Golf Opportunities in Spain

Series 1 – The South, Canary Islands and North  

Introduction 

Spain is a great destination for year round golf. In the hottest months in the summer, you may consider the North Coast and in the winter Andalucía in the South. The Canary Islands covers all eventualities with good golfing weather throughout the year. Spain has about 300 golf courses with eighteen holes and the majority are on or close to the Mediterranean Coast. In the North and South West you have the Atlantic Coast with some golfing options. Madrid the capital city in the centre is also ideal for a City break.  

We will be exploring opportunities in these areas for golf and other activities including entertainment, beaches, culture and food. Some will want to play the top courses and others look for value or to be away from holiday crowds. We start with the leading courses because it is straightforward. 

 

The South 

 

Andalucía General Summary 

Andalucía is the only European region with both Mediterranean and Atlantic coastlines. Apart from the seaside it is an area of Sun, Mountains, Culture, Fiestas and Gastronomic Delights. It is large being about the same size as Portugal and 17% of the area of Spain with 50% mountainous. Its folklore includes Matadors and bullfighting, white beaches and sun-bleached villages, flamenco dancing and fiestas. It has some beautiful cities, Seville, Cadiz, Cordoba, Granada, Malaga and breathtaking national parks. You can leave a beach and drive perhaps an hour to a skiing resort high in the Sierra Nevada. Inland there are numerous natural lakes with sandy beaches and clear water, where bathing is allowed. Away from the busy coast or city there is an abundance of traditional Spanish villages where you can find the real Spain. 

 

Play the best of Andalucía 

Many of Spain’s top ranked courses are located in Southern Andalucía. You can play a selection of these courses from a single base golf resort, hotel or apartment. The leading courses are Real Valderrama, Real Sotogrande, Finca Cortesin, Real Las Brisas, La Reserve, San Roque Old and New. These courses well placed in the European rankings and they are quite expensive. 

 

Seville and the South West 

 

Seville and South West Andalucía Summary 

The South West is known for its white stone villages and sun bleached beaches and the sound of flamenco, Seville is the capital city of Andalucía, famous as the birthplace of flamenco dancing and for festivals, bullfighting, narrow streets, sun, palm trees and orange trees.  The city is known for its rich history with stunning architecture including the Moorish Alcázar castle complex and the 18th-century Plaza de Toros de la Maestranza bullring. The Gothic Seville Cathedral is the site of the tomb of Christopher Columbus. 

The traditional foods include plenty of tapas tasting, Bull's tail, pork in whiskey, seafood platters, flumequines, spinach and chickpeas, pork cheek, and stewed meats.  

Cadiz is another interesting city in the region and Jerez de la Frontier is known worldwide for its sherry and also produces brandy. 

 

Golfing Options  

The golf is widespread and would be best from two bases. You could start at Montecastillo Resort and play up to 4 courses then drive about an hour to Seville for two final outstanding golf courses. 

 

Montecastillo Resort is at Jerez de la Frontier with four or five star accommodation available. It is a Jack Nicklaus design which is long (7060 yards), challenging but fair and has a range of tees. It demands a lot of precision and is hilly with several water hazards.  

Arcos Golf Course is close to the historic and beautiful cliff-top town of Arcos de la Frontera. The course features large bunkers, wide rolling fairways, large greens, sparkling lakes and meandering streams in unique landscape. 

 

Real Nova Santi Petri is near Chiclana de Frontera on the Costa de la Luz. The design was by Seve Ballesteros. Course A is 7065 yards (6460 meters) and is on exposed land close to the sea. Course B is 6607 yards (6041 meters). It is one of Seve’s preferred layouts with 6 par 3 holes, 6 par 4 holes, and 6 par 5 holes.  

 

Costa Ballena Ocean (Olivas and Palmoras) was designed by Jose Maria Olazabal. The course is long (6900 yards) with slight undulations, some holes are directly on the coast. There are strategically placed bunkers and lakes dotted around the course.   

 

Based in Seville 

Real Seville Golf Club - The Course was designed by Jose Maria Olazabal and is a top ten course in Spain and well placed in the European rankings. It has hosted the World Cup and Spanish Open. It is a testing layout 7140 yards from the back tees. 

 

Real Club de Peneda de Sevilla is a sports club providing golf, equine activities, swimming, tennis and croquet. The golf course fairways are wide and separated by palm and pine trees with abundant vegetation. The greens are quite small but tricky with well-placed water hazards.  

 

Malaga Province and City  

 

Malaga area Summary 

The province is known mainly for its tourist resorts, mainly coastal towns near the beaches along the Costa del Sol (Sun Coast). From this area you can also visit the historic towns of Granada and Cordoba. Also of interest are the inland villages of Arab origin. There are attractions to visit in the countryside which include Caves with prehistoric paintings. 

Malaga is one of the oldest cities in Europe and is the sixth largest in Spain. It was founded by the Phoenicians in the eighth century BC and was occupied at times by the Romans and Arabs. It was one of the cultural and commercial centres of ancient times. The city today has much to offer including several historic monuments. It has also become known as the “City of museums” having about thirty museums. In particular there are several art museums showing world-class art. Also, the Museum of Malaga, the Glass Museum, Wine MuseumVintage Car Museum and the Music Museum which is popular with children. Malaga is a vibrant city with several world-class restaurants and many more offering from tapas to gourmet food experiences. There are markets and stylish shopping, theatres and extensive nightlife. 

 

Golfing Options 

There are numerous golf courses along and close to the coast. 

  

Aloha Golf Club is in ‘Golf Valley’ close to Marbella and is high in the Spanish top 100. It is on hilly terrain with blind shots when approaching some greens. Many of the greens are multi-tiered. The course flows superbly with great variety between holes. 

 

Mijas Los Lagos is a course with wide fairways, few trees and little rough. It is defended throughout with many bunkers and no less than 9 lakes (hence its name) that come into play on eleven of the 18 holes. 

Both courses at this club were designed by Robert Trent Jones whose philosophy is said to be 'difficult Par, easy Bogey'. 

 

Santana Golf is in the “Mijas Golf Valley” between Fuengirola and Mijas. It is picturesque parkland and is not a long course. The land was formerly an avocado pear plantation; some of the trees now line the fairways. It is challenging, varied and fun with some tricky greens and the odd water carry. A big bonus is that there are no surrounding Real Estate developments. 

 

Guadalmina Sur is located at San Pedro between Marbella and Estapona. Designed by Javier Arana it opened in 1959 and is the second oldest golf course on the coast. There are several tricky holes and at one hole you actually tee off alongside the beach, unusual for this area. However, there is also much housing development. 

 

Chaparral Golf Club is situated in “Mijas Golf Valley” close to Fuengirola. Designed by Pepe Gancedo it is the only course on the Costa del Sol that uses a 666 layout. This means that it has six par threes and six par fours and six par fives. The course is challenging and quite hilly with some spectacular views. 

 

Canary Islands Summary 

The Canary Islands, in particular Tenerife and Gran Canaria are the most attractive in Spain for year round golf. This is due to their subtropical climate with comfortably hot summers and moderately warm winters. The area is often referred to as “a land of eternal spring”. The beaches with warm waters are an attraction. The islands are volcanic and there are some natural attractions and World Heritage sites. 

 

Tenerife is the largest of the Canary Islands and the most populated. There are two main cities, the capital Santa Cruz de Tenerife and San Cristóbal de La Laguna (a World Heritage Site). Mount Teide is 3,715 meters (12,188 feet) and is the highest peak in Spain, also a World Heritage Site. Teide is the most visited natural wonder of Spain, the most visited national park in Spain and Europe. It is the third tallest volcano in the world, measured from its base on the ocean floor. 

 

Gran Canaria is the second most populated island. The capital is Las Palmas de Gran Canaria .The biggest tourist attractions are in the centre of the island. Roque Nublo is a volcanic rock considered one of the biggest natural crags in the world at 1,813 meters (5,948 feet). The Pico de las Nieves ("Peak of Snow") 1,949 meters (6,394 feet) is the highest lookout point right in the centre of the island. There are uninterrupted views out over the Unesco Biosphere Reserve. It has deep valleys and jagged ridges covered with vegetation and capped with spectacular rocks. In the south of island are the Maspalomas Dunes, a protected area of desert with an oasis. It is at the southern tip of Gran Canaria, surrounded by the famous Maspalomas resort. 

 

Golf Options 

Both Tenerife and Gran Canaria have quality golf, typically sharing about 10 courses in Spain’s top 100. You can chose either island for a golf vacation or play your pick of both islands as there is a good ferry service. 

In Tenerife the pick of golf courses are: Abama, Golf de Sur, Buenavista, Las Americas, Costa Adege and Real Tenerife. Abama is a leading course but at €200 green fee is far more expensive than the typical winter peak rate elsewhere of €120 or less. Buenavista (€108) designed by Seve Ballesteros is off the beaten track and normally not crowded. It is one of his favoured layouts that I call 666. Six par threes, six par fours and six par fives. He has used this format quite often. Costa Adege designed by Jose “Pepe” Gancedo has also used 666 before and you will find it on this course in Tenerife. 

In Gran Canaria the pick of the golf courses is Arifi Tauro, Real Las Palmas, Lopesan Meloneros and Maspalomas. Arifi Tauro (€120) is number one in the Canaries, top 20 ranking in Spain and in the European top 100. It flows through spectacular volcanic mountains in the south of the island. Real Las Palmas (€120) is off the beaten track with less chance of slow rounds

 

Golf in the North “Off the beaten Track” 

The northern area of Spain is popular in the hottest months of the year. We have identified an area inland from the coast with some nice golf courses with very reasonable green fees. Also, three interesting cities set in beautiful mountainous countryside and one of the best wine areas in Spain.  

 

Logrono is a small city, the Capital of La Rioja Province. It is where the famous Rioja red wine is grown and produced and you can visit some of the numerous wineries.  It is well “off the beaten track” and the real Spain. Most tourists are hiking to Santiago de Compostela. Logrono is known for its food, particularly Pinchos the local tapas. There are festivals, wine tasting fairs and even a wine battle. 

Logrono has three golf courses outside of the city and Uturi is about 14 miles north in Alava Province. 

 

El Campo de Logrono is a great municipal course {7377 yards with the par five fourth 676 yards). 

 

Rioja Alta Golf (7071 yards) is set in magnificent scenery in the Rioja wine producing area. It has four majestic lakes and a large centuries old oak forest. 

 

Club de campo Sojuela (6885 yards) is a Seve Ballesteros course and needs careful strategic thinking. 

 

Campo de Golf de Uturi is in the Basque country north of Logrono and is a fine course designed by Seve Ballesteros (7125 yards from the back tees). 

 

From Logrono you can take a day trip to Burgos the Capital of Burgos Province. Here the Lerma golf course (6975 yards) is unique and challenging and makes the Spanish Top 100 golf courses.  

 

Your second base could be the City of Pamplona, the capital of the Province of Navarre. It is known for the Running of the Bulls (Feast of San Fermín) which is held annually from July 6 to July 14.  Spanish and Basque is spoken by residents. The oldest part of town, La Navarrería, is located where the Roman town of Pompaelo once stood. Thousands of years later it remains the heart and soul of modern day Pamplona. Here you will find pintxos (Basque for "tapas"), the city's marvelous Gothic cathedral and much more. 

 

Suggested golf courses are: 

Club de Golf Ulzama (6845 yards) designed by Javier Arana, Spain’s leading golf architect and is the highest ranked in the Spanish top 100 of the courses that we have selected. 

 

Castillo de Gorraiz (6900 yards) is a stunning 18-hole championship course designed by the famous American architect Cabell B. Robinson. This course features undulating fairways with several doglegs that wind around three strategic lakes. It is adjacent to Castillo de Gorráiz Hotel Golf & Spa, a 4-star boutique hotel. 

 

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