New Golf Courses on Costa del Sol
The Costa del Sol has significantly extended its golf facilities with the opening of five new courses since spring 2001 as a result of continuing demand from northern European golfers.
April 2001 saw the official inauguration of the Greenlife Golf Academy in the Elviria Hills behind Marbella. Situated near the Four Seasons and Marriott Beach Resort complexes and the Don Carlos Hotel, Greenlife Golf provides state-of-the-art teaching facilities supervised by golf director Shaun Ashley. The shaded two-storey driving range and adjacent areas for putting, approach and bunker play are complemented by a nine-hole academy course pronounced ‘fantastic’ by ex-Ryder Cup captain Bernard Gallacher on the day of its opening.
The same month also saw the inauguration of Cabopino Golf near Calahonda. This Pay & Play facility is proving very popular with local golfers, who appreciate the short, but testing, 18-hole challenge laid out by Spanish architect Juan Ligues.
Another of the new courses in Marbella, Santa Clara, is opposite Los Monteros Hotel. Another much needed Pay & Play facility, Sta.Clara is the work of Enrique Canales, who has designed a commercially orientated course with wide fairways and little rough where water and sand provide obvious hazards that demand accuracy if par is to be achieved. Sta. Clara's advantageous position next to the main coast road, together with high levels of service and conditioning, should ensure the new club will become as popular as Mijas, La Cala Resort or Torrequebrada within a couple of seasons.
June 2001 saw the inauguration of the second nine holes at La Cañada, the municipal course near Valderrama. However, not many municipal courses can boast the two loops designed by Trent Jones Sr. and Dave Thomas! Dave Thomas also saw the opening of his third nine holes at Almenara at the other side of the Sotogrande estate in July.
Los Flamingos Golf Club was the second course to open to the public in July and has pitched its green fee price at the exclusive end of the range. Situated between El Paraíso, Monte Mayor and the Marbella Club Resort, Los Flamingos takes its name from the Los Flamencos lake around which Chamberlain & Turner have laid out their 18-hole design. A second Four Seasons Resort is planned to provide accommodation for visiting golfers.
The Costa del Golf has also grown to the east of the provincial capital of Málaga with the opening of Baviera Golf in Velez Málaga. The course, which enjoys magnificent panoramic sea and mountain views, has been able to count on the technical assistance of José María Cañizares.
All these projects have brought an investment of over €30million to the coast and that is without the projects that are currently in development. Antequera Golf opened inland from Málaga in 2002 but the third nine at Lauro Golf should open before that. Built from the original design by Falco Nordi, now deceased, Lauro Golf is at an advanced stage of development and will add significantly to the attractions of one of the coast's friendliest clubs.
Still on the drawing board are plans to add to the existing resorts of La Cala and Los Arqueros. Cabell Robinson will design his third course at the prestigious La Cala development in the Mijas hills while Taylor Woodrow, owners of Los Arqueros, have reached an agreement for Seve Ballesteros to put his name to a nine hole extension to his original design at Los Arqueros. Enrique Canales has wasted no time after overseeing the completion of Sta. Clara and has submitted plans for a 36-hole complex on flat land at Los Llanos, near Alhaurín.
There are very few places in the world that can match the Costa del Sol as a destination for golf tourism and, obviously, investors are planning for that situation to continue indefinitely.