The Marbella region, dubbed “Golf Valley” has long been a magnet for visitors from across Europe, and Vacation Marbella, which hosts more than 10,000 guests a year alone, is now focusing more in that market.
Our popular stay-and-play deals allows Vacation Marbella guests to enjoy all the trappings of our high-end apartments in and around Puerto Banus, while also giving them the added bonus of discounted green fees at a host of the neighbouring courses.
And there are plenty to choose from with more than 70 fantastic courses on the Costa del Sol and 15 alone in the Marbella region, while there are on average 320 sunny days a year to enjoy them. There is so much choice here, but Vacation Marbella has picked five of the best holes to play…
Sotogrande 7th hole, par four
Located in Sotogrande to the south-west edge of the Costa Del Sol region right on the Mediterranean Sea, Real Club de Golf Sotogrande is one of the most highly rated courses in Spain.
Officially opened in 1964, the 6,492-metre par-72 course was the first one designed by Robert Trent Jones in Europe and remains one of his best thanks to his use of the natural pine and eucalyptus trees, as well as his trademark strategically positioned bunkers and water hazards around the greens.
Sotogrande has hosted multiple European Tour and high-profile Amateur events, with past winners, including players of the calibre of Jose Maria Olazabal and Seve Ballesteros, while stars such as Justin Rose and Ian Poulter were able to gain their Tour cards here.
There are many notable holes, but the pick of them may well by the seventh is often regarded as the strongest hole. The par four 317-yard is aesthetically stunning but a real test of golf thanks to its narrow green that is ominously guarded to the right by water.
Finca Cortesin 13th hole, par four
Finca Cortesin is ranked the fifth best course in Spain by Top 100 Golf Courses and it is no surprise having held the Volvo World Matchplay Tournament for three years, while also boasting greens that have been compared to that of Augusta National by home hero Sergio Garcia.
This wonderful course, designed by Cabell Robinson, is in pristine condition and offers a true test of golf while enjoying unrivalled views of both the surrounding valleys and the Mediterranean.
There are many memorable holes, but one of the favourites is the signature par four 13th hole that requires nerve and accuracy.
A good drive over water which runs left of the fairway will set you up nicely but that certainly isn’t the end of the challenges this hole provides.
Water is again very much in play for your second shot as it runs diagonally across the front of the large, while the native Acebuches trees and bunkers left and right in front of the sloping green are also a major consideration.
Santa Clara, 12th hole, par 4
The Enrique Canales Busquets-designed Santa Clara Golf Club is a par-71 course near Marbella that covers more than 150 acres and was host to the 58th Spanish PGA Championships in 2003.
Fairly wide fairways can lull you into a false sense of security, while the “Santa Clara Corner”, holes 12, 13 and 14, make up the most famous stretch of this popular course.
The 12th hole is a 400-metre par four (yellow tees) stroke index three that presents magnificent views of Estepona and Gibraltar Bay in the background. The wind can play a huge role in how difficult this can play. Although the fairway is wide, there are hazardous bunkers either side.
Water is then in play on your next shot, with two daunting lakes and a bunker to the front, right of the green. Stay too left, though, and you will end up in the sand on the other side, with a small, deep bunker guarding the front and a larger one at the back.
Valderrama, 17th hole, par 5
No such list of either best of favourite courses in the Costa del Sol, let alone Spain, could be complete without the legendary Valderrama making an appearance – it was recently ranked third best course in Spain by Top 100 Golf Courses.
Often called the “Augusta of Europe”, it was catapulted into one of the world’s elite courses thanks to industrialist billionaire Jamie Ortiz-Patino, who spent fortunes hiring Robert Trent Jones, creator of the original track, to make it what it is today.
Despite Valderrama having hosted the 1997 Ryder Cup as well as the former Volvo Masters on the European Tour, the fact it is less than 7,000 yards off the Championship tees means it is not confined to just top golfers.
The most notorious of the holes is the 17th – Tiger Woods’ nemesis. The former World No 1 famously found the water three times in four rounds years ago. The monster 536-yard par five – called Los Gabilones, or occasionaly “el hoyo del terror”.
It used to be played to an elevated green, but Seve Ballestero redesigned it for the 1997 Ryder Cup and the hole was shortened and a pond was added to the front complete with a shaved slope that has a hint of the 15th at Augusta. As hard as it is, Graeme McDowell bagged an albatross on this hole in 2007!
Vacation Marbella enjoys a close friendship with Los Naranjos, which is situated just 10.5km from Marbella and 5km from Puerto Banus.
This friendly Robert Trent Jones Sr-designed course, which opened in 1977, is one of the favourites among visitors from across Europe and was often used by film star and golf fanatic Sean Connery.
The front nine is possibly the more aesthetically pleasing than the back nine, but the signature hole is the 18th with its stadium green in front of the stunning clubhouse.
The 550-yard par-5 dogleft left requires a good drive to set up your second shot, which will make or break you. The fairway is forgiving, but with a good tee shot and a draw you should be in a good position … and then it’s up to you to go for the green in two…or three.
There are hazards aplenty here with water to the left that runs and guards all across the front of a green that slopes from back to front. It really is a great finishing hole to a truly enjoyable course.