IT was Valentine’s Day and thanks to my other half understanding that golf had to win out over romance for once I took a trip with my chef Gordon to the Axarquia.
And what a fantastic day out we had.
Snow-capped mountains to the north, the Med twinkling to the south; there is hardly a hole at Baviera golf in Torre del Mar where you can’t enjoy one or the other.
The missus would have loved it, even if we were a little unsure of the course at first.
The opening hole is a strange dog-leg requiring a little local knowledge not to overclub the first shot. And the second hole is short on character but the course gets more interesting and more challenging.
By the time we walked off the fourth green we were feeling much more positive.
This is a good golf hole – various options on the second shot and an interestingly guarded green with a pond to the left and big bunker to the right to swallow up errant approaches.
The summarising word here is consistency. The fairways are consistently good, the bunkers are consistently similar and the greens true and well-presented. But beware of these greens – there are some enormous ones with lots of different levels to make three putting, or worse, a distinct possibility.
So to pick some favourites, the par three tenth is a great hole – get it just right from the tee and you’ll be rewarded. Under-club and you’ll be in the wet stuff or left with a daunting bunker shot from 15 metres vertically below the green.
Over-club and be left with a bunker shot that needs to be stopped quickly on a green that slopes away.
Get your par and you’ll be elatedly heading on.
The 11th and the 12th are where bravado must be balanced with cunning. A five iron from the tee – or the big guns?
Either option needs to be well placed to avert disaster.
The landing area from the 12th tee is small and requires precision.
Go for it and you’d better be extremely accurate.
I want to go back and try it again – and maybe take a totally different approach. I really like that in a golf hole.
Baviera is a course that drains well – it has rarely closed for a whole day, even in the deluges of the 2009 winter.
And because this is not a members’ venue, tee times are available for everyone – a simple phone call or online reservation ensures your tee-time and even on busy days there is usually a chance of a game.
To sum up: the gullible one who had the pleasure of being humiliated – five down after nine is not a great start – left feeling really enthusiastic about it.
That says something, cos he’s normally a curmudgeonly Scot. Go discover Baviera for yourself.
You’ll almost certainly slip up somewhere on your way round and you’ll want to go back and really show the course who is boss.
And then finally a beer and a tapa on the very attractive terrace at sunset when the wind has died down, the colours are changing by the minute in the mountains, a few birds call as night descends, and it is time to check how much you have won from your playing partner.
I’ll settle for that.