In and Around Marbella

Golf

The "Costa del Golf"

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There are over sixty golf courses in Andalucía, of which thirty are on the Costa del Sol. The fine weather allows golf to be popular all year round.

David Crumpler, leading golf writer on the coast, explains...

When the Costa del Sol experienced a renaissance as a winter golf resort in the late eighties, the phrase "Costa del Golf" was coined. Between 1985 and 1991, no fewer than 17 new golf courses appeared, bringing the total along this 50 mile stretch of coast up to thirty. This concentration of quality golf courses, combined with the unique sunny and warm winter climate enjoyed by the region, led to its becoming unrivalled as a winter golf destination for northern Europeans, who while emerging as a serious force at all levels of golf, were deprived of the opportunity to play during the harsh winter months.

When Valderrama was chosen to host the Ryder Cup in 1997, the Costa del Golf received universal recognition as the finest winter golf resort in Europe, Advance reservations for the millenium led to a flurry of new golf courses to be constructed.

For a snowbound, frustrated golfer, desperate to play in the sunshine, the Costa del Golf is proving irresistible. Golf course owners are re-investing in their courses to improve their quality still further and there are no longer any weak links, each course offering its own kind of challenge on perfect fairways and greens. The general infrastructure from Malaga to Gibraltar has improved beyond recognition.

As Andalucia marches confidently in the new millenium, preparing to welcome a record number of golf tourists this winter, the moral is, book your golf holiday early!

The Costa del Sol has significantly extended its golf offer with the opening of five new courses since spring 2001 as a result of continuing demand from northern European golfers.

April saw the official inauguration of the Greenlife Golf Academy in the Elviria Hills behind Marbella. Strategically situated near the Four Seasons and Marriott Beach Resort complexes and the Don Carlos Hotel, Greenlife Golf provides state-of-the-art teaching facilities supervised by Golf Director Shaun Ashley. The shaded two-storey driving range and adjacent areas for putting, approach and bunker play are complemented by a nine-hole academy course pronounced "fantastic" by ex-Ryder Cup captain Bernard Gallacher the day of its opening.

The same month also saw the inauguration of Cabopino Golf near to Calahonda. This 'Pay & Play' facility is proving very popular with local golfers who appreciate the short, but testing, 18-hole challenge laid out by Spanish architect Juan Ligues.

Another of the new courses in Marbella, Santa Clara, is to be found opposite Los Monteros Hotel. Another much needed 'Pay & Play' facility, Sta.Clara is the work of Enrique Canales who has designed a commercially orientated course with wide fairways and little rough where water and sand provide obvious hazards that demand accuracy if par is to be achieved.

Sta.Clara's advantageous position next to the main coast road together with high levels of service and conditioning should ensure the new club will become as popular as Mijas, La Cala Resort or Torrequebrada within a couple of seasons of its inauguration.

June 2001 saw the inauguration of the second nine holes at La Cañada, the municipal course near Valderrama. However, not many municipal courses can boast two loops designed by Trent Jones Sr. and Dave Thomas! Dave Thomas also saw the opening of his third nine holes at Almenara at the other side of the Sotogrande estate in July.

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Los Flamingos Golf Club was the second course to open to the public in July and has pitched its green fee price at the exclusive end of the range. Situated between El Paraíso, Monte Mayor and the Marbella Club Resort, Los Flamingos takes its name from the Los Famencos lake around which Chamberlain & turner have laid out their 18-hole design. A second Four Seasons Resort is planned to provide accommodation for visiting golfers.

The 'Costa del Golf' has also grown to the east of the provincial capital of Málaga with the opening in August of Baviera Golf in Velez Málaga. The course, which enjoys magnificent panoramic sea and mountain views, has been able to count on the technical assistance of José María Cañizares.

All these projects have brought an investment of over 10,000 million pesetas to the coast and that is without the projects that are currently in development. For the middle of 2002 Antequera Golf is scheduled to open inland from Málaga but the third nine at Lauro Golf should open before that. Built from the original design by Falco Nordi, now deceased, Laura Golf is at an advanced stage of development and will add significantly to the attractions of one of the coast's friendliest clubs.

Still on the drawing board are plans to add to the existing resorts of La Cala and Los Arqueros. Cabell Robinson will design his third course at the prestigious La Cala development in the Mijas hills while Taylor Woodrow, owners of Los Arqueros have reached an agreement for Seve Ballesteros to put his name to a nine hole extension to his original design at Los Arqueros. Enrique Canales has wasted no time after overseeing the completion of Sta.Clara and has submitted plans for a 36-hole complex on flat land at Los Llanos, near Alhaurín.

There are very few places in the world that can match the Costa del Sol as a destination for golf tourism and, obviously, investors are planning for that situation to continue indefinitely.

Golf Tuition

Marbella Golf Institute
One of Europes premier golf schools providing exclusive and taylor made instructional programmes.

Moncur Golf Academy
PGA Qualified Professionals. From beginner to tour player, expert tuition to suit your needs. (need to follow all the links here to get the information)

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