My first ever European competition. Los Flamingo’s, Benahavis, Costa del Sol.
July 28th 2017
It was a quiet Friday morning on the Costa del Sol, as I was driving down the windy roads of Benahavis just after 7am. It felt cool considering we were in July. It was as if there was a slight sea mist in the air. The sun is just starting rise through the clouds, as I’m in a residential area, surrounded by hundreds of apartments. Then out of nowhere appears a huge pink Mediterranean style building in the middle of nowhere. It’s the flamingo pink painted club house. I’d arrived at Los Flamingo’s Golf Club.
The competition was hosted by. G.I.T.S. (Golf In the Sun). G.I.T.S is a European golf society, with a diverse group of nationalities. They all meet up monthly at a number of different golf courses on the Costa, and members have discount card for green fees. There’s some pretty good golfers in the group, and some fucking awful ones as well. It’s an informal society open to anyone who can play. They even let me in.
You turn up, register with one of the hosts in the shop and then get paired up with some random pairs. Normally the same nationalities. My partner was a retired Swedish investment banker named Hans. We were playing in a four-ball with two Norwegian men. A man and his son. Maybe my blonde hair had tricked the host into thinking I was a scandi? My mates used to call me swede boy when I was a proper blonde bombshell as in my teens. They all spoke great English, at times it was better than mine. There were no problems communicating, and they all had a great sense of humour too.
We had a practice putt and the greens looked ad though they’d had a good soaking prior as my shoes were actually squelching around the green. You don’t take golf spikes with you to Spain, when you have a pair of golf trainers that are lighter and easier to travel. The course was soaked in places.
We had a shotgun start, starting on the 15th hole and the sun was now out in the sky. We in for a hot one! Maybe I should have packed some sun cream.
We teed off after the sound of the klaxon. The 15th is a par 5 ,dog leg left, with a huge lake in the middle of the fairway. It’s a intimidating tee shot off for the first hole as I drive would just reach the water. I laid up with an iron. It was my first European Tour appearance after all. My second shot was around 260 yards on the Bushnell, so I decided to get the 3 wood out. Let’s show these boys that I’m hitting these long holes in two!
So I struck the ball clean, pushing it right towards the greenside bunkers. As the ball was in the air I thought, hit the sand hit the sand. But no. It took a sharp kick right off a sprinkler head down the bank onto the path. I then had to take relief, and as the ground was so soggy I ended fatting a chip, leaving it short of the bunker and then walking off with a 7.
Not a great start but the next few holes I picked up some points. The course was still, really wet in places and Hans’ tan didn’t make me think he was anything other than a fair-weather golfer. His zero points after 4 holes certainly showed that. It was only a few hours before the sun was beaming down on us and
I was enjoying my company, the weather was good, and the course seemed a decent track. The Bermuda grass on some courses just doesn’t feel the same as back home. Although we were quick to realise the speed, and difficulty of the greens. It’s fair test of golf round there. Los Flamingo’s is an interesting course, with a Tuscan style theme. Amongst some of the fairway’s you”ll see roman statues, collars and marble bridges. You’ll find olive trees on the course so you really do get that Mediterranean feel.
It had taken us three hours to get to the turn. Well, not quite as we were on the 6th hole after 9 holes with the shotgun start. By now I felt tired, and we were in Buggy’s. It had absolutely nothing to do with the amount of San Miguel I’d chinned down Puerto Banus the night before. I was in my element though, so nothing was stopping me from enjoying the day. It was good getting to know Hans, as he was 71, and a successful investment banker with properties all across the Costa. He’d certainly made it in life and was someone I’d never forget. Not just because he kept telling me how fucked our country would be with Brexit, but I generally liked him. That’s the thing with golf, I never thought I’d be knocking about Marbella, with a 71-year-old Swedish millionaire talking about politics.
A few more holes later, Hans soon pulled his game together and I was playing as if I’d got my eyes closed by this point. I was striking the ball well, but I’d blobbed about 4 holes after 12. I was exhausted, and sunburnt, but it was really down to my putting where I wasn’t performing. The greens were tricky and extremely quick, and I seemed to have difficulty reading them. The 10th hole was beautiful. The signature hole with water running all down the left-hand side
The game had caught up with us both after the 15th/16th hole, and we knew we wasn’t in the running for any prizes but we slogged on, finished the round off and headed straight to the bar. The Norwegians had sat over with some friends they knew, whilst me and Hans had a couple of cerveza’s in the sun. We had food included too, which was an enormous pan of paella. Exactly what you want when your sweating your tits off in 30-degree heat. Paprika and cayenne pepper. To be fair that’s my type of food though, and you usually can’t beat a Spanish homemade paella. Although Flamingo’s; yours was poor and I’ve had more exciting Pot Noodles in the past.
The presentation was done, the winners had collected their prizes and I’d decided it was time for a siesta. The day was excellent, the golf course was good and we won’t talk about the Paella.
If you’re staying that way then the course is definitely worth playing. It’s a great course to play, however I was a little let down by them over watering the course, and for €100+ there are better courses to play on the coast in my opinion.
Alferini the sister course is also a nice track and I’ll also be sharing my blog on it soon. But here’s a sneak preview of a pic I’d taken here