Standing hunched over a seven iron with its rain-sodden leather grip, your face pointing away to protect it from the rain while ankle deep in mud, is a very British way of spending a few leisurely hours. But this is the game of golf – well, British golf anyway.
However, it needn’t be like this any more. With the Costa de Almeria being classified as the only desert in Europe, a superb climate is always guaranteed. Couple this with the fact that the region receives less than 25% of rainfall than on the Costa del Sol, this region has become the preferred haven for golfers. The four outstanding courses listed below can all be found within a ten minute drive from Mojacar.
Desert Springs Golf Resort
Europe’s first and only Arizona style desert course. The course itself was designed to USPGA standards by ex-Walker Cup Captain and Amateur Champion, Peter McEvoy.
Situated on a plateau overlooking the Almanzora valley on the south east coast of Spain, the resort has become Spain’s new golfing sensation. The contrast between the beautifully prepared and manicured playing areas, and the arid yet vividly coloured desert makes it a truly unique golfing experience. Each platformed tee is surrounded by cactus, rocks and flowering plantations and each hole has features that can be brought into play – the springs, watercourses, dry river beds, rock and cactus areas and bunkers are strategically located to examine the skills of golfers of all standards. Whilst playing, golfers can absorb the awesome landscape and spectacular views that encompass the Indiana, benefiting from light sea breezes that temper the summer heat.
Confirmation of both the World Class quality of the Indiana Course, its Golf Academy and practice facilities has been proven through its selection by the English Golf Union as its ‘Overseas Home’, for which it provides practice facilities for its National squad members. The Royal Spanish Golf Federation also selected Desert Springs to host the Spanish Amateur Open back in March 2004.
Desert Springs Golf Club Calle Desert, Cuevas del Almanzora, Almeria, 04618 Tel; +34 950 467 411 Fax: +34 950 467 428
Valle del Este Golf Resort
Since opening in July 2002, Valle del Este Golf Resort has already hosted a number of large tournaments. Its reputation is such that it hosted the most prestigious tournament on the Spanish amateur calendar, the final of the Audi Class in September 2004.
Desert surroundings with the occasional view of the Mediterranean, rolling hills and steep cliffs make it visually one of the most spectacular courses in Spain to play. The fairways wind their way through a landscape that rivals some of Arizona’s best desert style courses. Cacti, large boulders and the occasional water-hazard only punish the severest of misses. The greens are both very fast and true and due to their size they offer a large variety of pin-placements – on some holes up to a 4 club difference.
At par 71, the three par 5’s are all reachable with two good hits by tour-pro’s, but when you gamble and miss, you will pay the price. For the beginner, spectacular as they may look, they can be managed without difficulty by 3 or 4 more conservative shots.
Valle del Este’s renowned signature hole 12 is not for the faint hearted. Certainly length is not a problem at only 174 yards off the back-tees. The dried riverbed of the river Nuño is the challenge. Many a golfer will wish to return to the driving-range before teeing off on this hole to get another 50 practice shots in. Short means reload, go long and two small bunkers await. This hole is quite simply one of the best par 3’s in Spain.
Valle del Este Golf Resort Vera, Almeria, 04620 Tel; +34 950 398 743 Fax: +34 950 398 743
Opened in 2000 and was designed by Ramon Espinsa. This stunning course offers 9 holes located next to the beach with amazing Mediterranean views. The remaining 9 holes meander up and down the side of a small hill, resulting in challenging & varied shot-making and breathtaking scenery.
Three strategically situated lakes ensure that this is definitely a brain over brawn course.
The spectacular hole 3 will test any golfer with a par 5, with the tee positioned 65 meters above and 483 meters from the green.
This is one of those courses where you will want to return, if not to alter your original club selection but also to savour the relaxed golfing experience.
Marina de la Torre, Avda. Del Mar, Mojacar, Almeria, 04638 Tel.: +34 950 133 235 Fax.: +34 950 133 230