EVER since Jacqui and I took up golf in the mid 1990’s we have loved playing the game in the sunshine in the winter. We used to have many long weekends away over the winter period and always looked to have at least a week away over Christmas and/or New Year.
Being the type of person I am I checked the climate statistics for golfing regions that were not too long a flight from London. The typical low level of winter rain is the reason we have spent most of our holidays in the provinces of Murcia and Almería.
I think this area of Spain is probably the driest part of Europe in the winter. Although last winter was a bit of an exception as we had a lot more rain than usual. Nevertheless the province of Almería still had around a third to two thirds of the rain compared to the rest of Andalucía.
At first we used to go to La Manga a lot, particularly for Christmas or New Year. Although we loved La Manga 5 ½ hour rounds on a crowded course was the norm. Also it was quite costly to eat and drink there as there was a large captive audience in the hotel and on the complex. This led us to try out golf in the province of Almería.
In the early 2000s we played just about all the courses in the province of Almería and found that we liked the Almerimar course the best. The climate, the design of the Almerimar course and the promise of a better quality of life here were the main reasons we moved out to Spain.
The first few years we lived here playing golf in a short-sleeved shirt on Christmas morning was our practice. These days we are more used to the warm weather and now have to wrap up and watch the visitors play in summer clothing. Also the habit of playing on Christmas day has gone away. We now tend to have a relaxing day as we know we can play golf many other times during the winter.
This leads me on to how we spend the lead up to Christmas with a regular dose of festive golf.
Just about every week of the year we organise a friendly Friday team competition for whoever is in town and wants to play. We run team competitions where everyone pays for their own green fee then pays 5 euros to us. Everyone wins a bottle of something and the last place team of 4 wins a small bottle of cava and some chocolates each (and gets laughed at).
We normally just have drinks and tapas afterwards. However on 4-5 occasions over the winter we organise a competition with a dinner afterwards. One of these events is in the lead up to Christmas.
This year was the second year where our Christmas competition was a better ball match play event with teams representing our website and a local estate agent. Last year Alcor Properties stuffed us 7-4. This year it was a 6-6 draw so Alcor retained the trophy (boo hiss).
This event was just one of many that happen in Almerimar in December. Here is a full list of the golf I have played over the last few weeks:
3 December – regular Friday golf day.
4-6 December – 3 rounds of golf in the Yachting/Golf competition organised by Almerimar S.A.
7 December – day off but I could have played in the regular Tuesday golf.
8 December – the “Browning Classic” competition to celebrate the 80th birthday of Idris who was lived in Almerimar for ages.
9 December – Mike, a friend arrives from the UK and I join him for a round.
10 December – the Friday Christmas competition mentioned above.
11 December – another round with Mike.
12 December – took part in the final round of the 8 part regularidad competition organised by Almerimar S. A.
13 December – had a final round with Mike before he returns home.
At this point I had a bit of a rest and didn´t play again until:
17 December – regular Friday competition.
18 December – took part in the Christmas competition at Almerimar organised by the Bahía San Miguel golf club (a club affiliated to the Spanish golf federation but it doesn´t own a course – so more than a golf society but less than a fully fledged golf club).
I think you can now see why I feel I don’t need to play on Christmas day any more.