The golf market is a multi-billion-pound industry, attracting wannabe John Rahms’ to destinations across the globe all-year round, and with so many courses and resorts available, competition for custom is fierce.
And here at Vacation Marbella we believe we can offer as good as, if not better than anyone else in Europe with so much quality choice in every area – whether that’s the incredible luxury accommodation options we provide, array of guest services, host of excursions, or the 60-plus golf courses in the region.
We are very fortunate to be where we are in Andalucia as the area boasts everything visitors could wish for and more – sun, sea, golden beaches, fantastic restaurants, fabulous nightlife, stunning scenery, picturesque villages and thrilling excursions – and that’s before we even think about hitting the lush, green fairways.
So, we will take you through some of our favourites. And with 15 courses on the doorstep of Marbella alone – in a region that has been aptly dubbed “Golf Valley” – you will find a course to suit every taste and every ability.
VACATION MARBELLA’S GOLF PICKS
Situated just 10.5km from Marbella and 5km from Puerto Banus, this friendly course is one of the favourites among visitors from all nations and was often used by film star and golf fanatic Sean Connery.
While it certainly is not the hardest course in the area, it is still very challenging with some memorable holes, particularly on the front nine.
It is a typical Robert Trent Jones Sr design with forgiving fairways and strategically placed bunkers and water hazards that will catch out careless or wayward shots. Renowned for being in excellent condition, the course is set among fragrant orange trees and boasts undulating greens that use Penn A4 grass.
Opened in 1977, Los Naranjos has hosted several major competitions, including the Spanish Open. Its reputation was also enhanced by winning the Costa Del Sol Course of the Year in 2005 and 2008.
Another huge plus for Los Naranjos is its stunning club house that offers incredible views of the course and serves some excellent cuisine in a laid-back friendly environment.
Rio Real has been a favourite with golfers to the Marbella region thanks to many key factors. Located just five minutes outside the centre of Marbella town, the impressive course takes its name from the Rio Real River, which runs alongside it.
This impressive parkland layout was designed by the legendary Javier Arana, one of the most respected Spanish designers of all time, and boasts varied yet breath-taking views, including glimpses of the shimmering Mediterranean Sea.
With elevated holes, the course is extremely challenging yet hugely enjoyable and the Royal Spanish Golf Federation considers it to be a prestigious course and one of the best in Spain – both in terms of its course and scenery.
Rio Real benefits from being in a wonderful setting, and as well as being close to the sea, it also benefits from panoramic views of the Sierra Blanca mountain range as well as a host of varied species of trees such as Pine, Palm, Casuarinas, Olive and Cypress.
There are many unforgettable holes here, but one that stands out is the par-four eighth that slopes down towards the sea, while also boasting amazing views of the mountain range. There is also the daunting 13th par-five over water that contains a slight dogleg left that is certain to test even the most accomplished golfer.
Marbella Golf and Country Club
Marbella Golf and Country Club is another course designed by Robert Trent Jones Senior in 1989 and is situated just outside the bright lights of Marbella.
The facilities here are truly first-class with a stylish restaurant, three tennis courts, modern pro shop and golf academy.
And as the name suggests, it is more than just a golf club as there is also a Wellness Centre offering yoga, pilates and a range of treatments.
Like the vast majority of the courses in this region the views are wonderful with the surrounding hills, olive groves and shimmering sea, while occupying one of the largest remaining green areas on the Costa del Sol.
This tricky, undulating course makes the most of its natural terrain within the Andalusian hillside that is scattered with olive trees, but stray off the fairways then the rough is a golfer’s nightmare.
Accuracy is the name of the game on the front nine as wayward shots will only find the aforementioned rough. There are some really breath-taking holes here, and seven to 15 are widely regarded to be the best.
Los Flamingos has long been popular with visitors to the Costa del Sol thanks largely to the fact this resort offers top-class golf with a choice of three equally stunning, yet totally different courses, as well as a cracking club house and sun-kissed terrace.
The lush green fairways predictably deliver amazing views of the Mediterranean and each course delivers a challenging and varied test of golf. The original course here is, not surprisingly, named Los Flamingos, designed by the renowned architect Antonio Garrido.
By no means the longest course, this par-71 is relatively modest at 5,714 metres off the back tees, but has wide variety and meticulous landscaping. The greens are generous in size, but the fairways, sewn with both Bermuda and Ray grass, are very tight on the front nine, while the Arroyo de Taraje stream, which passes through and ends in a lake, acts as a natural border
The second course, the 73-par Alferini, set in a lush green peaceful valley away from noise and distractions, is monstrous in length, and playing 6,641 metres off the back tees, errant shots are punished.
Set in a valley, the course has been described as technical with long fairways, fast greens and walking it can be tough due to the steady climbs. Strategic bunkers make the sizeable greens pretty daunting, but good driving is essential due to its length.
Last but by no means least is Tramores, an Antonio Garcia Garrido-designed course that is the shortest of the trio, a par-63 measuring just 3,468 metres off the white tees. It is nestled between two valleys, and like its sisters, boasts cracking views of the surrounding terrain and the Med.
Tramores is the latest edition to Los Flamingos and includes the Villa Padierna Michael Campbell Golf Academy – the only one in Europe and is the perfect choice for those who wish to enjoy a relatively quick round.
This wonderful course was designed by Spanish Ryder Cup stars Manuel Pinero and Antonio Garrido, the former pro who won nine titles on the European Tour – the most prestigious of which was the 1977 British PGA Championship.
Known for its lightning quick greens, La Quinta golf complex has 27 holes divided into three nine-hole loops that are carefully integrated into the natural landscape in an area known as Benahvis golf valley. Like many of its peers, it boasts some stunning views in every direction.
San Pedro Course A is the more open of the three loops thanks to its wide fairways, while Ronda Course B is quite the opposite – tight and tricky albeit the shortest of the trio.
The Guadaiza is the C loop and the longest and host of the Benahavis Senior Masters, which has been held at La Quinta Golf and Country Club since 2009. It is a real test with plenty of doglegged holes.