Malaga is the nearest airport to Marbella and it?s a 45 minute drive down the motorway. It?s served by many low cost airlines from across the UK daily but if you want your clubs to fly free try British Airways (www.ba.com).
Where to play
Marbella lies between the sea and foothills of the mountains. This built-up undulating parcel of land has a huge variety of courses. One of the hilliest is Monte Mayor. The course is situated away from the coast in the Serrania de Ronda Mountains and getting to it is an adventure in itself.
Set deep in a valley, with the mountains acting as a natural amphitheatre, you are faced with a truly impressive sight. The fairways are tight and surrounded by intimidating drops that will swallow any wayward shots. Buggies are included in the price of the green fee because the undulating land means walking the course is simply not an option.
Rio Real is one of the finest on the Costa del Sol. Views of the mountains are combined with glimpses of the ocean as you make your way along the wide sloping fairways and through the rows of pine and palm trees. There can be no excuses for a poor round with the putter, as the greens are near perfect.
Santana is slightly further afield, situated in Mijas. One of the flattest courses it is set in a former avocado plantation, the trees have been combined magnificently with well placed bunkers and water hazards.
Further into the mountains is the Seve Ballesteros-designed Alhaurin courses where the views that many of the holes provide are worth the visit alone. Club selection is made difficult due to the changes in height from fairways to greens and keeping the ball in play should be your main priority.
Santa Maria is in the heart of ?The Golf Valley? and plays quite short. Accurate drives can often result in birdie opportunities.
In the heart of Marbella is Los Noranjos. One of the most established and mature in the area the front nine gives a real feeling of an English design, with wide fairways and undulating greens, while you?ll find that the back nine is much flatter, with tree-lined fairways running.
La Quinta is situated near Los Noranjos and makes the most of the mountain and ocean views. There are three sets of nine holes here ?course A proved the most memorable for me.
Where to stay
Marbella is a bustling area where peace and quiet can be hard to find. For those looking to escape this environment the relatively secluded Hotel Guadalmina Spa & Golf Resort is a perfect spot. Situated away from the main roads, the hotel offers beautiful views over the Guadalmina Golf Course and the adjacent beach. It creates a perfect atmosphere for relaxing after a day on the fairway.
Most tourists are looking for sun, sea and sand, plus a few rounds of golf. A popular family destination, the beaches can get very crowded in July and August.
Spain?s most celebrated artist, Pablo Picasso, was born in Malaga and there?s a museum dedicated to his work. Puerto Banus is home to some ostentatious yachts worth millions. In the hills Mijas is a pretty white town full of souvenir shops and restaurants. Rhonda is a beautiful town suitable for a day trip.
MONTE MAYOR G&CC
LA QUINTA G&CC
SANTA MARIA G&CC
ALHAURIN GOLF HOTEL & RESORT
HOTEL GUADALMINA SPA & RESORT