By Catherine McGeer •
Updated: 25 Oct 2023 • 22:52
THE Costa del Sol, often referred to as the ‘Costa del Golf,’ is a golfer's paradise.
Image: Shutterstock/Cristian H. Gomez
THE Costa del Sol, often referred to as the ‘Costa del Golf,’ is a golfer’s paradise that boasts a stunning combination of beautiful weather, breathtaking landscapes, and an abundance of world-class golf courses. Every year, golf enthusiasts from around the globe flock to this sun-kissed region of southern Spain to experience some of the finest golfing facilities in Europe. In 2023, the Costa del Sol continues to uphold its reputation as a top golf destination. In this article we will look at the best golf courses on the Costa del Sol and why the Costa del Sol is so popular with golfers around the world. Keep reading to see our top tips for playing golf on the Costa del Golf.
The Costa del Sol (literally meaning Coast of the Sun) is a region located on the southern coast of Spain, specifically in the province of Málaga, which is part of the autonomous community of Andalucía. It stretches along the coastline of the Mediterranean Sea, including popular towns and cities such as Málaga, Marbella, Estepona, and Fuengirola. The region is known for its beautiful beaches, and pleasant climate, and is a popular destination for tourists, particularly golf enthusiasts.
The Costa del Sol is a popular destination for golfers for a number of reasons, including:
Excellent climate: The Costa del Sol has a Mediterranean climate with warm, sunny weather all year round. This makes it a great place to play golf any time of year.
Stunning scenery: Many of the golf courses on the Costa del Sol offer stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea and the surrounding mountains. This makes for a truly memorable golfing experience.
Abundance of golf courses: The Costa del Sol has over 70 golf courses, ranging from championship courses to more affordable options. There is a course to suit every golfer’s budget and skill level.
Excellent amenities: Many of the golf courses on the Costa del Sol offer excellent amenities, such as driving ranges, putting greens, chipping areas, and pro shops. They also often have clubhouses with restaurants, bars, and terraces where golfers can relax and socialise after their round.
Golf Tourism Infrastructure: The region has invested in golf tourism infrastructure, with top-quality golf resorts, hotels, and golf academies. These facilities cater specifically to golfers, offering everything from golf packages to lessons and practice areas.
Tournament History: Some of the world’s most prestigious golf tournaments, including the Ryder Cup and various European Tour events, have been hosted on Costa del Sol courses. This history adds to the attraction of playing on these courses.
Diversity of Courses: Golfers of all skill levels can find courses suited to their abilities. Whether you’re a beginner, an amateur, or a professional, there are courses designed to provide a challenging and enjoyable experience for everyone.
Competitive Pricing: While golfing in the Costa del Sol can be luxurious, there are also many courses that offer competitive pricing, making it accessible to a wide range of golfers.
Easy access: The Costa del Sol is easy to access from all over Europe. There are several international airports in the area including one of the busiest airports in Spain the Málaga-Costa del Sol Airport, and there are also good road and rail links to other parts of Spain and Europe.
Cultural and Culinary Attractions: Beyond golf, the Costa del Sol offers a rich cultural experience and excellent cuisine. Golfers can enjoy exploring charming towns, and historic sites, and enjoy the delicious local food when not on the course.
When choosing a golf course on the Costa del Sol, it’s important to consider various factors to ensure you have an enjoyable golfing experience. Here are the key factors to keep in mind:
Location: Consider the location of the golf course in relation to your accommodation and other activities you plan to do while on the Costa del Sol. This can significantly affect convenience and travel time.
Course Design and Difficulty: Evaluate the course’s design and difficulty level. Some courses are more suitable for beginners, while others are designed to challenge experienced golfers. Check the course’s layout, length, and overall design to match your skill level and preferences.
Course Conditions: Assess the course’s maintenance and conditions. Well-maintained fairways, greens, and bunkers can significantly enhance your golfing experience. Read reviews or ask for recommendations to gauge the overall quality of the course.
Facilities: Evaluate the facilities offered by the golf course. Look for amenities such as a pro shop, practice areas (driving range, putting greens, chipping areas), club rental services, and locker rooms. Access to quality facilities can make your golfing experience more convenient and enjoyable.
Clubhouse and Dining: A welcoming clubhouse with a restaurant or bar can enhance your post-round experience. Look for courses that offer a comfortable place to relax, socialise, and enjoy a meal or a drink after your game.
Tee Time Availability: Check the availability of tee times and booking procedures. Some courses may require advance reservations, especially during peak tourist seasons. Plan your golf rounds accordingly to secure the times you prefer.
Green Fees: Consider the cost of green fees. Golf courses on the Costa del Sol vary in terms of pricing, so make sure the course you choose fits your budget. You can often find special packages or discounts for multiple rounds.
Accessibility: Ensure that the course is easy to reach. Consider the proximity to major transportation hubs, such as airports, and whether the course offers shuttle services or transportation options.
Reputation and Reviews: Research the reputation of the golf course by reading reviews and seeking recommendations from other golfers. Online forums and golfing communities can provide valuable insights into the quality and experience offered by a particular course.
Golf Events and Tournaments: If you’re interested in watching or participating in golf events, check the course’s event calendar to see if any tournaments or special events are taking place during your visit.
Local Attractions: Consider the proximity of the golf course to other attractions, such as beaches, cultural sites, and dining options. The Costa del Sol offers more than just golf, so take advantage of the region’s diverse offerings.
Inclusivity: Check if the golf course is inclusive and accommodating to golfers with varying abilities and needs. Accessibility and services for disabled golfers may be important to some.
Real Club Valderrama
Location: Avda. Los Cortijos s/n 11310 Sotogrande, San Roque, Cádiz
Course Designer: The course was designed in 1974 by Robert Trent Jones, Sr, one of the great golf course architects, and was originally known as Las Aves (Sotogrande New). In 1984, Mr. Jaime Ortiz-Patiño acquired the golf course and committed to bringing the course to an extraordinary level, never seen before in Europe. Robert Trent Jones willingly agreed to come back and redesign his original layout ten years earlier.
Course Description: Valderrama Golf Club, often hailed as the ‘Augusta of Europe,’ is a Par 71 Championship Course located in the heart of the Costa del Sol. Measuring 6418 meters from the professional tees, this course is renowned for its impeccable fairways, consistently lauded by top professionals and leading golf writers. It’s a course designed to challenge golfers, demanding strategic thinking and precision on every shot.
What Makes this Course stand out: Since 1989, Valderrama has consistently held the coveted No. 1 ranking among golf courses in mainland Europe, a testament to its unwavering commitment to excellence. The course’s reputation extends beyond its design and playing conditions; it has hosted numerous professional tournaments and is a familiar sight on television. This legendary course has hosted numerous prestigious tournaments, including the Ryder Cup.
Who is this Course Best Suited to: For those seeking a golfing experience of the highest calibre on the Costa del Sol, Valderrama Golf Club remains an iconic destination, where the challenge is met with precision, and every round is a masterpiece of design, it offers a challenging and memorable experience for golfers of all levels.
Finca Cortesin Golf Club
Location: Urbanización Montes de Casares s/n, 29690, Casares
Course Designer: Finca Cortesin’s remarkable golf course is the result of Cabell B. Robinson’s visionary course design and Gerald Huggan’s expert landscaping. Together, they’ve artfully harnessed the natural essence of the area, creating an enchanting blend of 20 diverse flora varieties, the quintessential Mediterranean forest, and the flawlessly manicured Bermuda grass that blankets the course. Robinson’s design expertise ensures that the course harmoniously integrates with the surrounding environment, providing golfers with an extraordinary and visually captivating golfing experience.
What Makes this Course Stand Out: Finca Cortesin stands as a globally acclaimed destination, offering one of Europe’s most unforgettable golfing experiences. Highly regarded by Golf Digest magazine as one of Spain’s premier golf courses, its 18-hole championship course masterfully integrates with the natural Mediterranean landscape. Beyond golf, this prestigious resort, home to one of the world’s top 50 hotels, places exceptional customer service at its core. The attention to detail extends to every aspect, from the moment of arrival when a security guard guides guests to dedicated parking areas and a player service assistant ensures golfers’ equipment is ready for their game. Hosting prestigious events like the Volvo World Match Play Championship and the Solheim Cup in 2023, Finca Cortesin has garnered acclaim for its commitment to delivering excellence. Their extensive practice facilities and eco-friendly Bermuda grass on all putting surfaces further elevate the golfing experience.
Who is this Course Suited to: A round of golf at Finca Cortesin promises a test of your golfing abilities. The meticulous care and attention to detail are evident in the impeccable condition of the fairways and greens, setting the stage for a challenging yet rewarding experience. The course, thoughtfully designed by Robinson, unfolds in sections, beginning with an engaging opening six that offers a mix of scoring opportunities and playful holes. As you progress, the middle section poses a more demanding challenge, pushing even the most skilled players. The course, known for its deep swales around many greens, demands precision in chip shots.
Location: Ctra. de la Cala a Entrerríos, s/n, 29649 Mijas, Málaga
Course Designer: The masterful design of Santana Golf can be attributed to the skilled course architect Cabell B. Robinson. Entrusted with this task, Robinson demonstrated his expertise by sculpting the course’s layout meticulously within the 55 hectares of land, requiring minimal earth movement. His remarkable work imbued the golf course with a timeless charm, as though it had graced the landscape for years. Santana Golf, situated on a piece of land that was once home to one of Europe’s largest avocado plantations, known as Avocado Exports, took shape between 2002 and 2003. The property was transformed from avocado groves to a world-class golfing destination when a pair of Irish entrepreneurs recognised its immense potential and acquired the land in 2001.
What Makes This Course Stand Out: What truly sets Santana Golf apart is its remarkable blend of beautiful scenery and diverse hole designs. From the picturesque tee views that offer a visual feast to the challenging ‘Campillos’ stream, which poses a test of skill as golfers approach the greens, every hole at Santana Golf boasts distinctive characteristics. The 8th hole, stretching an impressive 602 meters (658 yards), holds the distinction of being the Costa del Sol’s longest hole, offering a thrilling challenge for the big hitters. The 12th Par 3 is another gem, playing downhill to a generously undulating green, where securing a three feels like a major triumph. Santana Golf’s attraction is further enhanced by the area’s splendid climate and the expertise of the dedicated staff. This golf course transcends expectations, creating an ‘area of outstanding beauty where golf and nature are one.’ Beyond its golfing merits, Santana Golf is renowned for its family-friendly ambiance, offering a special deal for families with children under 14, and warmly welcoming groups, fostering a sense of community and camaraderie.
Who is this Course Suited to: Santana Golf, with its well-balanced blend of challenge and scenic beauty, caters to a wide range of golf enthusiasts. This 18-hole par 72 course, spanning approximately 6207 metres, spreads across 138 acres of pristine parkland. The course is characterised by wide, meticulously defined fairways, making it easily walkable. With water features enhancing the design without overwhelming it, Santana Golf offers a playable and enjoyable experience. Each hole provides two championship tees and two general play tees for both men and women, fostering inclusivity. The greens are well-manicured, surrounded by strategically placed bunkers filled with sand produced from crushed marble. Technical in nature, Santana Golf challenges even the most experienced players with its unique hole designs, requiring precise shot selection and good course management. While it’s difficult to single out a ‘signature hole’ given their individuality, the long Par-4 18th stands out as a demanding finale, with a narrow approach to the green and a lake along the right, providing an exhilarating conclusion to the round. Santana Golf is a course that beckons to golfers of varying skill levels, promising an unforgettable and rewarding experience.
Plan Your Trip
Research the golf courses: The Costa del Sol is home to many excellent golf courses, so research and plan your tee times in advance to ensure you get to play at your preferred courses.
Choose the right season: The best time to visit for golfing is typically from spring through autumn when the weather is pleasant. Summer can be hot, so be prepared for higher temperatures. If you can only travel during the hot summer months book your tee time early in the morning.
Golf attire: Ensure you pack suitable golf attire, including golf shirts, golf shorts or slacks, and comfortable golf shoes. Check specific dress code requirements for the courses you plan to visit.
Sun protection: Given the sunny climate, pack sunscreen, sunglasses, a wide-brimmed hat, and a reusable water bottle to stay hydrated on the course.
If you prefer to travel light, consider renting golf clubs and other equipment when you arrive. Many courses offer rental sets of clubs and even golf carts.
Consider renting a car: While public transportation is available, having your own vehicle can provide flexibility in getting to and from golf courses. Make sure to research parking options at each course.
Tee Times and Reservations
Book tee times in advance: Make reservations well ahead of your trip, especially if you plan to play at popular courses, as they can fill up quickly.
Verify course requirements: Some courses have specific handicap requirements or dress codes, so double-check these details when booking.
Golf Course Variety
Explore different courses: The Costa del Sol offers a wide range of courses, from coastal to mountain layouts. Don’t limit yourself to just one type of course; mix it up to experience the variety of the region.
Follow golf etiquette: Be courteous and respectful on the course, repair divots, fix ball marks, and keep up with the pace of play, slow play is frowned upon. Keep pace with the group in front to avoid warnings from the marshal.
Don’t forget the courses are measured in metres and bring your handicap certificate, you may be asked for proof.
Enjoy Local Cuisine
Enjoy Spanish food: Take time to enjoy the local cuisine, including tapas, paella, and fresh seafood. Many golf clubs also have excellent on-site restaurants.
Learn Basic Spanish Phrases
While many people in the Costa del Sol speak English, it’s always a good idea to learn some basic Spanish phrases to enhance your experience.
For More Costa del Sol News click here
For more of our top tips and guides for Living in Spain click here
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I am an Irish writer who has been living in Spain for the past twenty years. My writing centers around the Costa Cálida. As a mother I also write about family life on the coast of Spain and every now and then I try to break down the world of Spanish politics!
What a read for golfing ⛳️ enthusiasts 👏 👏 👏
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