ONE of the best ways of playing golf at a reasonable price in Spain is to join the Spanish golf federation and take part in sponsored golf competitions.

Throughout the year many companies sponsor competitions at our local Almerimar golf course and other courses across the whole of Andalucía. In Almerimar the competitions tend to take place in the summer (mainly July and August) but there are a few at other times. Other courses in Andalucía have competitions at different times of the year.

To take part in these competitions you pay an entry fee (normally between 40 and 65 euros, but sometime cheaper if there are no drinks and tapas afterwards). For this you get a round of golf, a chance to win prizes and trophies, sometimes food and drink and most of the time a raffle (sorteo). The winners of some of the competitions also get to play in regional/national finals of competitions.

The prices quoted above are if you walk in off the street and put your name and federation number down on the entry sheet. If you are a regular player at a course the price for entering the competitions may be lower for you. There may also be reciprocal deals with other courses nearby where you can get reduced rates to enter their competitions. This is certainly the case at Almerimar.

To take part in these competitions you have to be a member of the Spanish golf federation. In 2010 this costs 70 euros a year and covers membership of the national federation, the federation of Andalucía and some basic golf insurance. Based on our experience here in Almerimar you can join the federation by contacting a local golf course in your area, filling in a form and providing them with a copy of your handicap certificate from your home club. When you are filling in the form you will have to provide the federation with details of a bank account where they take your annual payment by direct debit.

You should eventually receive a membership card in the post which has on it your federation number. You need this number to enter the competitions. You can also use the number to look up your Spanish handicap on the internet. The Spanish national federation and the federation of Andalucía both have sites that show this information. Plus for an additional 12 euros per year (paid online) the Spanish federation allows you to view your own playing statistics and those of other people. Very handy if like Jacqui and myself you organise friendly golf competitions on a regular basis.

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