Experiencing the life of a professional sports person, playing the top venues in gorgeous locations is a dream for most amateurs. But, in golf, that prospect is closer to reality than any other sport.
After all, teeing it up at the homes of some of the best tournaments, even against the best players, is something that happens frequently. Name another sport where you can do that?
Following in the footsteps of the golf pros is usually the fantasy but at Infinitum in Spain in mid-November, it’s arguably the other way around as the elite athletes look to replicate the residents by taking a more relaxed approach to their golf.
That’s easier said than done as professionals from across the planet put their careers on the line at the 500-acre resort on the Costa Dorada by competing in the final stage of qualifying school for the 2024 DP World Tour.
At a destination that has been voted Europe's Best Golf Venue several times, it’s no exaggeration to say that very few golfers competing from November 10th will enjoy the experience of playing the two main courses - even those that qualify!
That’s a huge shame because this is a golfing paradise that is already one of the most popular destinations on the Mediterranean coastline, not just for a golfing holiday but also to live, with ambitious long term plans to make it bigger and better.
Situated close to the historic ancient port city of Tarragona, just over one hour’s drive from Barcelona, Infinitum boasts two championship 18 hole layouts, plus a nine-hole course.
The Lakes Course, as the name suggests, involves plenty of water, in fact the challenge of trying to avoid the hazards comes into the thinking on more than half the holes - having said that, it’s a good viewing course, with very few blind shots,
After a gentle opening couple of holes, the marshland comes into sight on the third and fourth holes, on both occasions down the right.
From this moment onwards, the chances of getting wet is usually on the left of the target on a variety of different types of holes.
The par four 12th hole has a narrow approach to the green, the 13th is a risk and reward driveable par four for the bigger hitters, while the 16th is the longest hole on the course with water in play for its entirety.
The right-to-left closing par five needs a good approach shot to a well-protected putting surface in front of the clubhouse.
It’s a relatively flat layout, although there are a couple of long walks over the bridges from the 12th green to the 13th tee and then back again from the 15th to the 16th hole.
By contrast, the Hills Course is the most undulating set of 18 holes, although it doesn’t offer any extravagant climbs, with the possible exception of the seventh hole.
Designed by Greg Norman, it’s a layout that gets better the longer the round continues, with the front nine following the perimeter of the land, as a player tries to avoid going in the trees.
Water doesn’t come into play until the eighth hole - a long par three - but the fact that this is stroke index one emphasises the difficulty of the tee shot.
The feature holes on the back nine include the multi-bunkered 12th hole, the 13th which has a pond to the left of the green and a picturesque stone wall backdrop.
The 17th and 18th holes are short doglegs in either direction with the closing hole having the additional attraction of a pond and wall. It’s only fitting that one of the best looking holes on the course is overlooked by the Hills clubhouse balcony.
The ‘argument’ about which of these two courses is the best could go on for a long time, and both have significant positives, but it is noted that although both layouts are used for Q School, the Lakes has the honour of hosting the final two rounds.
Infinitum’s third course, the Ruins, is probably the most fun of the trio of golfing options, with a set of nine undulating and challenging par three and par four holes.
Accuracy off the tee is a key factor, probably never more so than on the third hole as a player needs to hit between the trees. The landing area is wider than anticipated, but it still requires some nerve to find the fairway.
The next par four in the opposite direction, with its large tree in the fairway, is another memorable hole on a course where the ancient ruins only actually come into view on the first and last hole.
There are no plans to extend this course to 18 holes but the future of this already popular destination will undoubtedly see plenty of significant improvements over the coming years.
Whilst visitors to Infinitum can benefit from a variety of non-golfing activities as part of the Beach Club, including access to the numerous swimming pools, restaurants and bars, in addition to the public beach, hotel accommodation is currently not on-site.
Fortunately the club has an excellent relationship and discount packages with a number of large hotels from the nearby beach town, which is within walking distance, and in Tarragona, which is a short car journey away.
But it won’t be long before Infinitum can attract stay and play resort guests as its new Hotel, situated next to the first hole on the Hills Course, is expected to open in 2025.
Staying for a short period of time isn’t the only option for visitors, with Infinitum’s main target being the sale of the numerous exclusive properties being built in the residential area on the grounds.
Almost all of the current batch of luxury two, three and four bedroom villas and apartments have already been purchased, but with hundreds more sustainable properties set to be built over the coming years, this is set to become a must-live destination.
Whether the golf pros think that on November 15th remains to be seen - and the likelihood is that even the 30-odd who enjoy a successful week, probably won’t want to see the place again!
But for everyone else, this experience is something you will want to repeat again and again. Ad Infinitum.
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