GOLF courses can no longer be used as a Trojan horse to build thousands of new homes.
And under new regulations passed this week, only recycled water can be used to irrigate fairways and greens.
The new golf decree introduced by the Junta places tougher restrictions on the construction of new courses and limits the amount of houses that surround courses.
Also regulating Andalucía’s existing courses, the law restricts the type of water used in their upkeep, with water destined for human consumption strictly forbidden.
“This law is revolutionary and pioneering,” claimed Junta spokesman Gaspar Zarrias.
“We want to put an end to the relationship between golf and construction. We do not want to see 17,000 homes with a large garden with holes in it.”
Golf courses will now fall into two categories – either sport or tourist facilities.
Housing will not be allowed around those designated as ‘sports’ facilities, while the amount of homes in the latter category will be limited to just ten per hectare.
On top of this, tourist courses will only receive planning permission if earmarked for urban land.
All new courses will be carefully vetted by the regional authorities.
Critics say the new regulations are not stringent enough with all existing or courses under construction not affected by the new rulings.
Promotur, the body that represents the region’s tourist industry, has welcomed the decree.
“Golf is not only a sport, but a very important source of income for Andalucía,” said Promotur chief Ángel Salazar.
“The Junta has recognised the demands of the tourist sector.”
Claiming the 350,000 users a year generate 500 million euros and give employment to 50,000 people, he insisted that golf was fundamental to Andalucía’s economy.
This contradicts Golf Federation statistics that the game only creates a handful of fixed full time jobs per course.