Rod Ritchie, a travel writer and editor, lists the 5 “must play” golf courses on the Costa Del Sol
Rightly referred to as the ‘Golf Coast’, Costa del Sol has around 60 courses to choose from, and choosing the top five is always difficult. There is plenty of choice in course styles and price ranges, and any number of accommodation options. The bonus is over 100 km of sparkling coastline, with any number of beaches to choose from, as well as attractions such as Moorish castles, and charming cities like Marbella and Puerto Banus, which offer a varied and vibrant nightlife that includes many excellent restaurants and bars.
With views towards Gibraltar and the Atlas Mountains, Costa del Sol’s westernmost course is an 18-hole, Par 71 course, with well-kept greens that were designed by Peter Alliss and Clive Clark. Running along the coastline, links style, with four beachside holes, Alcaidesa requires straight hitting and a good ability in the windy conditions that often prevail here. At the pro shop you can book a lesson, hire clubs and buggies, and the course has putting and chipping greens, and a driving range.
Another Seve Ballesteros masterpiece, the 18 hole, Par 72 Alhaurin is located in the Mijas Mountains. Accuracy is important on the lush fairways and manicured greens, with long and narrow fairways, while wayward shots are rewarded with hard to find balls in the natural rough areas. Also, there are many bunkers and water hazards to avoid! Mountain and sea views are everywhere and a good level of fitness, or a reliable buggy, is required to cover this course.
The good news is that the tees offer up to 6 tee-off positions. Facilities at the clubhouse include a restaurant and bar, a golf school, clubs, trolleys, and buggy hire and a driving range, as well as practice bunkers and greens.
Founded in 1968, and the headquarters of the PGA of Europe, Atalaya consists of two well-kept, 18 hole, Par 72 courses, and a very popular golf and country club with excellent facilities. Located between Marbella and Estepona, the course has one of Spain’s largest driving ranges, and offers lessons in several languages.
The Old Course, surrounded by tall pines and lush vegetation, is flat with wide with elevated greens, while the New Course is more undulating, sometimes tree-lined, and has panoramic mountain and sea views. You can book lessons at the pro shop, and practice on the four putting greens, a short game area, and the driving range.
Just near Caleta de Velez Malaga, the Par 71 Baviera sits at the foothills of the Sierra de la Almijara. The course has wide greens featuring many obstacles that require a range of clubs and stroke play. Suiting all handicaps, the course has some water hazards to negotiate, but its large greens and wide fairways allow for a low score if you are careful with your shots.
The main distractions are the superb mountain and sea views. You can hire electric and manual trolleys, buggies and clubs from the pro shop, and practice your shots on the putting and chipping greens, as well as the driving range.
With panoramic views of the Mediterranean, including Gibraltar, Flamingos is a 5,883-metre, Par 72 course with many cypresses, oranges, jacarandas, pines, olives, and chestnuts, and distinctive crushed marble bunkers. The course is inspired by Tuscan garden design, and as you play you come across classical style statues and marble bridges. Each of the holes presents a challenge, and the front nine are the most difficult.
The course has a 100-tee driving range and all the usual golf equipment hire. There are beautiful lake and sea views from the course as well as from the clubhouse, which has a terrace bar and coffee shop, and the famed La Cantina, where you can enjoy fine dining.
The Costa del Sol is one of the world’s premier golfing regions and selecting the best five from so many courses is not easy. However, we believe that our selection will offer a memorable day’s golf to anyone.