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  • Writer's pictureGolf on Costa del Sol

La Cala Golf Asia Course Review and Playing Guide

Updated: Feb 29

Opened in 1989 La Cala Golf Asia course, formerly known as The South Course is a tough layout, narrow fairways, short holes and lightening fast greens. Highly respected as a venue it has hosted some prestigious events for The Alps Tour, The Gecko Tour and the Ladies European Tour School.


Cabell Robinson has had a tremendous influence on Golf on the Costa Del Sol Spain. The most prolific designer in this area he has designed and brought to life many high quality golf courses and has made a huge contribution to European Golf.


The three courses at the La Cala Golf resort are testament to his skills.


La Cala has been owned since its inception in 1989 by the Irish company Farmers Business Development PLC (FBD Hotels and Resorts). Their vision has been nothing short of amazing, I can only imagine the pride they must collectively feel as their continued investment and commitment has evolved La Cala Golf into one of Europe’s leading golf resorts.


La Cala Golf has served the needs of residents and visitors to the Costa del Sol for more than 30 years. During that time La Cala Golf has built a solid reputation for delivering a high quality golfing experience.


The practice facilities at La Cala Golf are commented upon up and down the Costa del Sol. At one time it was the home of the David Leadbetter Academy. Now run by the locally renowned Golf Coaches Murdo McCorquodale and Fabian Lozano you will find on a daily basis a number of young aspiring professionals working hard perfecting the art!


The Clubhouse is a place of beauty and serenity with warm welcoming hospitality awaiting you.


The La Cala Hotel and Spa offer a range of facilities that will delight non golfers and make their stay exceptional.


Centrally located between Malaga and Marbella, L Calaa Golf serves a vast area of the Costa del Sol and is essential golf for anyone planning a golf holiday in Spain.



Location



Located in the Mijas Golf Valley La Cala Golf is a terrific Resort facility nestled in the hilltops just inland forn the beautiful village of La Cala de Mijas.

  1. Malaga airport – 25 minutes

  2. Fuengirola – 15 minutes

  3. La Cala de Mijas – 10 minutes

  4. Las Lagunas / Mijas Golf  – 15 minutes

  5. Marbella – 25 minutes

  6. Estepona – 40 minutes


Facilities

  1. 3 x 18 Hole Golf Courses

  2. 1 x 6 Hole short game academy

  3. Driving range

  4. Trackman / Flightscope

  5. Putting green

  6. Pro shop

  7. Hotel

  8. Spa


Clubhouse

  1. Changing rooms

  2. Showers

  3. Lockers

  4. Bar

  5. Terrace Bar

  6. Snack menu

  7. Restaurant

  8. A la Carte Menu


Getting your round started

Directly inland from the La Cala de Mijas exit off the N340 coastal road. As you reach the end of the slip road turn away from the sea and head inland. You will reach a Galp service station on your left from which point you simply follow the road signs marked in orange indicating La Cala Golf Resort.


A long twisty road will take you up the hillside until you eventually pass the La Cala Hotel on your left. The next turning will take you into the La Cala Golf resort car park.


Walk down the steps to the Pro Shop where the waiting staff will welcome you, check you in and issue your green fee ticket and buggy key.

The first tee for the La Cala Asia course is about a 2 minute buggy ride from the Pro Shop.


Cost


In a similar price bracket to Mijas Golf and Santana Golf, the La Cala Golf Resort is another venue amongst the golf courses on the Costa del Sol that offers members and visitors alike outstanding value. Priced in the mid to high-mid range this is truly exceptional.



La Cala Golf Asia Course -1st Nine


La Cala Golf Asia Course Hole 1

Stroke Index 12. Par 4. White 319m. Yellow 286m. Blue 247m. Red233m.


La Cala Golf Asia course review Mijas Costa del Sol Andalusia Spain


As we drive from the pro Shop to the first tee my first impressions are of the beauty of the rolling countryside, tall pine trees and the great sense of space. The first cut of rough running alongside the cart path is immaculate, the fairways have a dense texture. I have a good feeling about today!


Today we are playing from the Yellow tees.


The first fairway rises from the tee in a series of gentle undulations. With banked rough on either side of the narrow fairway you are hopeful that offline tee shots are nudged back towards the centre.


This is not a long par 4 but the rising terrain and penal rough on either side of the fairway make for an intimidating start. At 286m, a driver might not be the best choice. I hit a 3 wood on the perfect line, the right side of the fairway. The terrain pulled me to the left, over the crest of the hill and down into the valley some 40m in front of the green. John hit a 5 wood and stayed on the high part of the fairway leaving himself 80m across the valley to the elevated green. From the top of the ridge JW was able to see the base of the flag which made his shot more comfortable.


The green runs steeply from the back to the front. It’s got a step in the middle of the green. The green is steeply downhill if you’re putting from the back you’re in a world of trouble you need to keep below the hole.

It’s a narrow green which makes it a very tough target. It widens at the rear of the green. At the back is an amphitheater type banking which gives you plenty of room but it’s going to be a very difficult chip shot.

An excellent opening hole. It’s not long but it does demand 2 well executed shots in order to secure your par.


La Cala Golf Asia Course Hole 2

Stroke Index 16. Par 4. White 267m. Yellow 252m. Blue 220m. Red 217m.


La Cala Golf Asia course review Mijas Costa del Sol Andalusia Spain

A straight par 4 with heavy rough on the right of the fairway. The best line is at the left hand greenside bunker. If you hit one too far left you will lose your ball in thick vegetation. No need to worry though as the fairway is generous, about 70m at its widest part. The closer to the green you get the narrower it becomes. The long hitters might take on the challenge of driving the green. In my view the risk vs reward equation does not make it worthwhile. 200 yards with a long iron or a hybrid from the tee will leave a short and simple wedge into the elevated green and a certain birdie attempt.


The green is on two levels with a one metre step in the middle. If you are on the front of the green below the hole you will have a significantly uphill putt. If you are above the hole then I wish you luck!


Cabell Robinson is a brilliant golf course architect. Often when he creates a short par 4 he will plant the seed of temptation in the players mind and subliminally urge the long hitters to try to over power the hole. It rarely works. In all of the holes designed by Mr Robinson he always gives you a clear view of the easy way to play it!


La Cala Golf Asia Course Hole 3 

Stroke Index 18. Par 3. White 145m. Yellow 119m. Blue 103m. Red 100m.


La Cala Golf Asia course review Mijas Costa del Sol Andalusia Spain

The view up here is fantastic! In the distance the Sierra Mijas mountains stand sentinel. To the left the Mars red mountains that contain the village of Coin. In the foreground is the entire Mijas Golf valley. From our vantage point we can gaze over both Santana Golf and Mijas Golf.


This Par 3 descends 30 metres and a large green awaits at the bottom. It is easy to overshoot this green such is the drop in altitude, and if you do you will find yourself in the enormous horseshoe shaped bunker that protects the rear circumference of the green.


Take one wedge less than you think, fire it into the air and hey presto there is a very good chance that you will find the putting surface!


A nice way to get acquainted  with the Par 3 holes at La Cala Golf!


La Cala Golf Asia Course Hole 4

Stroke Index 2. Par 4. White 336m. Yellow 325m. Blue 262m. Red 256m.


This is one of the most challenging holes at La Cala Asia. The hole is straight and not terribly long. What could possibly go wrong? Plenty!


The fairway is narrow from the tee and like most of the holes at La Cala Golf is set within the thick vegetation of the hinterland meaning you have thick rough on both sides . Fifty metres at its widest point the fairway descends steeply 200 m from the tee down to the valley green. You cannot see the green from the tee. The map on the tee marker gives you a clear picture of what you need to do and where to aim.


The best line is just inside the bunkers that sit on top of the hill 200m from the tee on the right of the fairway. A tee shot hooked left is terminal. The rough is banked from the right and might kick you back to the fairway if you miss slightly to the right.


JW hit a 3 iron to the top of the hill and had a wedge down into the green. I hit 3 wood which ran down the hill and to the left following the terrain. I finished just a few yards from the putting surface. I was also just a few yards from running off the left edge of the fairway and never seeing my ball again! If I had known that on the tee then I too would have simply hit the ball to where I can see it! This is a winning strategy here at La Cala Golf Asia.


The moral of this tale is that yes, you can attack these short par 4’s and try to dominate the course. But, no, you will probably not be successful. The course is designed to flatter  shorter hitters to rein in long hitters and force low handicappers to play a technical game of precision strikes.  


As you look down on the green you will see that there is a little room to the right of the green, almost nothing behind and to the left.


The green slopes downhill from the back and like all of the greens runs fast and true.


La Cala Golf Asia Course Hole 5

Stroke Index 10. Par 5. White 489m. Yellow 461m. Blue 407m. Red 375m.


La Cala Golf Asia course review Mijas Costa del Sol Andalusia Spain

This par 5 offers more stunning views across the Mijas Golf Valley. A slight dog leg left with serious vegetation and trouble along its left flank. The best line for the tee is at the fairway bunkers on the right. Aim at whichever of the bunkers is beyond your reach give it a blast and the terrain will run your ball back towards the centre line.


The second shot is downhill. This par 5 is reachable. Please dont think it’s a gift. Once again you will need to work out your risk vs reward balance and see if it makes sense for you to attack it.


The terrain runs markedly from right to left, running shots will veer left as they follow the ground. On the left of the green from 30m out is a lake silently waiting to collect over eager eagle poachers! On the right of the green is a large greenside bunker also collecting 2nd shots. If you find this bunker you will have a very unpleasant sand shot downhill across the narrow green directly towards the water!!


The green offers a small target for long range incoming shots.  Much easier to get it close with a short chip and putt for birdie!


La Cala Golf Asia Course Hole 6

Stroke Index 4. Par 4. White 349m. Yellow 325m. Blue 281m. Red 270m.


An uphill forty five degree dog left this is another great hole. Many different ways to play this hole, you will need to decide upon a strategy and stick to it!


The first obstacle is the lake that defends the previous hole. You only have to fly the ball over 40 metres of water no big deal, but there are many golfers who suffer from spontaneous hydrophobia and the mere sight of water can cause all kinds of palpitations!


Once the water is dispatched the bigger challenge reveals itself. Out of bounds along the right of the fairway, Along the left is the other side of the banked rough that was so fearsome on the last hole.


To have a shot at the green with your second you need to hit a drive 200meters to reach the corner of the dogleg. The further left you go the harder you make the shot in. The further right you go the easier the shot but you run the risk of finding yourself out of bounds. Take heart, I don’t want to give the wrong impression, there is plenty of room to swing freely, it’s just that the hazards on either side dominate your view and are intimidating.


A complex of bunkers guard the inside angle of the dogleg and although only 90m or so from the green they are not the place you want to find yourself.

Quick big breaking green made the birdie putts difficult. One of them went in! This hole is dominated by the tee shot. You choose and then execute the right tee shot and the rest of the hole becomes much easier!


La Cala Golf Asia Course Hole 7

Stroke Index 14. Par 3. White 168m. Yellow 125m. Blue 101m. Red 84m.


Rising uphill by 15m from tee to green with a big bunker at the back this par 3 looks pretty straight forward from the yellow tee boxes. It might be a different story from the white tees tucked 40m further back!


The fairway runs in a series of steps as you approach the green. This means that any shots that are slightly short will only run down to the next step rather than all the way to the bottom of the fairway! Thank you La Cala Golf for a kind touch!

There is a bailout area on the left of the green and some trouble on the right, but it’s only 125m long and the green is pretty big, we should not be missing the target from here!


The green is at an oblique angle to the tee running front right to back left. My tee shot went past the pin leaving me a buttock clenchingly slick down hill putt. My advice to you is don’t hit your tee shot past the pin!


Another beautiful setting again. You are not aware of other fairways nearby, each hole is set in its own piece of serene tranquility.


La Cala Golf Asia Course Hole 8

Stroke Index 8.Par 4. White 407m. Yellow 338m. Blue 311m. Red 272m.


La Cala Golf Asia course review Mijas Costa del Sol Andalusia Spain

A row of elegant Eucalyptus trees stand to the left and rear of this tee adding visual splendour to an already beautiful place.


This is a straight par 4. The line to take is up the middle between the two sets of bunkers that sit either side of the fairway about 220m from the just before the fairway descends into a valley.


I hit a dreadful drive that scuttled through the rough up the left of the fairway before miraculously popping back into the fairway exactly at the crest of the hill 105m from the pin. The green is at the same height as the fairway leaving me with a clear view of the bottom of the pin. John hit a cracking drive which ran down into the valley, with only 60m left he was faced with a more difficult pitch to the elevated green, only the top half of the flag was visible to him. Another example of the choices La Cala Golf Asia asks you to make.


The green is narrow from front to back  and wide from left to right with a step making the right half of the green higher than the left. A clever device to add a little extra pressure on the second shots by halving the size of your target. In order to have a birdie chance or even to have an easy two putt par you have to land your approach shot on the correct half of the green.


La Cala Golf Asia Course Hole 9

Stroke Index 6. Par 5. White 449m. Yellow 424m. Blue 384m. Red 357m.


La Cala Golf Asia course review Mijas Costa del Sol Andalusia Spain

Another short par 5 that is tough to get at! From the yellow tees you drive uphill. There are fairway bunkers on the left and a raised mound of rough on the right. These features mark both the left and right edges of the fairway and also the point where the fairway ends. From this high point 200m from the tee the hole drops 15 m through thick banked vegetation to the valley floor before rising to the elevated green a further 230m away.


My 2 iron tee shot found the bunkers on the right. A well hit 4 iron left me 30m short of the green. As I played my second shot I did not perceive how steeply the fairway runs from the valley floor up to the green and how elevated the green is above the fairway. My 3rd shot whilst only 30m from the flag had an elevation 7m making it difficult to judge the distance.


The elevation of the green coupled with shallow depth makes it an elusive target especially difficult if you are contemplating attacking it with your second shot from 230m away! La Cala Golf Asia might not be the longest course, but it sure knows how to take care of itself!


La Cala Golf Asia Course – 2nd Nine


La Cala Golf Asia Course Hole 10

Stroke Index 1. Par 5. White482m. Yellow 460m. Blue 413m. Red 413m.


La Cala Golf Asia course review Mijas Costa del Sol Andalusia Spain

Stroke Index 1, the toughest hole on the golf course is exactly as difficult as you might imagine!


From the tee you see the cart path running along the left edge of the fairway. The path is lined with a safety rail to prevent golfers driving into the chasm of vegetation that runs alongside the first 300m metres of the fairway. On the other side of the cart path are a series of bunkers 175m and 220m respectively for the tee.


A steep bank guards the right of the fairway. If you drive pitches into the bank it will stop immediately and probably roll 40m back towards the tee, or even worse it could kick to the left and run towards the precariously positioned cart path and into the chasm of death!


The line to take from the tee is to the right of the fairway bunkers. You can go a little right but you cannot go left!


The fairway comes to its narrowest point 100m from the green with trees on the right edge of the fairway and a steep bank of rough falling away on the left. You have to decide where to lay up. Do you take the more difficult option and hit your 2nd shot past this pinch point to leave a short but elevated third into the green, or do you lay up short of the pinch point and leave a much more difficult 3rd .

This is a very tough hole, there is no easy way to survive it. With 2 clear choices you will need to choose your strategy and execute 3 good shots to find this green. Make no mistake you will be under pressure for the full length of this hole. A truly outstanding Par 5!


La Cala Golf Asia Course Hole 11

Stroke Index 13. Par 3. White 170m. Yellow 164m. Blue 116m. Red 114m.


The Sierra Nevada mountains make a grand backdrop to this attractive Par 3 and help to ease the soul after the torment of the previous hole!


Playing downhill the green is slightly raised above the fairway making it more difficult for running shots to access the green.


If you miss it to the right you have 8m or so of first cut rough before you find any real trouble.


It is a long narrow green with a bunker defending the middle right and a further two very large bunkers guarding the left and right rear.


The green appears to slope from both front and back towards the center and quite markedly from from right to left.


This is a nice little hole. It’s not difficult. It only asks that you find one good shot from the tee. That good shot is all you need to set up a birdie opportunity.


La Cala Golf Asia Course Hole 12

Stroke Index 3. Par 4. White 359m. Yellow 314m. Blue 292m. Red 217m.


The right side of the fairway is banked and will push offline tee shots back to the centre. Missing severly on the left will put you in deep vegetation and a lost ball.

The front of the green is defended by a lake which extends 50m up the fairway. The best line is directly at the flag making sure not to reach the lake.


The green is very narrow, only 5m at its narrowest requiring a precise shot into the green. The rear of the green on the left has a difficult bunker, the right of the green is slightly wider with banking at the back inviting you to err on the side of over hitting rather than splashing short into the lake.


For a short par 4 this was a surprising test. To give an indication of how tough this hole is, John won it with a par 4. The rest of us missed the green in every conceivable direction resulting in none of us finishing the hole!


La Cala Golf Asia Course Hole13

Stroke Index 5. Par 4. White 377m. Yellow 368m. Blue 339m. Red 333m.


A long drive from the 12th green to the 13th tee is a good time to point out that whilst Asia is walkable a buggy is a better option for most players.


A straight par 4. Out of bounds on the right. The left of the fairway has a line of bunkers extending from 100m to 200m up the fairway. Another bunker sits on the right at the 160m mark. The plan is to hit your tee shot directly at the green, cross your fingers and hope that you avoid the many bunkers!


Missing the fairway on the left adds a further level of difficulty as you will find yourself at the bottom of a bank in the next fairway with a blind shot back over the bank and trees to get to the green.


Once again the premium here is on finding the fairway with your tee shot. At La Cala Golf Asia every good tee shot is rewarded with a simple 2nd shot.


The elevated green is made up of 2 tiers running downhill from bank to front. This is a common design feature on Cabell Robinsons golf courses as it allows you good sight of the flag for your shot into the green.


A huge bunker guards the left side of the green, another on the right. The out of bounds is close to the right edge also. Being long with your approach shot is also a very bad idea!


An excellent par 4 with many hazards and challenges, most of which are dealt with by simply finding the fairway with the tee shot! This game should be so simple, yet it tortures each of us every time we come and play. Golf is hard!


La Cala Golf Asia Course Hole 14

Stroke Index 17. Par 4. White 292m. Yellow 281m. Blue 214m. Red 205m.


La Cala Golf Asia course review Mijas Costa del Sol Andalusia Spain

A drivable per 4! Lots of room to give the driver a lash. A generously sized saddle shaped fairway. Bunkers on the left about 70 metres short and left of the green. Greenside bunkers on either side and at the rear of the green. Lots of room on the right. This lovely saddle shaped fairway gives such a feeling of security the urge to take a massive swipe with your biggest stick is irresistible!


The entrance to the green is elevated. My drive was about 40m short and required a flick with a lob wedge to reach the elevated surface and stop it close.

The green seems to undulate in every direction making reading the green difficult, although that could be attributed to my frayed nerves having been concentrating so hard for the last 13 holes!ll


A cracking hole that is a real birdie chance for most players. On this hole it is the shot onto the green that provides that challenge rather than the shot from the tee. Let me assure you, hitting a straight wedge is a lot easier than hitting a straight driver! A lovely hole that offers a little respite from the challenging technicalities of La Cala Golf Asia!


La Cala Golf Asia Course Hole 15

Stroke Index 11. Par 4. White 360m. Yellow 333m. Blue 316m. Red 311m.


From the tee this hole looks quite impossible! In my opinion it’s a toss up between this hole and the next for the signature hole on the La Cala Golf Asia course.


Down hill from the tee with banking directly left of the tee forces you to aim at the rough on the outside of the elbow of this dog leg left. Pointing at the wooded vegetation with your tee shot is most disconcerting. The options are to hit a mid iron short of the dogleg leaving a longer shot into a small difficult green. Plan B is to gird your loins, close your shoulder line, point your clubface to the left, put your faith in your technique and attempt to hit a high draw around the corner. If you pull it off you will feel like one of those Golfing Gods!


I managed to hit a delightful 3 wood around the corner, it scurried down the hill leaving me a short wedge into another raised green. The green is a very small target, if you miss it you will experience the pain of dropped shots as you try to recover. It’s a fast green running from back to front but, as always here at La Cala Golf it runs perfectly true.


Walk off here with a par and you will feel pretty good about your game!


La Cala Golf Asia Course Hole 16

Stroke Index 7. Par 5. White 435m. Yellow 435m. Blue 375m. Red 370m


La Cala Golf Asia course review Mijas Costa del Sol Andalusia Spain

This is probably the most technical hole on the course. I remember years ago it was played as a par 4 and was a total heart breaker. Now it plays as a short par 5 which makes it a much fairer prospect for club golfers, a good balance of risk and reward for the birdie hunters and certainly a hole you will be talking about when your first beer arrives back at the club house!


The hole is a severe dog leg left running around a terrace cut into the hillside. Blasting a drive over the corner is not possible.


The right side of the fairway is met with a sheer drop, all marked with red stakes. The line to take is at the fairway bunkers on the right, you have 170m. From that point you will have 230m into the green if you are brave or foolhardy enough to take on the challenge.


Death and disaster await you along the right of the hole all the way to the green however the good news is it mark with red stakes. The densely vegetated hillside on the left makes the fairway a snaking elusive target for its entire length.


The green has lush green vegetation just a few paces off the apron forming a semi circle encapsulating the sides and rear of the green.

The only way it could be more difficult is if they had barbed wire and machine gun nests!


The sensible solution is another mid iron to lay up to a safe point and attack the pin with your favorite wedge. Birdie hunters can take on the near impossible second shot knowing that if they succeed an eagle put awaits.


There are many different ways to play this hole, once you have played it 2 or 3 times you will figure out the best strategy for you.


La Cala Golf Asia Course Hole 17

Stroke Index 15.  Par 3. White 166m. Yellow 101m. Blue 91m. Red 74m.


La Cala Golf Asia course review Mijas Costa del Sol Andalusia Spain

A short, picturesque par 3 set within a verdant crucible, this 17th Hole is reminiscent of the famous 12th Hole at Augusta without the water.


Three vast bunkers protect the flanks and rear of the steeply banked green. The pronounced slopes from left to right and back to front are visible from the tee adding extra pressure not to leave yourself on the wrong side of the hole.

The tricorn shaped green has its narrow point at the front broadening as it reaches the back. Hitting the green is not so difficult, walking off the green having had only 2 putts is much tougher!


At 91m it may be short in length but huge in stature!


La Cala Golf Asia Course Hole 18

Stroke Index 9. Par 4. White 355m. Yellow 336m. Blue 313m. Red 266m.


La Cala Golf Asia course review Mijas Costa del Sol Andalusia Spain

Uphill all the way from the tee to the green the 50 degree dogleg to the right presents one final challenge from the tee.


The out of bounds runs tight to the fairway along the right. Be careful, there appears to be plenty of room, there isn’t, the space you can see is the manicured lawns of the La Cala Resort Hotel.


Fairway bunkers adorn the left of the fairway from 190m to 260m. The cart path crosses the fairway at 265m.


The question to ask yourself here is how much of the corner do you cut off?

Your second shot is made difficult by the significant elevation into a very narrow target. The right side of the green is guarded by fearsome bunkers at the front and rear. The left is open and offers safe haven to those hitting long second shots in. The pin is often tucked away on the left of the green making it very difficult to get at.


Unusually for La Cala Golf Asia length off the tee is a real premium on this hole as the only reliable way to get close with your second is for it to be coming into the green from a great height!


Summary


La Cala’s Asia Course is tough, make no bones about it.


This course looks intimidating, finding the fairways feels like threading a needle. In fact, if you select and execute the right tee shot you will discover that you have plenty of room.


Thoughtful design touches such as the saddle shaped fairways will help keep your ball centred.  Clearly identifiable lay up points take unnecessary risk away.  Stick to your strategy and La Cala Golf Asia can be begin. This is a golf course that wants to reward you, it wants to imbue you with a feeling of satisfaction having thoughtfully plotted your way around. Hit and hope is not the right tactic here.

This is a signature of Cabell Robinson designs. He crafts each hole so that it tells you the best way to play it. If you manage your strategy to always play the easiest shot then you can build a good round. If you ignore the clues given to you then you are at the mercy of a skewed risk vs reward equation.


La Cala Golf Asia is fair. It does not  punish good shots. It only punishes shots that are a long way off line. This is an excellently presented and thoughtfully laid out design that will bring pleasure to golfers of all handicaps.


Especially suited to shorter hitters this course gets my thumbs up and a wholehearted recommendation to come and play.

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