WARM WEATHER TRAINING
SPAIN 22 – 29 MAR 09
The party met at Bournemouth Airport; for the flight to Murcia where we were picked up and taken to Hacienda del Alamo golf complex. We were met by John Green and Yvonne Strik and taken to our two villas – a double twin and a triple twin – then on to the resort for supper. We were given information sheets and told that in general arrangements were flexible along with a plan of the course layout, a card and the local rules. Hacienda del Alamo comprises an 18 hole layout of some 7400 yards from the white tees and a 6 hole academy course of 3 par three and 3 par four holes. There is a large chipping area with a large bunker at one corner, two excellent putting greens – one flattish by the chipping area and the other, more sloped, by the first tee.
Mon 23 Mar. The morning session comprised a free range warm up for an hour followed by a nine station par 2 set up devised by Martyn. The boys practised and then had some instruction re landing areas for each station. There was then a team competition followed by a fun competition in which all took part. After lunch the boys played the main course starting from the 10th. Whilst the golf was not altogether the best the squad were finding there way on a strange course.
A full debrief took place after supper.
Tue 24 Mar. The squad were allowed a 30 minute free time warm up before meeting for a putting session. Again some drills were set up – curved putts, various length puts with a 18” to 2ft ring, two putter length circles, a ladder drill and so forth. The competition was between teams of two with a 6 minute time limit for each drill. Instruction was given, another competition held followed by one in which we all took part. This was followed by some pitching and chipping practice to 6 different targets on the chipping area. 18 holes from the white tees were played in the afternoon in a stableford competition both in selected pairs and individual scores. Corey Coshan (CC) and Harry Mitchell (HM) won the match with Jake Broughton (JB) and Jordan Howlett (JH) runners up, CC winning overall. Martyn had set some standards – 1Euro for every bunker hit off the tee (excluding the par 3s), 1Euro for every FiR and GiR above nine and 1 Euro fine for every three putt green above two. It was a salutary lesson!
A full debrief took place after supper
Wed 25 Mar. The morning was an 18 hole 4BBB competition in selected pairings. Luke Hirst (LH) and Robbie Mabb (RM) gained a 37 points stableford win over Rob Cunningham (RC) and CC on 36 points. Some good golf was played but again RC was carried slightly by his partner. Martyn focused each group’s attention on to course management – for which the course is admirably suited in terms of providing lessons to be learnt. After lunch the squad was given free time to practice anything with Martyn available for special coaching when required. At 4.30pm another par 2 competition was held with some poor results. This was followed by a repeat of a fun competition in which all took part. The squad then played the academy course as a cooling down practice.
A full debrief took place after supper
Thu 26 Mar. Martyn ordered a relaxed day with breakfast at 9.30am, coaching in the morning and a free afternoon. No rounds were booked. Coaching comprised some range practice and a par 2 competition with the tasks set in difficult positions. RM won with an excellent 19 shots. Then they played in pairs in a Texas Scramble on the Academy Course. The winning pair were CC and RM once again. Both are very good pitch and chip players and on this short course it was very evident. The runners-up were RC and Scott Heap (SH) losing on the second extra hole played. After chilling out in the warm sunshine by the pool we all had a break from our usual supper venue taking a meal with John Green in nearby Fuente Alamo. The first of the big days is Friday when they play their first round of the week’s competition.
Fri 27 Mar. This was to be the first day of the 36 hole championship, off the white tees and no buggies. However it proved to be a very hot day and so buggies were allowed, Note that all the par threes are some 215 to 220 yards long. The round was preceded by some free practice under the guidance of Martyn. As may be seen from the results the scores were not outstanding. Corey and Harry were the club house leaders. The day was rounded off with a light-hearted football competition. Spirits are still high!
Sat 28 Mar. Rain had been forecast for the weekend with some thunder and lightning. We all hoped that this, the last day of serious competition would not be that inclement. It dawned fine and only cooled and clouded over at the end of the afternoon. After an hours warm-up on the range Martyn took them all to the hillier practice green close to the first tee. In pairs they were set medium and long putt challenges. The first was the fastest to achieve 6 medium length putts, each player putting a hole close to the other. The second challenge, again in pairs, was long putts up and down a slope, this time to find the quickest to hole two putts. The last was a shorter putt test with the pairs having to get to twenty to win, changing over ends after 10 holes putts. Finally he set a very long putt challenge which they each had two goes at getting the closest to the target. The whole exercise was to build a better feel for pace and accuracy on fairly quick greens.
The final competitive round got under way at 11.30am playing in fours as the course was pretty busy. At the half way point there was a break for food and drink before playing the final nine holes. The first group out – Rob, Robbie, Jordan and Scott – found all sorts of trouble and did not play as well as they are capable. The second group were very much more competitive and all had a chance to win the overall prize. Luke Hirst was in the running until the 17th hole where disaster struck with him hitting OB. Jake played a brilliant level par round but was not quite good enough to pip Harry Mitchell who shot two over. Corey Coshan unexpectedly did not materialise as a challenger. There was some excellent golf played and some clear evidence that the coaching and tips on course management paid off. An evening out in the local town closed the main coaching visit. Sunday, weather permitting, will be a relaxed round to wind down, courtesy of the Golf Director, Billy Sim.
Sun 29 Mar. Another bad weather day was forecast and turned out to be spot on. Thunder and heavy rain pretty well throughout the day. No golf was possible but the excellent putting station facility was made available and proved to be of great value. It should feature in any future use of the complex. The arrangements for meeting up with the taxi service via lifts from John Green worked smoothly as did the check in and flight arrangements from Murcia to Bournemouth. The facilities proved to be excellent both in terms of accommodation and, rather more importantly, for golf coaching and play. The additional pitching mini greens if provided would be the icing on the “golfing” cake. Being situated so close to the airport was another advantage over Desert Springs. The boys could not have been better fed and watered. Special thanks are due the staff at Hacienda del Alamo for catering to our whims, changing meal times, tee times and so forth. My final thanks go to John for making arrangements for us and Yvonne for supplying our every need in terms of DVDs, medicare and stocking up the ‘fridges in the villas.
An excellent trip with all the boys working very hard on their game.