The golf complex at Costa Ballena Ocean Golf Club is part of a large residential estate on the Costa de la Luz, just south of the Doñana National Park and the Andalusian Tourist Board established the 1,000-acre resort in the mid 1990s when land was acquired between Rota and Chipiona from the Orleans and Bourbon families.
Located close to the centre of the nation’s sherry region, Costa Ballena Ocean offers a number of leisure and sporting activities, including swimming, horse riding, windsurfing, tennis and, of course, golf. The Golf Club is well appointed with 27 holes arranged in three loops of nine, a 9-hole par three course and practice facilities that are, according to the Swedish PGA, amongst the best in Europe.
Designed by José María Olazábal and Integral Golf Design, the championship course is played over the Olivos and Palmeras nines and these combine to produce a testing par 72 track measuring just over 6,900 yards from the back tees (the Ficus nine has a par of 34 and overall length of 2,850 yards).
The Olivos/Palmeras course is generally flat and open, encouraging golfers to let loose with their driver on the par four and par five holes – even though sand and water hazards are in full view from most tees on these holes! The par five 12th and par four 13th on the back nine are real feature holes as they lie closest to the coastline.
This is a very pleasant and not too testing place to play golf. It has an enormous driving range facing out towards the beach, and there are a couple of holes on the back nine which are also close to the beach, but I feel the course doesn't really make good use of its seaside location and potential for stunning views.
The course itself plays very similar to Real Sevilla, another Olazabal design, except I imagine this was constructed on a much smaller budget, and doesn't have any real stand out signature holes.