Golf Course Architecture - Issue 74, October 2023

68 REPORT With just 11 courses to his name over a 30-year career, Javier Arana may not be considered the most prolific golf course architect. But he is regarded as Spain’s finest, producing some of the country’s most celebrated designs – including Club de Campo in Madrid and El Saler on the Mediterranean Sea just south of Valencia. Arana never saw his final design, Aloha in Marbella, completed. Construction began in 1972 and the architect made his last visit to the course in May 1974. Seeding of the greens had not yet started, because of a shortage of water to grow them in. Arana died in January 1975; the course opened that October. Spanish agronomist Luis Cornejo says that when Aloha first opened, the greens were typically cut at 5.5 millimetres and had a Stimpmeter reading of 6.5. Playability has therefore been a challenge in recent years, with the higher speeds associated with modern cut heights reducing the pinnable area on surfaces that – on half of the holes – sloped at more than five per cent. According to Alfonso Erhardt, author of ‘The Golf Courses of Javier Arana’, the architect drew detailed plans of the greens, but there is some debate as to how precisely the final surfaces reflected his intent given that he died Restoring Arana’s intent at Aloha Photo: Aloha Golf Club Marbella club unlocks more pin locations following reconstruction of all greens. The fifth at Aloha, where Tim Lobb has overseen the rebuild of all eighteen greens