We start our tour of the Costa del Sol near Malaga Airport, the hub serving this area. You can reach Malaga Airport from every major airport in the UK. The airport has recently been upgraded to a very high standard and is now one of Europe’s best and most modern airports.
When you fly into the airport you see several golf courses as green mirages among the brown mountains and bright blue sea. The first course you’ll see is Guadalhorce, a traditional members club with a warm welcome and two distinctly different nines. You’ll also get a great view of Lauro Golf with 27 holes in a stunning location beneath the Malaga Mountains surrounded by some excellent self-catering properties for those wishing to stay in a quiet environment.
Moving along the coast from the airport we come to the resorts of Torremolinos and Benalmadena. We have several accommodation choices here. In Torremolinos, Sol Melia Hotels have a great choice of accommodations from 3* B&B hotels to 4* all-inclusive properties along the coast. On the Torremolinos / Benalmadena border, they have recently refurbished the outstanding Sol House Costa del Sol – now established as one of the best golfers’ hotels in the area with ultra-modern suites and facilities within a 10-minute stroll along the beach promenade to the lively and popular Benalmadena Marina.
In Benalmadena, Golf Torrequebrada sits proudly overlooking the resort as a Spanish Open course. This is one of the coast’s oldest and best courses and a good choice for an arrival or departure day round. Just down the round from Torrequebrada, golfers enjoy the imposing and mainly all-inclusive Holiday World complex, which has hosted successful Golf Escapes Pro-Am events.
A little further down the coast from Benalmadena, we come to Fuengirola. This is another lively traditional tourist hotspot with a long beach and countless tall hotels and apartment blocks lining the seafront. There are all types of accommodations to choose from here including the great value Hotel PYR right in the heart of the action.
In the hills behind Fuengirola, the established courses of Mijas Los Lagos and Mijas Los Olivos offer enjoyable experiences to players of all abilities. Wide fairways here lull golfers into a false sense of security – beware of the sand and water. Just next to Fuengirola is the ever-popular and testing Chaparral Golf, a fine test of golf with an equally good clubhouse and welcome.
Just 10 km down the coast road to the west of Fuengirola is La Cala Village, one of this author’s favourite Costa del Sol beach towns with an enchanting mix of Spanish architecture and some great restaurants and bars.
La Cala Golf Resort
The famous La Cala Resort overlooks the coast and enjoys fantastic rural and mountain views with 3 great courses on-site and a 4-star hotel offering golfers every comfort.
Between La Cala and Marbella, there are several fine golf courses. A great value choice for your stay in this part of the coast would be MacDonald Dona Lola Resort. This property is on the seafront surrounded by the bars and restaurants of Calahonda and offers apartments of varying sizes with easy access to the pool bar a few steps from the beach. The nearby Cabopino is a short but tricky course and very popular. Santa Maria is similar and with a few spectacular holes in the foothills of the mountains. Marbella Golf & Country Club is longer and hillier but equally enjoyable, especially now the old building next to the clubhouse has been taken down. Its next-door neighbour Santa Clara has a very tight front nine with narrow fairways and small greens; the back nine is friendlier. All these courses usually offer free buggies to help with the undulating terrain.
We are now close to Marbella and just a few minutes east of the town, we offer great packages at the luxury beachfront 5* Hotel Los Monteros with golf at both Marbella Golf & Country Club and Santa Clara – both 5 minutes from the hotel on their regular free shuttle service.
Even closer to Marbella, we will come across the Rio Real complex with a fine palm-tree-lined golf course with a couple of holes down by the beach, and the 5* boutique Rio Real Hotel. There are only 30 rooms here but with its location on top of one of the area’s finest courses just 3km from Marbella, this is a great spot for a relaxing golf holiday on the Costa del Sol but with restaurants and shops on the doorstep.
Marbella has always been a glamorous spot for the rich and famous since Sean Connery and the like discovered the town when the Costa del Sol became fashionable as air travel became easy in the 1970s. La Plaza de Los Naranjos or “Orange Square” is a beautiful place to visit when in town and can be found just a few minutes inland from the town’s fabulous sandy beach.
There are some magnificent championship courses in and around Marbella but you don’t have to break the bank to play a fine track. Los Arqueros, Los Naranjos, El Paraiso and La Quinta are all relatively inexpensive and really enjoyable courses to play. The Westin La Quinta is a luxurious 5-star property with the 27-hole La Quinta on-site. From here, you are also a short hop into Puerto Banus, where people, car and boat spotting are popular pastimes. Do be aware that you will pay two or even three times more for a drink or meal overlooking Puerto Banus harbour than anywhere else on the Costa del Sol coastline. Popular accommodations here include PYR Marbella and H10 Andalucia Plaza with a casino adjacent.
Moving westwards again towards Estepona, there are many more fine golf resorts. Hotel Guadalmina enjoys a fantastic location on the beach just a few minutes drive into Puerto Banus, and has the two fine courses of Guadalmina North and South right by (the clubhouse is a short drive away).
The Sol Marbella Estepona Atalaya Park is another hotel enjoying a beachfront location with great value packages at the two Atalaya courses, again a short drive away by free shuttle.
Arguably the most luxurious resort in this area (and with the longest name) is Anantara Villa Padierna Palace Benahavis Marbella Resort. This amazing property has hosted royalty and the rich and famous over the years. On-site there are 54 holes of excellent golf, the hugely popular Flamingos, the tight and tough Alferini and the short and friendlier Tramores.
All these courses are within reach of Estepona, one of our favourite towns on the coast. Here we have two hotels. The 5-star Elba Estepona has hosted some very popular Golf Escapes pro-ams and offers a luxury all-inclusive option to guests. The H10 Estepona Palace is within walking distance of the fabulous Estepona Marina where you’ll find restaurants offering many different cuisines from all corners of the globe. 2 hotels. Estepona town itself is gorgeous with a long beach and an old town where you can easily lose yourself in the pretty pedestrian streets.
The most famous course in the area is Finca Cortesin, host of the Volvo World Matchplay Championship on three occasions. This is a great test of golf and always in fine condition. Other enjoyable courses in the area are Estepona Golf, a short but challenging track, and Valle Romano, a modern design with the Ona Valle Romano hotel on site.
The most westerly region of the Costa del Sol is the Sotogrande area. Here we’ll find a collection of some of the finest golf courses in Europe in a very small radius. The first and most inexpensive is La Canada. This most enjoyable course was originally built to enable workers and caddies to learn the game and the course has produced many professionals. Almenara is a fine 27-hole course and we eagerly anticipate the reopening of the upgraded and renovated luxury hotel on site.
La Reserva and Real Sotogrande are two wonderful courses that although in the upper price bracket will provide players with great memories. San Roque Old and New are also great tracks that players of all standards enjoy, and there are some excellent packages on offer to play both courses. The last course in the area is Valderrama, truly one of Europe’s finest and host of the 1997 Ryder Cup.
Real Club Valderrama
The most westerly golf complex of the Costa del Sol is the 36-hole Alcaidesa Golf Resort with two enjoyable courses in the Links (now closed for upgrade) and Heathland. Both have great views of the Rock of Gibraltar. Many golfers use Gibraltar Airport as a gateway to this side of the Costa del Sol.
We hope you enjoyed our brief overview of the Costa del Golf, but there really is nothing to beat the experience of coming here! We will be delighted to help you plan your next Golf Escape to this area where golf in Spain truly begun.