Date: Tue 15 Mar 2016

Renovations at La Zagaleta by Marc Westenborg, EIGCA Senior Member

During the summer 2015 Westenborg Golf Design was honoured to be commissioned by Zagaleta to design and supervise renovation work to the golf course.

The new 6th green complex

The new 6th green complex

La Zagaleta is an exclusive development with two 18-hole golf courses laid out in some challenging terrain. The first 18-holes named La Zagaleta, opened in 1993, while the second golf course, Los Barancos, opened 2005.

La Zagaleta was seeded with creeping bent throughout. While this cool season grass provides a high quality sward during the winter, it requires significant quantities of water and was increasingly difficult to manage during the summer. The decision was therefore made to change the grass mix on tees and fairways to a grass more suitable to the Spanish climate – Bermuda 419 while on the greens, T1 creeping bent is being used.

The aging irrigation and drainage system is also being replaced and it therefore made sense, that while the golf course was closed, to renovate the bunkers that, thanks to the ravages of time, were looking old and ragged. Additionally the bunkers were a little on the plain side, a style that we did not feel blended with the spectacular backdrop of hills and mountains. We therefore designed bunkers with more shape and flair: a style that better reflects the surrounding topography. Additionally, some bunkers were found to be out of position or not required, while some holes would benefit from new bunkers adding to the visual and strategic strength of the holes.

Other work included re-profiling of the green surrounds, levelling the 14th fairway, orientating the tee complexes correctly and a completely new 6th green complex.

The 6th is an excellent Par 5 but was spoilt by a steeply uphill blind approach to a tiny green located high above the golfer; it was an arduous and unpleasant approach. We therefore lowered the green complex by over 6-metres, shortened the hole by 30-metres and created a much larger green surface tiered into the steep slope where it is located. The approach is now hugely improved: significantly easier and the surface of the green visible from start to finish. To negate against what will become a relatively short Par 5, we made sure that putting will be significantly more challenging. The green is now almost “Augusta” like, with some large breaks and what will be some very slippery downhill putts if the ball finishes above the hole.

Overall, the combination of more appropriate grasses for the Spanish climate, new irrigation and drainage system and course renovations will ensure La Zagaleta golf course remains one of the best golf courses in the area.

All 18-holes should be fully open by October 2016.

Click here for more information about Marc.

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