Whether you’re looking to take on the Stadium Course for the first time or you play Spain’s Number One golf course regularly, our Head Professional, Enric Lopez, offers his top tips to tackling one of the most challenging layouts in the world of golf.
Before teeing off
As many sports psychologist would advise, good preparation for any round of golf, not least a European Tour venue, starts before you arrive on the first tee.
Most golfers will benefit from arriving early to enjoy a relaxed warm up, practicing a few shots on the Driving Range or the expansive Short Game Area, before heading to the Putting Green 10-15 minutes prior to teeing off.
It’s also worth picking up a Course Guide at the Golf Reception, as it can be beneficial to visualise how each hole would ideally be played. It’s important to be realistic when doing this, i.e. don’t expect to drive the ball 300+ yards.
As you stand on the tournament tee on Hole 1 of the Stadium Course, the avenue of pine trees and 100-yard carry over long grass doesn’t offer a full view of the expansive landing area before the hole doglegs to the left, which can make the first crucial shot appear deceptively difficult.
There’s more fairway than you think!
Most golfers will play off the Yellow tees, from which there is a better view. However, anyone lacking confidence (or distance) can still take as much enjoyment from playing the course from the even friendlier Tee It Forward tees we have set up at PGA Catalunya Resort.
Sounds obvious but…
Hitting the fairways makes scoring well far easier. Although many of the holes are lined by steep banks that encourage errant shots to return to the fairways, golf balls can still find themselves behind trees or bushes. In these circumstances, take your medicine, and take the shortest and easiest route back to the fairway.
Approaching the greens
Take care to get the full distance to the flag on each hole. Distances in the Course Guide are to the front, however a daily pin sheet is also available from Golf Reception, so be sure to take one when you pick up your scorecard.
On the whole, the greens are large and a 100-foot putt can be easy to misjudge!
It’s unlikely any golfer will hit every green in regulation, and besides a healthy dose of bunkers, most of the greens are also guarded closely by the first cut of rough.
Click the image below to read a Golf World magazine article featuring Enric’s secrets to escaping PGA Catalunya Resort’s bunkers.
The greens are quick!
With the exception of members of Augusta National, the annual host of the US Masters tournament in Georgia, US, where the greens are notoriously fast (stimpmeter readings average 11), most golfers are unlikely to be accustomed to greens as fast as those at PGA Catalunya Resort, where stimpmeter readings average 10.
As a general rule of thumb, on flat lies, pick a spot roughly three feet before the hole to aim at. Of course, amend this for up and downhill putts as necessary.
Keep your energy levels up
Staying hydrated during your round is important, especially in the Spanish Sun. Some tour professionals take on up to two litres of water during their matches. So it’s critical to ensure regular water intake. We have a number of drink dispensers on the course in case you need a top-up and the Buggy Bar regularly makes the rounds to keep every golfer on the course going all the way to the 19th!
To combat fatigue, it is also worth carrying some snacks with you. Fruit, protein bars, a bag of nuts will all go a long way in replenishing energy and concentration levels when you need it.
Given the mountainous terrain, taking a buggy or electric trolley can help preserve energy for longer too.
The closing holes
Taking the above on board, it can still be difficult to maintain concentration during a four-and-a-half-hour round of golf – especially on the back nine, when, sometimes, it can matter the most!
The elevated tee looking down the signature hole 13 is a good place to refocus as there are six challenging holes ahead and taking time to regain composure can help avoid dropping shots cheaply.