Nestled in a wooded valley-like setting, the 6.000-metre layout of Chaparral Golf Club (the club dropped the prefix "El" in 2019) was designed by Pepe Gancedo and the course (in a Berkshire Red style) is routed in an entertaining six par three, six par four and six par five configuration.
Although the course is not especially long, Chaparral is no pushover and conquering this layout will require accuracy as well as skill. There is much variety between the various holes and those that do score well here tend to go easy with the driver, choosing fairway woods and long irons for many tee shots.
There is no shortage of golf courses along the Costa del Sol, but few are appointed with the delights of El Chaparral with its exciting topography that features dramatic valleys and barrancas that must be treated with extreme caution.
A great example comes early on in the round at the 477-metre 3rd hole, which on length alone should be a straightforward par five, but its stroke index 1 suggests otherwise. The 3rd doglegs left and the tee shot needs to be placed down the right side of the fairway in order to see what’s in store for the second shot. It’s the second, or the approach shot for the big hitter, which asks questions. The green is a long but narrow target and a ditch cuts diagonally across the fairway some 100 metres from the green, leaving a challenging lay up for those that choose to play the hole as a three shotter. Those that go for the green in two must avoid the water on the left side of the green at all costs.
Chaparral Golf Club is a family business, run by Antonio Rubio with passion and attention to detail. Playing surfaces are managed by a knowledgeable agronomist and the on and off course service is to be savoured.
We played El Chaparral or Chaparral as it is now called a few years back. At the time we dubbed it El S*** as the condition was so poor.
We were tempted back by the promise of new owners and much better condition, playing in October 2019. Nope, still rubbish. Despite not being allowed on the fairways with buggies for pretty much the whole course, the condition was again poor. Green had pitch marks all over them and while the tees weren’t as awful as the last time we played, it wasn’t much better. The idea of 6,6,6 par three, four and five is good but to achieve this, many holes are ‘tricked up’. The 17th is as bad a hold design as I can recall.
One to avoid.
Played this course with my husband for the first time and we were very pleased. Nice course and great views. The fairways are embedded in the landscape. Very beautiful. All was satisfying. Course, maintenance , service and lunch. We will play here again.
Our second year back in Marbella, and another 5 courses to be played - this was the first time any of our group had played Chaparral, and likely to be the last as none of us believed it would be worth a second visit. The staff in the pro shop were lovely, as were the bar staff (although a little understaffed as service was slow even for Spain). The caddy master was a little surly, but helpful enough.
What I did find strange is that you had to buy a rubber tee peg for the driving range, first time I have come across this and they forgot to mention it when we bought the range tokens - only a Euro each but strange nonetheless.
Finally we teed off to a first hole that represents a valley with a very elevated approach to the first green and it was probably the worst conditioned green I've seen in a long time. You weren't allowed your carts onto the fairway on this hole and by the time we had finished it we were all fairly worn out.
After 5 or 6 holes we were not impressed with the condition of the course, particularly the tees and greens were poor and this continued throughout. However I would say the layout and enjoy-ability improved after this point with a more open back nine especially.
All in all there are far better courses in Marbella and this wont be one we will be returning to in the future.
Great course with some cracking, helpful staff, course in very good condition. The Club sandwich just excellent.
Es un Campo de Golf único de la Costa del Sol por su ambiente forestal (recuerda a los campos de Canadá). He jugado un torneo esta semana y me ha sorprendido gratamente su cuidado mantenimiento y su buen estado en general del campo. Cada hoyo es distinto. Los greenes en estado óptimo y con velocidad media alta. La siega muy controlada y los bunkers perfectamente rastrillados.
SADLY DISAPPOINTING! For a well ranked course, the course was in poor condition when we played with a number of Tees & Greens in particularly bad condition.
The 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 7th & 8th greens stick in my mind, all suffering badly with pitch-marks & what looked almost like small divots (the greenkeeper was filling in the 8th as we approached, almost like you'd sand a Par 3 Tee) but the main culprit for us was definitely the 11th Green - a large portion had been poorly re-turfed and was almost unplayable (the edges of the newly laid turn were actually turning up).
On to the Tees - again, 2nd, 3rd, 9th and a few others were almost weed-like in condition, not properly turfed and were a big disappointment on the day. It should also be noted, if playing from white tees, there's a very strange & ill-placed fence/net infront of the 6th tee.
With some TLC and investment, this could COULD be pretty amazing but our experience was poor & unfortunately, a major anti-climax!