In the mid-eighties, children still played football in the Malaga city of Marbella. By the nineties this was no longer true: golf has landed in this city. Marbella (“Beautiful Sea”), given this name centuries ago because of the beauty of its seaside views, became involved early on with a sport for which its characteristics were ideally suited: a gentle terrain, warm climate and almost complete lack of precipitation all year round, extensive natural spaces open to both mountains and sea, residents eager to boost tourism in their region, and the presence of other complementary sporting activities with great appeal. By the end of the 1980s golfers had begun to consider Malaga as a travel option; by the nineties it had become their first choice. Fifteen years later, at least one new golf course is built each year and Marbella boasts the title of “golf capital”.
One of the advantages of Marbella is that it offers the tourist what we might call “integrated” offerings. The city has adapted its best and most modern areas to travellers in general, and to exclusive golf tourism in particular. Although the original Andalusian village has survived, and is still characterised by small, narrow streets, far from the hustle and bustle of the main area, the new section has sprung up according to the needs of visitors. Hotel and other accommodation facilities placed next to golf courses facilitate tourists’ stays, together with leisure and shopping complexes, restaurants, gyms, water sports activities, bars and pubs. It is in this part of Marbella that we find the famous Puerto Banús, a recreational port filled with shops, restaurants, discos and spaces to enjoy leisure time.
In Marbella we also find Aloha Club de Golf, a natural course with a variety of vegetation in which no hole is like another. It is not too short, and not too long, and the course is well maintained. Los Arqueros Golf & Country also offers a challenging round which can be enjoyed by players of all kinds, from the highest to the lowest handicap. Varied holes and unbeatable sea and mountain views make a visit to Las Arqueros the beginning of a habit. Artola Golf offers a nine-hole course; Cabopino Golf Resort, 18 holes. Another original course is Golf La Dama de Noche, unique in Europe as it is lit by 36 twelve-metre posts, with an average of 130,000 watts. Quinta Golf & Country Club has a noteworthy 27-hole course boasting exceptional views of the mountains and sea. It is located in the heart of the Marbella valley. Los Los Naranjos Golf Club is considered a golf lover’s paradise, as the difference between the first nine holes and the last nine make it seem like two different courses. Club de Golf de Marbella Resort offers a complex 18-hole course designed by Robert Trent Jones. It is located along the Cadiz Road and is a competition course, characterised by small greens and a natural course with a variety of vegetation. And lastly, we should mention Real Club de Golf Las Brisas, Santa Clara Golf, Green Life Golf Club, Club de Golf Río Real, Flamingos Golf Club, and Santa María Golf Club, all exceptionally green courses, contrasting with the blue waters which surround them and the warm sun that accompanies golfers as they play their rounds.