Measuring just less than 5,600 yards, Cabopino is a short, tight course laid out on hilly terrain between Marbella and Fuengirola. The little-known Spanish architect Juan Ligues Creus designed the course and it’s a relative newcomer to the Costa del Sol golf circuit, opening for play in 2001.
Course management is all important at Cabopino and thinking golfers will keep the driver in the bag and brush up beforehand on their iron play as it pays to plot your way around here – fairways are relatively narrow but greens are receptive to properly struck approach shots.
The best hole on the course is played early in the round at the downhill 307-yard, short par four, 3rd which tempts big hitters to go for the green in one, avoiding the large bunker in front of the raised putting surface.
The only two par fives on the course are played at the acutely doglegged 12th and the uphill 14th - banish any thoughts of potential birdies though as the arduous routing of these holes is such that a five on the scorecard at each of these will feel like a pair of fours!
Looking at the scorecard, it seems that Cabopino could be a benign course, with a total length of « only » 5,193 meters from the back tees. In fact, there are only three sets of tees, no championship or black tees here, so obviously this course is not designed to handle the cream of golfers. Or is it not?
Cabopino is pretty full of nice surprises and a source of really good golfing fun. It is located mostly on a hillside facing the Mediterranean sea, only 1 kilometer away, so you get very nice views on several holes. At the same time, some other holes have been created at the bottom of narrow gorges, and even with the invasive groups of villas around the edges, you can feel in the middle of nowhere. The Mediterranean pines are as lovely a landmark as can be. The design of the course is quite varied, so you never have the impression of having played a hole already. The fairways are very good, and even though we played in February on a cool day, the greens were lightning fast, and difficult to read due to the lack of horizontal reference surfaces anywhere. The putting challenge is made even greater as many greens are two-tiered, and a ball not quite reaching the top tier when needed will certainly roll back down a long way. Indeed, the course goes through a lot of elevation changes, both up and down, which makes riding a buggy almost a necessary evil.
Of course the most breathtaking hole of the course is the 3rd, with an elevated tee standing probably 50 meters above the fairway at the bottom of the gorge. However, the par threes are set very pleasantly, at least to the eye because the last two include water and the 15th in particular can be tricky when the wind blows sideways. We thought probably the weak hole was the first par-five, the 12th, a strange double dogleg where only a long and well thought out second shot will allow a chance at reaching the green in regulation.
All in all however, a fun course, no stress over distances but all kinds of use for a level and strategic mind if one wants to score well.
We played this as a warm up at the start of a golf tour. Despite pretty grim weather, we enjoyed it far more than expected. It is not long but it is a good test.
A proper layout, almost no 'up and down' neighbouring holes, plenty of variation and slopes. You have to think your way round, and a couple of holes are seriously tight. A very good set of par 3s.
Tees were a bit scruffy, but the fairways were in decent condition, and the
greens were very good.
We were made very welcome in the pro shop and clubhouse, and although the latter is pretty basic, the food was good.
It is by no means the best course in the Marbella area, but we would definitely go back, and I would be perfectly happy to play Cabopino regularly.