The Costa Del Sol was one of the first European areas to recognise the importance of golf tourism and quite rightly it markets itself as the Costa Del Golf. For years it has been the top spot for UK golfers to take a golfing holiday and it provided the model for many other regions of Spain and indeed other countries to copy and develop their own golf tourism industry. There are many reasons why it became so popular. Obviously, the climate and the availability of flights helped to grow the Industry and as more golfers came then the number of golf courses grew and as there was more choice of places to play golfers kept coming back.
As the fore runner for being a golfing destination The Costa Del Sol was understandably looking a bit tired a few years ago and indeed a level of complacency may have set in with the golf course operators in thinking that golfers would always come no matter what. The recession saw a lack of investment in the golf courses and some like the much missed Montemayor even closed down and the main resorts were getting a bad reputation for being the playground for drunken and loutish behaviour and virtually everywhere you went you were faced with unfinished building works as the developers ran out of money.
Why Play In The Costa Del Sol On Your Next Golfing Break?
Thankfully things are now very different. The various Municipalities have spent money on cleaning up the main tourist areas so that now they offer a safe environment. A typical example would be Fuengirola where the sea front area has been cleaned up and there is now a great spot called (unfortunately) Colon Square which is as good as an environment for a night out as you will find anywhere. There are restaurants and smart bars that are packed at the weekends and offer food and drink to suit all tastes and pockets in a clean and safe environment.
The golf courses have very wisely realised that they need to get the courses back to top condition and having done that they then kept the prices at a realistic level unlike other golfing destinations. With over 50 golf courses to choose from there is something for everyone whether they are looking for budget golf or the very best golf courses and such is the level of competition amongst them that they all have to keep their course in the best condition possible and the green fees as low as economically possible.
Off the golf course some of the hotels may look old fashioned from the outside but internally many have been smartened up considerably and even the three-star hotels now present excellent value for money. There are numerous four-star properties that again due to the competition have to keep their prices at a reasonable level and some of the five-star Resorts compare favourably with anywhere else in Europe.
A sure sign that things have improved on the Costa Del Sol is that the big cranes are back and developments that have been left unfinished for years are now being completed. So if you haven’t been to the Costa Del Sol for a few years now is definitely the time to re-visit it and see why it is still Europe’s number one golfing destination.
What Is The Best Way To Travel To The Costa Del Sol?
One of the reasons that the area is so popular is that you can reach it by plane from virtually everywhere in the UK and Ireland. Due to the frequency of flights from different airlines they are generally competitively priced and as its only 3 hours from most UK airports you can be playing golf the same day that you travel. You can fly into Malaga for most of the Resorts on the coast but you can also fly into Gibraltar if you are staying at that end of the coast. Once you have arrived there you have a choice of how you can get around. Many of the golf courses are situated near the most popular towns so travelling by taxi from your Hotel to the golf courses is a reasonable option. Should you want to travel further afield then car hire is probably the way to go. There are so many firms based around Malaga Airport that competition is intense so that the prices are very competitive. A note of caution however is to read the small print when hiring. There are some very very cheap deals that appear on the internet but these don’t always include everything you need like the correct insurance and by the time you have paid for these “extras“ the airport your cheap car hire turns out to be more expensive then you thought. It is far better to look for a Company that does an all inclusive deal (such as Helle Hollis) so that you know in advance exactly what you are paying. One other point to note is that if you arrive in Gibraltar and want a car make sure that you use a company that has its depot on the Spanish side of the border and walk from the airport to their depot otherwise you can be delayed quite some time by the border guards if you try to drive across the border. If there are eight or more of you travelling, then the best option is to have your own private transfers to get you from the airport to your accommodation and from the accommodation to the golf courses.
Where is the best place to stay in the Costa Del Sol?
Whatever your budget there will be somewhere suitable for you to stay on your golfing break. The area stretches from Nerja in the East to Gibraltar in the West and covers familiar tourist destinations like Torremolinos and Marbella and also quieter areas away from the coast. Whether you are looking for apartment accommodation or a top quality five-star property you will be spoilt for choice and be amazed at the value for money available.
What Are The Best Golf Courses In The Costa Del Sol?
There are over 70 golf courses to choose from in the Costa Del Sol ranging in price from around £35 a round to around £270 and varying in style from top quality Championship courses to courses offering enjoyable holiday golf. There are three main tourist areas with a concentration of golf courses around them Fuengirola/Benalmadena, Marbella/Puerto Banus and Sotogrande and each one can offer a package of courses to suit all pockets. The area around Sotogrande has the highest concentration of high quality top end courses with Valderrama and La Reserva being the jewels in the crown. These are at the more expensive end of the scale but once you have played them you will see why they cost more than the others. Valderrama hosted the Ryder Cup and was voted Spain’s number one course for many years and it really is a gem and should be on everyone’s wish list to play. La Reserva is almost next door and is a little cheaper but also offers a thrilling golfing experience. As you come back towards Malaga there are still very good golf courses, but they tend to have a more reasonable green fee yet still offer a great golfing treat.
The three courses at La Cala are exceptional and within easy reach of the hotels in Fuengirola and Benalmadena as are Cabopino, Calanova and Torremolinos where you can play good holiday golf. Wherever you play you will enjoy the experience of playing on different styles of course hopefully in the sunshine.