Sant Jaume, Catalonia
The Catalonia region of Spain is blessed with a wonderful diversity of excellent Pitch and Putt courses.
This month we visit one of the earliest Catalan courses, the delightful 9 hole course at Sant Jaume, a short drive south of Barcelona in the Tarragona area.
Not only does the Sant Jaume course have its place in Catalan Pitch and Putt history as one of the pioneering courses, but it also has its place in global Pitch and Putt development as one of the founding courses of Pitch and Putt's most exotic competition, the World Interclub League.
Indeed it was a simple suggestion from course owner, Ramon Carrera, which started the ball rolling. It was Ramon's vision that helped inspire the creation in 2005 of the World Interclub League, a global competition that reaches out to Pitch and Putt players in all parts of the world and offers them the chance to take part in a unique worldwide competition.
Like most Catalan Pitch and Putt courses, the Sant Jaume course, opened in 1994, features two sets of tees, one set for the local distance which at Sant Jaume is 1480 metres, and one set for the International distance which at Sant Jaume comes in at 1180 metres.
The course is typical of Catalan courses, with designers having no fear of placing trees in the direct tee to green line of play. With a course dotted with small palms, it is no surprise to find two of them plonked in the middle of the fairway on the 74m 5th hole.
The complex includes a driving range and cosy restaurant with very friendly and welcoming staff. At this time of year with hot winds blowing in from Africa, a cold beer in the clubhouse is the perfect way to reflect after ones round.
Due to the climatic conditions of the area, the course is harder and faster than those in many other parts of the world, very similar to those in the drier areas of Australia or the western USA and offers plenty of opportunities for a variety of playing styles.
For those interested in tasting the full variety that global Pitch and Putt has to offer, the Sant Jaume course is a must on your list of courses to play, and not only does it have its special place in Catalan Pitch and Putt, but it also holds a very special place in the history of the global development of the sport. In the first weekend of August, when over 300 players around the world step out onto their courses to take part in the World Interclub League for 2007, it will be worh remembering that the seed that become the World Interclub League was planted at Sant Jaume.
You can find the Pitch & Putt Sant Jaume in Google Earth under the following coordinates: 41°17'7.23"N - 1°34'8.01"E