So the European Tour heads to Valencia, Spain this weekend. The tour visits a golf course I have always wanted to get too but never had the opportunity – Campo De Golf El Saler. Perhaps had I remained in Europe, a bit longer, I could of persuaded my wife and kids to make a quick trek down to Valencia for a beach break…then I could of sneaked off to the golf course for a day.
The rankings show that El Saler does not get top plaudits in Continental Europe (nor Spain for that matter) but don’t read much into this. There are a number of courses in Continental Europe like Utrecht De Pan, Koninklikje Haagsche and even Cornelia that should be higher than the rankings show.
I suspect El Saler is a little gem with a lot of personality. It may not be perfect (what golf course is) but I bet it has the necessary ingredients that make any golf course good…stuff like character, strategy, variety and memorability. The godfather of American Golf Architecture Charles Blair Mcdonald said it best in his book Scotland Gift: ‘An ideal or classical golf course demands variety, personality and above all the charm of romance’
My guess is that I will never get to see every golf course I want to see in my lifetime – albeit I will try and make a good go at it. Having said that I have been lucky enough to have seen so much already…..and this includes some of those gems that are somewhat out of the way.
For instance, I remember making the trek up from Stirling to see Royal Dornoch. It was summer but it felt like winter on the links. How about the large detour I took on route from Chicago to Toronto to visit Crystal Downs. Or what about the visit to Royal Zoute in Belgium from my short stay in Holland. Even visiting Brancaster and Hunstanton from my base in London at the time was some journey. I am even embarrassed to say that I partly dragged my wife across West Ireland to visit Lahinch, Ballybunion and Waterville….thank goodness my wife is so understanding.
I love what I do and when I get free time I enjoy visiting golf clubs as part of my education. I am mostly interested in those golf clubs that I think I can learn a trick or two from. If these clubs happen to be off the beaten track I will still make very effort to get to it…today, tomorrow or in the near future so watch this space……