John A has sent us the following message about the 2017 Francis House better ball pairs competition that took place at Almerimar yesterday...

"Please could you on behalf of Francis House Children's Hospice thank everyone for their support at the 21st Annual Almerimar Golf Tournament. A fantastic amount of over 1500€ was raised which has already gone to hands on care at the Hospice."

From those that took part, thanks to everyone who was involved in the organisation of the event. Also, well done to the joint winners, Uli & Jim and Sune & Marianne. They both scored 47 points and will share the trophy and goblet for the year.

John A has been in touch with the following information...

Francis House Annual Pairs Betterball established 1996

Saturday 25th November 2017

Entry 20€ plus Own Green Fee

08:00  Anthony K & Carlos L  
08:16  Kevin W & Peter E  Herman Li & Penny
08:24  Gerard & Geradine  Heinz & Klaus
08:32  John Fl & Michelle  Barry & Dot
08:40  Doug & Derek  Hans O & Mimi
08:48  Ingergerd & Thomas  Lee & Idris
08:56  John Wit & Paul M  Uschi & Jürgen N
09:04  Mel & Sylvia  Steve B & Nina
09:12  Dan & Anita  John Fi & Issie
09:20  Paul T & Vicky  Sune & Marianne
09:28  Brian D & Frank R  John Wil & Louise
09:36  Jim S & Uli  Lennart & Kristina
09:44  John Wo & Jacqui  Alan Sl & Sharon
09:52  Peter W & Rita  John A & Roisin

John A has been in touch with the following information about the Francis House pairs golf competition this coming Saturday....

The entry list is on the board at the Golf Club. Most of the later morning tee times have been taken. However 8.00am and next three tee times are still available.

Entry of 20€ per person to be paid on the day. Each player will receive a strip of Raffle Tickets. Anybody wanting more it's 5€ a strip.

The presentation and raffle is taking place at Los Sabores at 3.30pm.

Today is the 10 year anniversary of Jacqui, Alan, Sharon and myself recording the results of Friday golf competitions on a website.

My understanding is that Friday golf competitions in Almerimar probably started in the 1980s. Since then they have been organised by many people. We are just the latest in a long line of organisers.

I believe that in 2007 the responsibility for organising Friday competitions was passed on to us. I think this was sometime in the autumn of 2007. Soon after taking over we decided to record the results on a website. The first set of recorded results went up on the Almerimar Today Golf website on 9 November 2007.

One of our readers, Chalky, sent me a copy of the latest newsletter from the R&A about golf rules and other issues.

The newsletter included links to two pages available on the R&A site:

Improving the pace of play. This page addresses ready golf, player behaviour, management practices and course set-up. This is particularly timely given the pace of play at Almerimar at the moment. One key recommendation is to play ready golf when not playing match play.

Response to proposed rule changes to happen on 1 January 2019.

The next couple of weeks are going to be the crunch time for the new Almerimar winter golf course layout.

Between now and late November we will see the highest demand so far placed on the course. Things will then probably be a little quieter in the period from late November through to the end of February. We will then expect to see another period of high demand in March/April 2018.

It will be interesting to see what happens over the next couple of weeks. Somehow the management has to try to balance the demand for access to the course from hotel guests, long stay Swedish players and locals. While trying to avoid slow play so that everyone can have an enjoyable round. Plus ensuring that anyone playing in the afternoon gets the opportunity to finish in daylight.

Fingers crossed that all goes well.

John Andrew has been in touch with the latest information about the 21st edition of the Francis House pairs golf competition. The entry list is now open.

Details are as follows:

- Competition will take place on Saturday 25th November 2017.

- Format is better ball pairs stableford.

- Tee times 8am - 9.52am Blue/White.

- Entry Fee 20€ (pay your own green fee). Raffle strip included. Pay on the day.

- Presentation and Raffle Draw at 3.30pm at Los Sabores. Buy your own drinks.

- John is maintaining the tee time and entry list himself.

- To enter please email John at his email address giving the names of both players and a preferred starting time (allocated on  a first come, first served basis).

- If you want to take part and do not have John's email address get in touch with us and we will provide you with the email address.

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.