Golf, sun and sand in Andalusia
There are many reasons for visiting the coast of Andalusia, many: its weather, its accessibility, its beaches, its food, the nature of its people … and its golf. The Andalusian coast has become a unique location for this sport. Visitors come for all of these reasons, and above all for one: the weather. The year-round warm temperatures enjoyed by southern Spain make this the destination of choice for a growing number of visitors interested in this sport. And they do not come in vain, for today golf is one of the most popular sports in Malaga and Cadiz, which offer the greatest number of golf courses per square metre in Europe.
An almost complete lack of rain and heavy winds, together with normally temperate daytime weather, invite golfers to visit the coast to improve their handicap.
Andalusian winters are a blend of lovely days filled with radiant sunshine, and a few partly cloudy ones. These do not, however, prevent visitors from enjoying a game of golf.
By May, summer has practically arrived in the south of the peninsula. This period is attractive for another reason: the start of golf lessons for beginners and advanced players.
This weather also determines the nature of the courses. No two courses are the same, and their holes are usually extremely varied and surrounded by diverse vegetation: olive, cork oak, and palm trees, amongst others. The combination of sea and mountains, another regular feature of the Andalusian coast, is an added attraction.
These are Andalusia’s natural attractions for golfers. However, we should not leave out other factors which facilitate golfing, such as the development of a whole complementary, parallel industry which makes this sports tourism possible. The towns where this sport has taken root have made an effort to meet any need a golfer may have by opening sporting goods shops, training and physical fitness centres, shopping and leisure complexes, water and amusement parks, and hotel and residential facilities, generally with agreements with nearby golf courses. In short, they have added everything necessary to make the visits of players from all over the world more enjoyable.
Likewise, despite the fact that this type of tourism is normally exclusive, as visitors dedicate their entire stay to the sport, there is always time left over to enjoy the area surrounding the courses, visiting local towns, beaches or delighting in the Mediterranean cuisine. A good example of this may be found in Marbella, which for some years has served as an international point of references for golf enthusiasts. A recent study has estimated that around 80% of golfing tourists have visited this coast at least once.
The sea as a backdrop
The golf courses of Andalusia begin in Almería. This province, in the southeast corner of the region, is still rather unknown by foreign tourists. Here we can still find small fishing villages which have preserved their maritime essence, towns like San José, Mojácar and Agua Amarga, as well as some of the best and most natural beaches in Andalusia, such as Mónsul Beach and Muertos Beach. Despite still being little known, Almeria has taken to this sport. It offers seaside courses (all 18-hole), such as Club de Golf Playa Serena in Roquetas de Mar; Cortijo Grande Club de Golf in Turre; Country Club La Envia Golf, in Vicar; Golf Almerimar, in El Ejido; Golf Club Desert Spring in Cuevas de Almanzora; Marina Golf in Mojácar and Valle del Este Golf Club in Vera.
Mojácar is one of the prettiest towns on the Andalusian coast. Perched high above the sea, the town’s narrow streets and whitewashed houses are a reminder of its Moorish origins. For its part, the modern facilities at the Valle del Este Golf Club in Vera are especially remarkable as they manage to balance the rustic and the sophisticated. The club’s friendly staff and its proximity to the shore, which tempers the already balmy weather, are also noteworthy.
The Costa del Golf
Málaga is the alma mater of golf in Andalusia, in Spain, and we might almost say, in Europe.
Spain has an extensive network of first-rate golf courses. It is one of the best places for playing golf, thanks to its year-round good climate and to the quality of its facilities, suitable for all handicaps.
On the Malaga coast, small villages boast up to three or four golf courses. In total, there are more than 35 courses in the province. The coastal region of Malaga stretches from Nerja to Manilva, from the Guadalhorce to the neighbouring province of Cadiz. Its common feature is the protection offered by the precipitous coastal mountains, the Mijas Mountains and the Blanca Mountains, and their foothills.
In Alhaurín El Grande we find Alhaurín Golf Resort, with an 18 + 27 par 3 course; in Rincón de la Victoria, Añoreta Golf; in Estepona, Atalaya Golf & Country Club Internacional, Paraíso Golf Club, Estepona Golf, Club de Golf El Coto and Los Almendros Golf Club. Each of these offer different courses, enhancing the available selection and increasing the possibilities of satisfying the most varied demand. For its part, Benalmádena Costa offers Torrequebrada Golf.
As for Mijas, this is one of the towns which has best combined cultural tourism with sporting activities. Its picturesque appearance invites visitors to enjoy a round of golf but also to steal a few moments to stroll along its streets and delight in its curious traditions. While the town stands on the mountain, on the coast we find Club de Golf La Siesta, ideal for the average golfer; Cala Resort North Course and Cala Resort South Course, with 18 holes each; Mijas Golf Club Los Lagos; Mijas Golf Club Los Olivos and Miraflores Golf Club.
Guadalmina Club de Golf North/South, in another lovely town, San Pedro de Alcántara, is famous for its toughness and difficulty, but is ideal for experienced players. Its fairways are wide and water-free, although Guadalmina North incorporates some water traps.
But the jewel in the crown is without a doubt Marbella. This town has comfortably borne witness to the growth of golf tourism and has been able to take advantage of the perfect conditions offered by its unbeatable location and weather, putting them at the service of top quality exclusive golf – or family – tourism.
Golf along the Cadiz coast
As for Cádiz, any self-respecting golfer should know of this area thanks to the Ryder Cup held here in Sotogrande in 1997. It has similar geographic and climactic conditions to its neighbour Malaga, and has some of the best courses in Spain. Its additional offerings are also unquestionably attractive. There are around 17 courses in the entire province.
Alcaidesa Links Golf Course, in La Línea de la Concepción, is especially noteworthy. It is one of the most original courses, owing to its Scottish design, and is considered a true links course. In Benalup-Casas Viejas we find Benalup Hotel Golf & Country Club; in Guadiaro, Club de Golf La Cañada. In Chiclana de la Frontera we have Club de Golf Campano and Club de Golf Novo Sancti Petri, which stands out from the previously mentioned courses due to its 36 holes. In San Roque, there are Almenara Hotel Golf, Club de Golf Valderrama, Real Club de Golf Sotogrande and San Roque Club.
Continuing our review, we move on to Rota, where we can visit Costa Ballena Club de Golf, which is expanding its facilities, and Rota Golf Club. In Vejer de la Frontera, a lovely mountain village with high, steep streets, we have Dehesa Montenmedio Golf & Country Club. Montecastillo Hotel & Golf Resort in Jerez and Vista Hermosa Club de Golf in El Puerto de Santa María complete these offerings.
Kaikki oikeudet pidätetään. Turespaña / Segittur © 2013
Portaalin hoitaja: Sociedad Estatal para la Gestión de la Innovación y las Tecnologías Turísticas, S.A. (SEGITTUR)