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.

Almerimar Official Competitions 2017

Before we played Friday golf yesterday I took a photo of the list of the official golf competitions at Almerimar this year. The list went up on the notice board in the clubhouse recently.

Winter 2017 Scorecard


UPDATED  8/4/17 - Now includes details of changes to Stroke Index (SI) values for holes on the old Classic (Master 3) and back 9 Master (Master2).

Further to the earlier story here about the trial of a new golf course layout next week. As you can see from the picture above the new scorecards for the trial are now available. (Click on the image to select it then click again on the image that appears to see the scorecard in detail.)

Jacqui asked what is happening to the stroke indexes of the holes. So I have added an extra image that shows the changes. It shows that of the 27 holes 16 have just about the same stroke index as before. The stroke index is reduced for four holes on the old back 9 Master (Master 2) and one hole on the old Classic (Master 3). The stroke index increases for two holes on the old back 9 Master (Master 2) and 4 holes on the old Classic (Master 3).

Almerimar winter golf layout?

Further to the earlier article here about the possibility that the layout of the Almerimar golf course may change for the winter 2017/2018 season.

I understand that the new winter layout will be tested out next week from Monday 10 April through to Friday 14 April 2017.

As shown in the diagram above from the earlier article the course will be split into 3 separate sets of 9 holes that follow on from each other. These have now been named as follows:

A - WHITE (current holes 1-9 on the Master course) - not shown on the diagram above

B - RED (current holes 10-12 on the Master course, then holes 5-9 on the Classic course, then current hole 13 on the Master course)  - shown in black with walks between courses in blue on diagram above

C - BLUE (current hole 14 on the Master course, then holes 1-4 on the Classic course, then current holes 15-18 on the Master course) - shown in white with walks between courses in red on diagram above

People playing 18 holes will play one of 3 combinations of the 9 hole courses: white & red, red & blue or blue & white.

I understand that there will be starting times from 08:00 until 09:52 on each of the 3 starting holes (current holes 1, 10 & 14). Each group will also be allocated a starting time for their second 9 holes 2 hours and 24 minutes after their initial start time. So the 09:52 groups will be expected to start their 2nd 9 holes at 12:16 at the latest.

I believe that there is likely to be a marshal on the course to ensure that people play quick enough.

There is a second set of starting tee times later in the day off the same 3 tees (current holes 1, 10 & 14). These starting times begin at 12:50. So there is around a 25 minute gap between when the last morning group is expected to start their 2nd 9 holes and when the first afternoon groups are due to start.

As with the morning groups, the afternoon groups will be allocated a tee time for their 2nd 9 holes 2 hours and 24 minutes after their initial start time. So the 12:50 start time will be expected to start their 2nd 9 holes no later than 15:14.

I guess that the management of the course will review how the trial goes and then make a final decision about whether they are going go ahead with the new winter layout. I guess if they do go ahead the change will occur in September/October 2017.

Just a couple of further updates about the golf course.

I understand that there may be a plan to try out the proposed new layout of the golf course for a few days sometime in April. If that works OK I think the idea is to switch to the new layout in the autumn in time for the influx of winter golfers.

The other item is a change to the 9th hole on the Master 1 (front 9) course. Previously there was out of bounds (OOB) all down the side of the hole close to the main road through Almerimar. This made shots over the water hazard very difficult. The OOB white posts in this area have all been changed to red posts to signify a lateral hazard. This means that if you lose your ball in the trees close to the road you can take a penalty drop 2 club lengths from point of entry in to the hazard. Rather than have to replay the shot from the place you played it from. I feel that this is an excellent improvement to the design of the course.

Possible course changes at Almerimar  - 2017

Just a couple of bits and pieces about the golf course.....

Slope Tables

There are new slope tables now on show near the pro-shop. The slope tables are now in bigger text so they are easier to read. There are 3 tables for the courses here and all have changed.

The table for the Master 1 & 2 (old Master) course now uses integer values for handicaps higher than 36.There is no change to this table for handicaps of 36 and below. This change to integer values for higher handicaps was included in the 2016 implementation of EGA handicapping.

Also the slope for the Master 3 (old Classic) course has been revised. The course is now viewed as being more difficult than before. This means that the other 2 slope tables have changed. These cover twice around the old Classic (now Master 3) and the old Classic combined with the back 9 of the old Master course (now Master 3 & 2). Both tables show a small increase in sloped handicaps. Plus all handicaps above 36 now use integer values on these 2 tables.

Course layout

Another bit of news is that a change in the layout of the course is being considered. The idea is to reduce the need for shuttle services between the current 3 sets of 9 holes and allow more people on the course at the same time more easily. This would be particularly useful when the course is busy.

To do this the back 9 of the old Master (now Master 2) would be combined with the old Classic (now Master 3). This would create 2 new sets of 9 holes as described below.

One 9 would be current holes 10, 11 and 12 (first 3 holes of Master 2) followed by holes 5 to 9 on Master 3 (old Classic). Then back under the bridge to finish on the old 13th hole (hole 4 on Master 2).

The other 9 would be current hole 14 (hole 5 on Master 2) followed by holes 1 to 4 on Master 3 (old Classic). Then back under the bridge to play current holes 15-18 (holes 6 to 9 on Master 2).

This would mean that all 3 starting holes (current holes 1, 10 and 14) and all 3 finishing holes (current holes 9,13 and 14) would be within walking distance of the clubhouse. Also, the 3 sets of 9 holes follow on naturally from each other so there would be no need for transportation of golfers between the different sets of 9 holes.

It is being suggested that this layout may be tried out for a week in April and may be put in place in time for the 2017 winter season.