely pretty soon.

It is also nice to see the practice area slowly turning green again. I guess it will still be some time until Eduardo can spend his afternoons practicing there.

You can see bigger versions of these photos and a few more photos of the practice area in the Gallery.

New forward ladies tees on master Course

When I was at Friday golf yesterday I spotted that they were working on the orange (forward) ladies tees on holes 11 and 12.

When these tees were added to the course a while ago they were just cut on the normal grass. It seems that the tees are being raised a little so they look like all of the other tees on the course.

This is a picture of the orange ladies tee on the 11th hole of the Master course after the work had been completed. You can see the original lower tee is at the front.

When I was passing hole 12 yesterday they were working on building the tee there. It looks like they dig up the grass just behind the current tee. Then add some sand to raise the level of the ground. Then put the turf back down again and top dress it with a lot of sand.

The other thing to mention is that all 27 greens have been tined and top dressed. This year the work has been much more aggressive than last year. So the greens look like they have a lot of holes with lots of new sand and grass seed. So putting will not be great for a little while. However I am sure we all hope that this work will mean that the greens survive the summer better this year than last year. Also hopefully they will be in a good condition throughout the summer and through to the winter season.

I have to say that the green keepers are doing a lot of good work at the moment. The course is looking neater and tidier every time I play.

Jacqui and I had a game at Alborán earlier today. I have to say the course was in good condition, particularly the greens.

When we were there we spotted a sign saying work on the greens will commence on Monday 16 May 2016. I guess this means they will be hollow tining the greens.

When we dropped our clubs back at Almerimar we saw a sign there saying that the same sort of work will be starting here on Monday as well.

Originally, according to the El Corte Inglés golf website, their golf competition was scheduled to take place at Almerimar on this coming Sunday, 17 April 2016. However I understand that it has been re-scheduled for Sunday 1 May 2016.

One other change this year is that I think they have cut out the regional finals. It appears that the best lady and the best man at Almerimar play as a pair in the El Corte Inglés national final at Almenara in June 2016. In previous years a number of players from Almerimar went through to a regional final. Then winners from there went to the national final.

I was walking across the golf course yesterday afternoon and I spotted that they had put a lot of sand down on the mens first tee on the Master course. The yellow, blue and red tee markers were all at the very from of the ladies tee with a short shot across the water.

While I was putting up the notice for an upcoming FGS Sunday competition I asked what work was being done.

Apparently, all of the tees on the front 9 of the Master course have been top dressed with sand. Also, it is likely that the tees on the rest of the course will get a similar treatment later this week.

I guess that the sand is to encourage the grass to grow a bit more on the tees.

I have been poking around on the internet to try to identify any changes to the Spanish Golf Federation handicapping system for the 2016 - 2019 period.

So far all I have found is the overall EGA handicapping rules for this period. These rules include various options for individual federations to choose from. Mainly about how they deal with handicap changes for higher handicap players. You can see the details in the document you can download here.

I am still trying to find the Spanish version on the Spanish Federation site. Once I find some details for what we are going to do with handicapping in Spanish official competitions I will publish something here.

UPDATED: Found it here. The table below shows how handicap changes will be done in official competitions in Spain.

Spanish 2016 handicap changes

Key points to note:

- Players with handicaps greater than 26.5 no longer get any automatic give backs when they play badly in a competition. I guess their handicap can only increase due to a handicap review process of some sort.

- The Spanish have not adopted the standard EGA handicap system for cutting players who play well in a competition. They continue to cut people more than the standard EGA system if they score more than 40 points (the last 3 columns of the table).

There is some information of the Friday Golf Society website about golf prices at Almerimar for 2016.

Idris & Sune

Well done to Sune who won the Browning Classic with a score of 36 points. The photo above is of him receiving his prize from Idris.

You can see more photos from the D'Bar in the Gallery. Thanks to Hans F for supplying some of these photos.

My head is just about back to normal after the afternoon of drinking yesterday.

Apologies for not publishing anything in the last few days. This is because it felt like we have been taking part in a golfathon.

We had the first regular Friday golf competition at Almerimar for many weeks as the course has been busy. Then we have been taking part in the 2015 edition of the Yachting Golf competition. That took place on Saturday and Sunday with the prize giving happening this afternoon.

I think that the regatta may be continuing this morning as I heard a shotgun start around 9am. Alternatively it may be the big group from Marbella that is taking over the golf course again today having a shotgun start.

My weary body has to get through another round of golf tomorrow as it is the Browning Classic. Followed by the FGS Christmas competition on Friday and an FGS Sunday competition on 13 December.

It is a hard life.

Jacqui and I have been away playing various other courses recently. So yesterday was the first time in a while we played at Almerimar. Having played yesterday I have to say that the course is in pretty good nick. Much better than earlier in the year.

Various changes are occurring such as:

- the greens are improving all the time and the ball rolls quite a bit faster than earlier in the year. They are not as fast as at Valle del Este but they are still a massive improvement on earlier in the year.

- the first cut of rough has been trimmed a lot and the fairways have been widened. However if you stray over the paths into the trees you may struggle to find your ball. I feel this is pretty fair.

- the group of 10 palm trees to the right of the first fairway has been tidied up. 5 of the trees have been cut down completely. The other 5 have been trimmed a lot.

- the temporary green to the front right of the first green has been removed and marked as ground under repair.

- the scrappy patch of grass in front of the 8th green has been reseeded. As a temporary measure the bridge to the right of 8th green has been closed. You have to access the green from the left.

- various palm trees around the course have been trimmed or are in the process of being trimmed.

- the practice area at the far end of the driving range looks like it is being rebuilt. It is currently covered in plastic. I guess it will be a while until it reopens.

Well done to the green keepers and the management of the course for the improvements so far. Lets hope the state of the course continues to improve.