If you are desperately seeking a sunny day to play golf and longing for the right conditions to do so, then maybe you should consider a golfing holiday this winter.
As the rain lashes down and the winds bite harder than ever, summer seems such a long way off. As does, no doubt, the possibility of getting your clubs out and heading to your local club for fear of getting frostbite.
However, there is an escape route.
Fortunately, not all of Europe is chilling, wet and miserable at this time of year.
It gets better, in Southern European countries, where the climate throughout winter is much more ‘golf friendly’ than their Northern counterparts, you can find some of the world’s best courses.
If all that was not enough, fees are often cheaper in winter (and cheaper still for couples and senior citizens) so why hesitate, book that trip you always dreamed of.
Here we have a guide to some of those places where you can enjoy sunshine and lush courses, with the added bonus of no membership required. As a result, you can just set up your holiday, relax and enjoy whilst your golfing buddies back home toil to reduce their handicaps in nigh on impossible conditions.
Malaga and the surrounding areas
As you seek the ideal destination for your trip, where better to start than Malaga.
With one of Spain’s largest airports, Malaga is an obvious choice for golfers looking for a winter escape.
Add to that the variety of courses on offer, suitable for a wide range of abilities, from a beginner to a seasoned player, it is little wonder that the province is at the top of most people’s list to visit at this time of year.
The Atalaya Golf Course in Marbella is particularly popular amongst pre-intermediate or intermediate golfers due to the flat nature of the greens and the wide fairways.
Nevertheless, seasoned players can equally enjoy the tranquil ambience of one of the region’s oldest clubs.
Atalaya was created almost 50 years ago and prides itself on being a club with great tradition. It states on its own website that it has an edge over its newer, flashier competitors.
Crucially, guests are made welcome as if they were members and can enjoy the lush greens and attractive nature whilst enjoying the bar and restaurant on offer.
It is located close to the beach and has the stunning backdrop of the Sierra Blanca mountains to enjoy too.
For the more experienced golfer, look no further than Los Arqueros, situated less than an hour from both Malaga and Gibraltar airports.
The course is particularly well known as it was designed by the late Spanish golfing legend Severiano Ballesteros.
Originally from the northern region of Cantabria, Ballesteros, nevertheless, chose Andalusia in the south of Spain as the location for his first personally created course.
Los Arqueros is a challenging par 71 and opened amid much fanfare 24 years ago.
Unsurprisingly given its glorious spot, set amongst the Sierra de Ronda mountains on the Costa del Sol, and its famous designer, Los Arqueros is a much in demand venue. As a result, it is vital to book early, particularly for weekend visits.
According to its own website the course is a ‘challenging course for the experienced player and a genuine test for those who are new to the game’. In other words, be prepared for a somewhat trickier course.
Alcaidesa Heathland and Alcaidesa Links
Alcaidesa is a magnificent resort in Cadiz comprising of two courses, Heathland and Links.
In addition, it has an excellent driving range with 72 bays, including a putting green and bunkers.
Designed by former Ryder Cup player Dave Thomas, Alcaidesa Heathland is a par 72 course set amongst some stunning scenery, as the holes meander through a valley.
For those seeking water hazards this is your ideal course as these are in abundance here.
The links course is the pride and joy of the Alcaidesa resort.
Due to its proximity to the beach, the prevailing winds make this a little more problematic than its sister course.
Opening in 1992 the setting could barely be better, with stunning views of Africa, Gibraltar and the Mediterranean Sea.
Describing itself as a Private Members Club that welcomes visitors, Valderrama is certainly for the golfers with a slightly deeper pocket.
However, this is hardly a surprise given its steep history and illustrious reputation.
Valderrama was the proud host of the 1997 Ryder Cup, as well as being the home of the Volvo Masters on and off for the last 25 years. To top it off, Tiger Woods famously won the 1999 Amex World Championship here, defeating home favourite Miguel Angel Jimenez in a play off.
The course is a dream and often the pinnacle for the amateur golfer, easily eclipsing its rivals as the continent’s number one golf course.
Located in the province of Cadiz, neighbouring Malaga, and just down the coast from Marbella and Estepona, Valderrama is almost as famous for its nature as it is for its golf. It has its own wildlife sanctuaries and was awarded the Audobin certificate, a certification reserved exclusively for courses that show a significant commitment to the environment.
Please note, visitor’s times are normally from 12.00 to 14.00 on weekdays and from 12.00 to 13.00 at the weekend.
How to get there to Malaga
All of these golf resorts are easily accessible from Malaga’s recently modernised airport, which was opened by King Juan Carlos of Spain less than five years ago.
Being one of the Mediterranean’s most in demand locations, Malaga has dozens of low cost flights every day from the United Kingdom and other European countries. This makes it one of the most convenient places to visit in Southern Europe.
Furthermore, let Shuttle Direct take away the stresses of your trip by supplying the best and most convenient way of getting from the airport to your chosen destination.
One of Shuttle Direct’s experienced drivers, with great knowledge of the local area, can pick you up and give you the most stress free way of travelling from the airport to your accommodation, door to door.