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Real Golf on the Costa del Sol

 

As a welcome relief from the floodplain formerly known as Southern England, Stuart Barber - the Golf Today Network Publisher - and a party of six other intrepid golfers flew with GB Airways to stay at the recently completely refurbished 5 star Los Monteros Hotel near Marbella on Spainís Costa del Sol.

After a very early check in at London Heathrow we were expertly catered for by GB Airways and flew in one of their new stylish aircraft to Gibraltar. Although a separate company, GB Airways operate the British Airways route to Gibraltar and also offer return flights under the BA banner to Malaga.

On arrival at Gibraltar, the only inconvenience, and itís a very small one, is to walk across the runway into Spain and then pick up your hire car. Donít succumb to the temptation to do this in Gibraltar as it can take a long time to get through Spanish customs in a car, but on foot its no problem.

We then drove to Alcaidesa a stylish complex close to Gibraltar with magnificent views out over the Mediterranean. The course designed by Peter Alliss and Clive Clark is set in gorse and runs along the edge of the sea and offers a very good test of golf. Although there is no hotel on the complex there are some excellent ones close
by at San Roque and Almenara, both of which have their own courses. With the new motorway the drive from Marbella is no more than 30-40 minutes.
 
After an excellent afternoonís golf we drove to Los Monteros, just the Malaga airport side of Marbella. The hotel has been beautifully renovated under the guidance of the Le Meridien chain, and offers accommodation and an ambience truly worthy of its 5 star rating. First class amenities and service made our short stay excellent value. Set in lush gardens and only a short walk from the sea where the hotel has its own private bar and beach Los Monteros offers a wide range of
accommodation from Standard twins, to Junior and full Suites. There is also a full range of conference and business facilities at the hotel. The main complex is built around an olympic-sized swimming pool with poolside bar and restaurant.
 
The second day we drove early to Estepona Golf Club, which under English ownership is improving its facilities, and through Longshot Golf offers a discounted green fee of only £21 per round. Buggies are recommended although you have to stay on the cart paths. However the course is hilly and quite tiring.
   
The following morning we played at Rio Real, which is 10 minutes from Los Monteros. A lovely golf course well designed and immaculately maintained Rio Real is a true test of golf. Reminiscent of Morton Hampstead the river Real keeps appearing when you least expect it and catches the unwary shot! Busy at the beginning of April but most
enjoyable to play I would unhesitatingly recommend it of the three courses we played. The restaurant serves excellent cold cervesa and piping hot tortillas! Book through Longshot Golf and staying at Los Monteros you can obtain a discounted rate of about £25 a round at this time of the year against the quoted rate of about £34. Very good value indeed and a most enjoyable and testing course to play- perhaps scoring 21 points Stableford on the back nine had its influence but truly well worth a visit.

After lunch in the clubhouse it was time to drive back to Gibraltar, then after sampling the amazing value of the duty free shop, we were flown back to a wet and windy England care of GB Airways. Somehow the first tee at a very wet and cold English golf course the next morning didnít seem quite so attractive.

Fly with British Airways from London to Southern Spain up to six times every day. There are 22 flights a week to Malaga, twice daily to Gibraltar and five times a week to Seville. Flights operated by GB Airways. For reservations telephone 0845 77 333 77 or log on to www.britishairways.co.uk