Santana Golf & Country Club is situated slightly inland from the Mediterranean coast between Mijas and Fuengirola. Set amidst 140 acres of oranges and avocados groves – part of the property was once an avacado farm – and with the backdrop of the majestic Mijas Mountains, Santana really is an outstanding natural beauty.
Designed by Cabell B. Robinson and opened for play at the beginning of 2004, it has taken a year or two for Santana to become recognised as one of the Costa del Sol’s leading courses. Measuring fractionally more than 6,200 metres from the back tees, Santana is not the longest course in the area but it’s a potentially dangerous layout, especially if you find yourself stymied behind one of the multitude of avocado pear trees which line many fairways.
The routing is intelligent and the bunkering truly magnificent with brilliant white crushed marble-like sand. The deep greens are devilishly tricky, some are unusually shaped and not a single one could ever be described as flat. Factor in the odd water carry and stunning tee to green conditioning and you have the recipe for excellence which is evident throughout Santana Golf and Country Club.
The gently rolling, former farmland makes for easy walking, unlike one or two other notable courses in the area, for example La Cala. Undoubtedly Santana is maturing rapidly into one of Robinson’s finest layouts and will soon be sitting at the very top of everyone’s must-play list. Keep your eyes peeled for the occasional Calzada (or Booted) Eagle which can be seen soaring on the warm Spanish thermals. But we suspect you won’t have time to spot one on the 4th hole as you’ll be unable to take your eyes off this incredibly spectacular long par five with its profound bunkering, ball gobbling stream and treacherously sloping green. The 4th is perhaps one of the best, if not the best par five in Spain.
Santana was a golf course that really surprised me and over-delivered on my expectations. On first impressions, I thought that the venue may have lacked investment, as the entrance to the club isn’t well maintained and the clubhouse is somewhat basic. However, this is no reflection on the course itself, which is a strategic, fun, challenging and memorable experience. The course opens with a short par 4 which eases you into the round. Following this is a far more challenging par 3 with a greenside water hazard on the left. You need to be accurate to hit the green here. You cross the road to the third where the course really opens out. Unlike many Spanish courses in the area, the course is set in beautiful scenic surroundings with no urbanization areas encroaching on the course. This creates an air of serenity, especially as we played an early morning round with the sun rising and the dew still present. As you’ll see from the course description these are mostly orange and avocado plantations, and you can even pick yourself a fresh avocado if you’re tall enough! The par 5, fourth hole, is the stand-out hole in terms of strategy and visual appeal. The bunkers on both sides of the fairway create a double-dogleg, leading up to a well-protected green with a small landing area in front. There are options risk-reward options for laying up either short of the barranca or on the nap just short of the green, this makes the hole very strategic and asks questions. It’s on this hole you really get a sense of the quality of the bunkering, the placement, and the sculptured design is far above what you find on an average Costa-del-sol golf course. The designer has used the natural contours and elevation changes of the landscape extremely well, requiring a full array of uphill and downhill shots from the tee and for the approach, which makes the course interesting and challenging. The front 9 loops back towards the clubhouse and the back 9 opens with a strong downhill par 5, reachable if you get a big drive away, but fraught with danger with water lurking on the left of the green. Of all the par 5’s this is perhaps the best chance to pick up a birdie, although taking on the green requires strong nerves and accuracy to match! As with the front 9, there is a great balance of holes throughout the back 9 and the challenge continues till the 18th which is a very demanding uphill par 4. I hit a good drive and still required a long iron to reach the green, which is the most undulating on the course, unfortunately resulting in a 3 putt to wrap up! In summary, Santana is a really strong course and probably needs more publicity to do justice, although the sleepy nature and non-commercial style make it appealing as it feels like one of Costa-del-Sol’s hidden gems.
Santana is a well-balanced 18 holes (partly) build on an old avocado plantation. Since the first time we played the course it is in my top3 favourite courses in this area of Spain (I did not play the big 5...yet).
After the two opening holes near the clubhouse, the golf course takes off to the valley and offers you many well designed holes. I particularly like all par 5's. Maintenance always good, nice greens. On the tee box of hole 6 you can see the uber-undulating terrain of La Cala and can only congratulate yourselves you picked Santana over La Cala for your round of golf of that day. The course has a nice natural flow and is easy to walk. No buildings disturbing your play.
I like the small restaurant where they serve decent food and nice wines,
Together with San Roque New Course always on the list to play when I'm around.
Was played at beginning of March 2021. First of all very acceptable price for green fee with buggy (it is not necessary at all because fields are flat and allow to play by walk without any problems). Concerning architecture and picturesque this golf course is not very attractive and nice, more or less a bit boring. In general condition of fields and surroundings were average, but fairways playable, greens well maintained and unpredictable. Golf course is not very challenging, but concerning unpredictable greens you must be very careful to atack pin from every distance. I was played from yellow tees (next time will choose back tees for more challenging) and most of par4 was easy. All you need is some accuracy and bit distance from tee. For long hitters mostly par 5 greens are reachable by two and some par 4 – by one! (1st, 11th & 14th with favorable wind are reachable with first drive). There are some water hazards, but if play safe it is not big deal to putt nice digits on scorecard. I guess it is very comfortable course for begginers or high handicapers. Actually to loose ball is less chance here thant in other courses arround. Also fairways are wide and every shot is visible more or less. Value for price I found acceptable. No doubt every golf course rating is always a subject with a lot of subjectivity, depending on various criteria. I always rating by the following criteria: course complexity or challenging, fields condition (especially greens & fairways), service (only what you can get: buggie, club rent, condition of clubs, the amount of choice and etc. except staff and other subjective things that depends on your or staff mood), surrounding views or pleasure to the eyes and definitely value for the price. All criteries will be rating from 1 to 5 stars. Concerning Santana my personal opinion is follow:
1. Challenging - 3*
2. Condition – 3* (could be better)
3. Service - 3*
4. Surroundings - 3*
5. Value for the price - 4*
This course located in Mijas along a valley was one of the biggest surprises I had in all my golf rounds at La Costa del Sol. The designer made a great job in taking advantage of the piece of land to build a challenging, varied and fun course to play, with maintenance at the highest level I have seen in this area together with Las Brisas, above all the rest.
It was a very nice “winter” morning, played on my own in around 2hs and was able to play it with a good pace, taking pictures and figuring out every detail. I use to analyze courses and see what would I do different, what things I would change and in this case my only observation was a tree left of the long 8th back tee which semi blocked the mandatory face needed tee shot. Apart from that and some bunkers that could be smaller (taking into account sand is more expensive to maintain than grass), I liked every hole and found all visitors will really enjoy it even if only playing it once: almost nothing is hidden off the tee, there is not big danger of lost balls unless you miss really bad (I did once!) and final hole despite being long and very tough gives you space on the left side to avoid getting wet.
The course has everything: very well designed greens, generous in size but not huge with allowance of a wide variety of pin positions, uphill tee shots (9th and 13th), two great par 5s on the front 9 which everybody will only reach in 3 good shots, a long par 3 on 8th, two short reachable 4s on 11th and 14th, a short par 5 on 10th reachable but flying water is needed and very nice “campiña” views typical of Andalucía and some parts of Italy.
No Club House, just a small one with locker rooms, ProShop and a GREAT Wine Restaurant where food is at the highest level of the area. Course has no Real Estate development, just the course and facilities and silence is part of the round. It will be one of the best experiences in the Destination, maybe even worth a replay after lunch and where greens will be the most demanding part of the game.
I like reachable par 5s but the two ones on the front are just excellent, 3 demanding shots and tough putting surfaces make them in my opinion the 2 best holes on the course. Usually par 5s at Courses around here trend to be short in yardage but they don’t really play as short due to obstacles, mountains or lakes … these two need every yard to be hit perfect!
I hope this course continues to grow in reputation as it should be one of the main attractions from Marbella to Málaga.
This was a complete unknown when my Dad told my brother and I we would be playing here. But it has appeared on each of our Marbella golf itineraries since.
The conditioning is superb and if you read the plethora of online reviews, Santana is obviously becoming a fan favourite and a perfect accompaniment to neighbouring courses such as the La Cala resort.
Santana Golf & Country Club (not sure where the country club comes in) is situated inland from the Mediterranean coast between Mijas and Fuengirola. Set amidst 140 acres of oranges and avocado groves, the layout is intelligent and the bunkering, stunning, with brilliant white crushed marble-like sand. The greens are tricky, with not one being described as flat. Some great shaped greens as well. Water plays a large role in one’s round here and the odd carry and stunning tee locations make for a great little recipe.
The signature hole is the par-5 4th hole. This is an incredibly spectacular long per five with its profound bunkering, ball stealing stream and treacherous sloping green. Beautiful orange and avocado trees line the right side of the fairway, terminating at a wonderful set of ruins. I know that I have only ever made one par here, and no the other occasions were not birdies.
The course means a lot to my Dad as he scored his only Hole-in-One to date on the 12th hole, whilst on a gent’s golf holiday. It took me a while to believe him and I had to get a number of corroborations from his colleagues. But I guess a congratulations is in order.
The only downside is that the course lacks practice facilities. A basic practice green is all there is to warm up on before hitting the first tee. Some money here would really elevate its status. The restaurant, however, is great value for money and offers an array of tasty food and wine and beer.
An absolute recommendation. Can’t wait to go back.
Definitely one of the best courses around. Beautiful course and kept in great condition.
Very popular golf course. Nice conditions, The best one of our golf trip together with Chaparral. Buggies a bit dirty and older.
Second time I've played Santana now and would rate it as one of my favourite holiday courses. It doesn't have the ridiculous holes in it like some others in the area - it's a nice flat course that gives you the opportunity to open up your shoulders every now and again and doesn't punish you for every bad shot you make.
The condition of the course has always been good, with nice albeit not overly quick greens.
It doesn't have a driving range which is the only downside for me - I guess it doesn't look very impressive when you arrive at the club either (unlike La Quinta and Marbella GCC to name a couple).
Finally there are some breathtaking holes on this course - the par 5 10th in particular for me, but there are a few. This is definitely a course I would play again and would even consider more than 1 round on a longer trip!!!
This is a thoroughly enjoyable course. It is not a 'championship' course and is all the better for it. It is just long enough to be challenging, wide enough to be forgiving, and the greens are excellent but not straightforward. It should probably be classified as a holiday golf course, but it is a very superior member of that category. It was in good to very condition, one or two scruffy tees being the only real blemish.
All of the par 3s are good, the 2nd has water in front of the left half of the green allowing you bail out right or risk going for the pin, the longer 7th is a real challenge with water down the right of a narrow green, the 12th is a superb downhill hole with a good trick of design which makes club selection very difficult.
I disagree with reviewers who don't like the 9th and 13th, I like the change in elevation and the semi-blind tee shots. There is no unfair danger waiting over the hill. In my opinion, the only weakish hole is the short par 4,17th and that is weak rather than poor.
In fact fairness is a characteristic of this course, one which I would say should make it a pleasure for golfers of all standards.
The reception, starter and restaurant were all very friendly, and the course was comparatively uncrowded for a weekend on the Costa del Sol. We were around in just over 4 hours, which is a lot quicker than many of our other experiences in the area.
Great course & fair for all levels of golfer (with limited water too - we ranged from 4 hcp to 18hcp). Quite open & great for those who can tend to stray a little off the tee.
Some quite long & challenging holes but some shorter/easier ones too. General condition was great & greens were in excellent condition too, rolling well & consistent in speed.
Staff were helpful throughout the day & the Marshall (a fellow Scot) was great too, keeping everyone moving when needed.
Would definitely return if we book for next year!
Ps. The small safes for valuables on-board the carts are an excellent idea. We unfortunately had some issues at another course we played!