Santa Maria Golf and Country Club lies just outside Marbella on the Costa del Sol and it offers its members a number of sporting pursuits from bowls and tennis to golf.
The course here started out as a 9-hole layout in 1991, extended five years later to a full 18 holes – in fact, to play holes 7 to 13, golfers have to use a tunnel to cross to the new fairways on the other side of the Malaga-Cadiz motorway!
The architect Dave Thomas is said to be involved in the construction of an additional 18-hole course which would really take the club to the next golfing level amongst the big boys on the Costa.
Set in a hilly location, Santa Maria is a parkland track routed in an out-and-back formation, extending to a length of 6,144 yards (par 70) with water in play at many of the holes.
The five par threes are the best holes at Santa Maria and because there are four of these short holes on the back nine, the yardage on the inward half is some 500 yards shorter than the front nine.
First course we played this holiday and we were all set to play on arrival day - so with flight delays and car hire delays we ran onto the tee with seconds to spare. So lets just say that we started a little rusty...
This certainly isn't my favourite course in the area, but it's not a bad little track. The condition is better than okay, but not great. The greens almost seem to be seeded with the wrong kind of grass which makes them slow and inconsistent with a nap that seems to affect the direction of the ball - the only hole that doesn't seem the case is the new green on around the ninth hole where I think they've changed it from a par 4 to par 5 (although not on the website and my tom tom watch didn't know about the change either. This is also the hole that my buggy ran out of juice, but they soon bought a replacement one on the course for us.