Every cloud has a silver lining so they say, al- though sometimes it’s difficult to see it what it is!
At El Paraiso we’ve taken the lockdown and restricted golf as a well-timed opportunity to commence some major works on the golf course. As there is very little to report on social events or club competitions, I believe it would be timely to expand upon some of those works which are in progress.
Having previously prepared a temporary green, which proved to be very tricky in practice, we closed the par three 7th back at the beginning of the year. The challenge with a short hole is keeping the ball on the green
and this one has proved to be no exception. In the meantime, the newly designed 7th green has been carefully and professionally nurtured and will be open for play in September.
Over and above the usual main- tenance of topdressing, hollow tining, hand watering greens etc., it was decided to commence a programme of spraying against kikuyu grass and other invasive grasses, throughout the course – a major work of the past few months. The members were warned in advance this would result in bare areas around the course, which there certainly were, but as the saying goes – no pain, no gain. So far 3,600m2 of new turf has been laid and we es- timate that a total of 8,000m2 of new turf in total will be required. However, the resulting quality of our fairways and rough has more than compensated for having the unsightliness of the earlier treat- ment. The course is showing a marked improvement already and will certainly be confirming that El Paraiso is a “must play” course when visiting or living in the Costa del Sol.
Sometimes it’s the small things that matter. If you end up in a bunker, the last thing you need to see is a hairy lip – not applicable if you’re the owner of a mous- tache! Manicuring is important and the overall aspect is so much more appealing by edging and fly mowing bunkers, so don’t despair if you land in one of ours – just admire the edges instead.
NEW FAIRWAY SHAPING
Under the auspices of Steve Mc- Farlane from Gary Player Design, we now have new fairway shaping which has widened our fairways. Yes, widened and not narrowed which is important to point out. This has come as a most pleasant surprise to those of us who regu- larly visit the rough after one or two wayward shots, but now find ourselves still on the fairway. Per- haps a slight exaggeration there – just not as far into the rough as before!
Having said to start with that there is little to report on the social side of the club, autumn is normally one of our busiest times. The practicalities of playing golf whilst maintaining social distanc- ing, has proved a challenge to us all. Our joint Captains David Wil- kes and Maria Matches started their term of office in the middle of lockdown, back in May. It’s been a steep learning curve as they’ve had to come to grips with the many and varied changes in our golfing and social calendar as a result of Covid-19. One delayed event will be the Captains’ Drive In, which will be in early October – even though their year started in May – such is the reality of the current situation. Nonetheless we’re all looking forward to cel- ebrating this tradition with a fun competition and lunch on the terrace, albeit socially distanced – rules is rules. Perhaps we could initiate semaphore signals for friends too far away to shout at! At the Club AGM towards the end of September, our Club President Christine Perring will be standing down and passing her jacket (not literally!) to Doug Nicholson as the new incumbent. She insists she’s thoroughly enjoyed her 2 1⁄2 years and wishes she had anoth- er 2 1⁄2 years to go – if only for the reserved parking space that goes with the job! One of her highlights as President was meeting Gary Player, the great man himself, earlier this year – particularly as he designed our golf course. She’d like to mention that Mr. Player, despite the pressure on his time, remained absolutely charming, erudite and courteous throughout. It was a great way to finish her term of office, but she’s certainly not looking for another job (so her husband said!).
But before all that, we will be enjoying another annual event, which is “Members Week”. Bearing in mind the restrictions imposed, we will be having four days of different competitions including a Texas Scramble, Pairs Betterball and a Blue Tees team challenge (not sure what that’s going to be, but I fear the mention of the word “challenge” is causing my palms to go all sweaty!). The final day’s competition this year will be the annual Shareholder Trophy. This is particularly popu- lar, not least because it’s spon- sored by our Board who also feed us and provide prizes – what’s not to like about that one!
In a year like no other, we’ve had closure through lockdown, as well as restrictions on international travel, which is ongoing. For clubs in our area, access through all forms of travel is essential for members and visitors alike. None- theless, we’ve been delighted to welcome over 20 new members since the beginning of the year
from America, Belgium, Finland, Ireland, Spain, Sweden and the U.K. – a truly international mix. Clearly we’re doing something right to attract new members, leaving aside the restrictions of social distancing imposed on us by Covid-19. El Paraiso remains an inclusive, open and friendly club as our new members will readily discover.There are more weekly competitions than one can decently enter and play with- out risk of exhaustion, injury or being sued for divorce!
And in conclusion, after more than ten years of writing this ar- ticle, I’m delighted to be able to hand over the responsibility of “club reporter” to Barry Gill. What a star!