Jeremy Ellwood joins the 10th birthday party at Lumine's 45-hole complex and beach resort an hour from Barcelona
Golf in Barcelona – Lumine
Tenth anniversaries have been the theme of my overseas trips for Golf Monthly this year, and my visit to the 45-hole complex at Lumine Mediterránea Beach and Golf Community was no exception.
I’d heard much about this resort, an hour from Barcelona on Spain’s eastern seaboard near Tarragona, but my first visit was to coincide with the grand celebrations to mark its tenth birthday this June.
The Hills and Lakes 18-holers, along with the Ruins nine-holer, all opened a decade ago, with the Lakes and Ruins layouts the handiwork of Greg Norman. We played the Ruins nine-hole course as our warm-up for the following day’s big tenth anniversary VIP tournament (me, a VIP?) and it was great fun and by no means easy despite its modest length.
It sits on the highest ground at Lumine and takes its name from the 200BC Roman remains you see on its 1st and 9th holes, with the former playing gently uphill and round to the left alongside some of them.
The 2nd is a delightful little downhiller towards the rollercoaster on the skyline, while the 3rd is a short but decidedly tricky par 4 – very tight, with trouble left and right, and a raised green at the far end that ensures your final approach must be well-flighted.
The drive on the 4th should be steered over the first tree then along another tight channel, while the memorable par-3 8th was to serve up a sucker right pin for our round, set perilously close to both the water and the bunker, which Norman has mischievously set into the green itself.
That pin position, and others, came courtesy of a ‘greenkeeper’s revenge’ element to our scramble event on the Ruins course, which made for some interesting putting.
Our schedule didn’t allow time for a game on the Hills course, but we did take a quick tour and were mighty impressed. This layout contrasts markedly with the other two, with its holes cut through pine forests and olive groves over higher ground that offers wonderful views out over the Mediterranean.
It even has its own clubhouse in the height of the season. Water comes into play less often, but you will have to contend with it on the finale, a short, sharp dogleg right, where a pond cuts into the green set beneath a dramatic rock cliff.
Discretion may prove the better part of valour here, especially for competitors in November’s European Tour Qualifying School Final Stage, which moved here in 2017. The resort had previously hosted second stage for five years from 2012.
Our main event took place on Norman’s Lakes course, regarded by many as the sterner of the two main tests.
It plays over flatter terrain through the beautiful Sèquia Major wetlands, with, not surprisingly, a significant amount of water in play. It’s tempting to have a go on the short par-4 3rd, but any ambition may need to be tempered slightly for there’s water tight right and bunkers aplenty down the left.
The 7th is a good mid-length par 3 that’s nearly all carry over water, and I think someone may have forgotten to tell the greenkeepers that their revenge day was over, for there was little merit in attacking the front-left pin here.
The attractive par-4 10th is framed by cork and oak trees, and mercifully, has a contoured fairway to gather minor miscues back in, while the par-5 16th is a real test with water down the left as it doglegs from right to left. In recognition of this obvious danger, I spent much time on the adjacent hole to the right from where I eventually ended up with a blind shot back in over the trees.
The tenth anniversary party that night at Lumine’s Beach Club was something else, with no expense spared at this fabulous beachfront facility blessed with pools and views galore. Away from the golf we also enjoyed a guided tour of some of the region’s most dramatic Roman remains in Tarragona itself, including the well-preserved amphitheatre.
And my early morning stroll along the harbour in the gastronomically renowned port of Cambrils was another highlight of an excellent trip.
Now, a little forward planning… I wonder which resorts will be celebrating their tenth anniversaries next year?
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