There’s something quite daunting about the first hole of any course in my opinion. Whether venturing into the unknown or re-visiting a course I know well, I have a sense of uncertainty of how my game will unfold.
The opening hole of PGA Catalunya Resort’s Stadium Course is a peach. In fact, I’d go so far as to say it’s one of the best holes on the course.
I like to visualise how I’m going to play the hole before I take to the tee and see how I will negotiate the beautifully manicured course features, which add significantly more to the aesthetics of the course than they do the scorecard.
From an elevated tee, the hole is laid out before me. My first task for the 366-metre (400-yard) hole, from the yellow tees, is to find the deceptively generous landing area with my tee-shot.
A successful drive must take safe passage through an avenue of trees and over a carry of waist-high rough. Spare a thought for the professionals who have an even tighter shot from the back tees (396-metres/ 430 yards).
Dog legging to the left, longer hitters may just reach the run-out into a wooded bank, but don’t try and cut the corner, for there lies the first of many course lakes, serenely awaiting errant shots.
With the subsequent approach shot, care must be taken to avoid three yawning bunkers, which hug the large, elevated and receptive green.
Subtle undulations characterise every green here at PGA Catalunya Resort, and make reading putts more like Dostoyevsky than Dr Seuss. However, the greatest challenge on the Stadium’s first is to accurately judge the weight of putt required to reach the hole on a surface akin to greased lightening.
It’s a brilliant starting hole and a par isn’t out of the question, but there’s no let-up on the first hole at Spain’s Number One golf course and each of the remaining 17 require careful course management too.