The Southern region of Spain consists of the autonomous community of Andalusia, which is the 2nd largest in the country by area (extending to 87,000 km²) and the largest by population, with around 8.5 million people living in the area. It’s the only region in Europe with both Atlantic and Mediterranean coastlines, stretching from the Portuguese border in the province of Huelva to Almeria in the southeast of the country.
Once one of the nation’s poorer regions, Andalusia – and specifically the provinces of Malaga, Granada and Seville – is now one of Europe’s most popular tourist destinations and golf has certainly played its part in boosting the local economy since the 1960s, attracting millions of visitors to play on the many courses now strung out close to the Atlantic Costa de la Luz and the Mediterranean Costa del Sol.
Amateur golf in Andalusia’s eight provinces is governed by the Real Federación Andaluza de Golf, which has nearly a hundred clubs affiliated to it. Two of these clubs (La Cala in Mijas-Costa and Villa Padierna in Marbella) operate 54-hole golf complexes, eight clubs have 36-hole facilities and eight others manage 27-hole venues. The vast majority of clubs, fifty-six in total, have an 18-hole set-up, though there are also nine 9-hole courses in play, along with ten other layouts such as 9-hole par three and pitch & putt courses.
More than half the Andalusian tracks are located in the province of Malaga, and a significant proportion of these courses also occupy positions in our Top 100 charts for Spain and Continental Europe so the standard here is really high. At the top end of the regional listings, Robert Trent Jones Sr. designs dominate at places like Real Valderrama, Real Sotogrande and Real Las Brisas, closely followed by courses from Cabell Robinson, a former RTJ associate, at Finca Cortesin and La Reserva.
Situated in the hills around five kilometres west of Estepona, the 18-hole course at Azata Golf was officially unveiled at the start of 2021. It’s a Stirling & Martin design, the first full-length layout to open on the Costa del Sol in a decade, with holes routed around a residential development that sits between Valle Romano Golf & Resort and Estepona Golf.