Xixerella (El Torrent), Andorra
It was in 2006 that Antoni Armengol holed the putt that reverberated around the Pitch and Putt world. The World Cup semi-final singles pitted Toni against one of Ireland's greats, Sean Downes. Toni was one up with two to play and the canned a monster putt across the penultimate green to ensure a shock win for the Andorrans over the country that gave the sport to the world. Antoni Armengol is Director of one of Andorra's Pitch and Putt courses - El Torrent.
The Pitch and Putt El Torrent is located eight kilometres from the capital of Andorra, between the towns of Pal and La Massana. The course of nine wonderful holes nestles among the trees and Andorran mountains along both banks of the river, which runs the length of the course. The official address is: Crta. de Pal-Xixerella-La Massana. GPS co-ordinates are: N 42º 33' 12" E 1º 29' 23". El Torrent offers a practice ground, a practice putting green, clubs for hire as well as a swimming pool and children's playground.
All of the holes, which measure between 55 and 86 metres, demand accuracy and precision play due to the pronounced slopes, some dense trees and of course, the ever present gurgling river, not to mention the fact that some of the fairways are quite narrow. Starting with the first (and 10th) hole there is a steep climb and dense forest on the right, and Out of Bounds behind the green, and of course, on the left, the river. On the 2nd, there is but a narrow passageway through to the green at 55 metres. Beware of the overhanging branches!
On the 3rd, there is the added complication in that the green in well protected at the front with a bunker. The 4th is another narrow hole and enjoys the reputation as being ripe for a potential river-in-one. The longest hole, the 5th and 14th, at 86 metres has one of the bigger greens, but with the addition of a water hazard, not to mention a bunker, it is a difficult assignment.
Again both the 6th and 7th holes require a steady stance and cool nerves in order to save par. Of course, there will be a feel good factor here if one could manage a birdie. The last two are great finishing holes, though the greens can be a bit tricky and must be read with care. In short, El Torrent is a natural gem of a course, and thoroughly enjoyable. That's allowing for the possibility that you may have to fish the occasional ball from the river, and even that needs to be attempted with great care!