AS Europe’s undisputed capital of golf, the Costa del Sol draws hundreds of thousands of fanatical players each year.
Andalucia, said to have more golf courses per capita than anywhere else in the world, is a true golfer’s paradise.
There are nearly 100 courses in the region, with over half of them on the Costa del Sol between Gibraltar and Malaga.
It is no surprise that around 700,000 people a year come to Andalucia primarily to play golf.
“The coast, and specifically Estepona, has the best golfing temperatures in Europe, with over 320 days of sunshine a year and an average of 22 degrees,” explains Jason Callow, of Estepona Golf.
Founded in 1989, Estepona Golf is renowned for its superb putting surfaces and stunning sea views. The resort is blessed with two other gems in the shape of El Paraiso and Atalaya.
Green fees in Spain are comparable to the UK – between €25 and €60 – but in summer, great deals can be found for the hottest daytime hours and the evenings.
You can usually get some tuition from the resident pro from around €25 upwards, while renting clubs will cost around €15 and a buggy €30 – that’s if you can’t get an inclusive deal with the green fee.
The most famous courses are around Sotogrande, in Cadiz, where you will find the holy trinity of Sotogrande, Valderrama and San Roque. The selection of Valderrama as the venue of the 1997 Ryder Cup sealed the reputation of the ‘Costa del Golf’ as Europe’s premier golfing destination, with its endless array of exquisite courses. Nocturnal golf fiends can even play at night at Marbella’s La Dama de Noche course.
More and more courses are popping up inland, too. Besides the stylish Arcos Gardens course in Arcos de la Frontera, another new inland course is Antequera Golf, in Antequera.
Away from the coast, most of the cities have courses: Sherry Golf in Jerez and the Real Club de Golf in Sevilla, for example.
On the coast, well-established clubs include Santa Maria golf club, Miraflores and Marbella golf club.
The oldest golf club is the Parador de Golf course, just outside Malaga. It was built in 1925 and is a true links, sitting right by the sea.
For an interactive map to all the courses in Andalucia, visit http://www.vivaandalucia.com/golf_courses/golf_courses_andalucia.php