23. September 2013 20:34
On our summer holiday to the Costa Del Sol this year my Dad and I honourably responded to the call of freshly cut grass and San Miguel’s patiently waiting on ice and ventured out to try some of the awesome golf on offer in the area. Not too long into our trip we kindly left our ladies to bake in the Spanish sun whilst we slipped away and drove up to Los Naranjos Golf Club in Marbella.
After driving 5 minutes uphill from Puerto Banús through some beautiful residential estates you arrive at what can only be described as a golfer’s paradise with the beautiful white and blue coloured clubhouse providing a stunning entrance to the course. We headed down to the 1st tee and were met by the starter who offered us a few friendly- though evidently intimidating for my Dad- words of advice before we teed off.
The undulating front-nine proved to be a real test as we wound through the tree-lined fairways, trying to avoid the numerous water hazards and nearby villas, which were beckoning to our shots. However, the back-nine was kinder as well as flatter allowing me to be a bit more attacking, and saving my Dad a trip back to the pro shop to stock up on balls! The huge terrace outside the clubhouse proved to be a great vantage point for the whole course, only to be improved by the feel of a well-earned cold beer in your hand (or hands depending on how well you feel you played). Overall this was a thoroughly enjoyable round on a tough but rewarding course.
After a few more days we snuck off again and drove just down the road from where we were staying to Rio Real Golf Club. We had only heard good things about this course from other holidaymakers and couldn’t wait to see what it was like. After driving through the gates and parking outside the on-site boutique hotel we walked down a few steps to get to the well-stocked pro shop.
Overall the greens and fairways are quite flat, however, extremely well maintained and stunning to look at with nearly every fairway being lined with tall pine trees. We had heard the 4th hole takes you towards the sea but we were quite literally a few yards from the beach – a beautiful hole where you can hear the waves crashing whilst you’re trying to hole your tricky 6-footer for par. The 11th hole boasts the same quality, a hole where long hitters can take on the river off the tee and everyone else can enjoy a refreshing paddle in the drink! We finished the round off on the clubhouse terrace on the 9th green, with a meal meant for us golfers: the club sandwich. Rio Real is definitely a must play!
After playing golf in Spain for the last 10 years we had decided to save our favourite course until last: Santana Golf Club.
This really is a stunning layout built on an old avocado plantation with wide fairways, large well-manicured greens and tall eucalyptus trees lining most fairways. This was the only course where the green-keepers had started work early enough that every green and fairway was freshly cut for when we played them - this made such a difference and you could tell that all the staff are very passionate about the condition of the golf course. The par-5 15th hole is one of the best holes on the course: a double dogleg with a large lake down the right hand side and numerous bunkers guarding the left along with several avocado trees - superb. The friendly staff in the clubhouse kept the beer and olives coming and the extremely good value €11 3-course lunch went down a treat. Good golfers will really appreciate the quality of this course.