A Guide to Golf in the Costa del Sol

Fancy jet-setting to one of Europe’s premier golfing destinations? You’ve come to the right place. With over 50 courses in the Costa del Sol, you’re spoilt for choice. When you’re not lapping up the sunshine along this hotspot’s 159km coast, you’ve got Ryder Cup putting greens, World Match Player courses and an 18-hole championship layout ranked among the best in the world.

Whether you’re an expert looking to score that hole in one or a complete newbie to the game, there are fairways to suit all levels. Prepare to bring your ‘A’ game, as we explore the best golf courses in the Costa del Sol.

Valderrama Golf Club

Golfer lining up to hit a golf ball

As one of the most-prized golf clubs in Europe, put your swing to the test on this 18-hole green in Sotogrande, Andalucia. It’s one of the leading courses in the Costa del Sol and is no stranger to the spotlight being home to the Volvo Masters four times and Ryder Cup in 1997. In fact, you may have spotted its championship fairways on TV many times.

Renowned for its tough challenges, with raised greens protected by encroaching cork oaks and over 100 bunkers, it’s a stern test for even the best. And spectators won’t be disappointed either thanks to the beautiful country backdrop. However, no trip is complete without visiting Valderrama Restaurant for an irresistible fine dining experience.

Designed by: Robert Trent Jones

Par: 71

Hotels nearby:

Iberostar Selection Marbella Coral Beach
Hotel Don Pepe Gran Meliá
Amàre Beach Hotel Marbella

Finca Cortesin

People on a golf course

Looking out onto the majestic Estepona mountains between Marbella and Sotogrande lies the prestigious Finca Cortesin. It’s one of Spain’s longest layouts at a sprawling 7,000 metres. Thanks to its elevated positioning and windy conditions, you better bring your best performance. Famed for its challenging 12th hole, this par-3 favourite will see players swing from a raised tee box 205-metres to the winning hole. And don’t be fooled into thinking it’s that simple; you’ll be met with water hazards and deep bunkers along the way.

Designed by: Cabell Robinson

Par: 72

Hotels nearby:

Petit Palace Plaza Málaga
NH Marbella
Fuerte Marbella

El Chaparral Golf Club

Woman golfer swinging the club

For a fairway of the rural kind, El Chaparral Golf Club offers an 18-hole parkland forest setting between the sea and mountains. Perfectly positioned in the heart of Costa del Sol between Marbella and Mijas, it’s never been so easy to practise your Birdie shots. The stunning scenery surrounding the course can be enjoyed from almost every hole. The magnificent sea views, rich vegetation, and the perfume of pine trees have turned El Chaparral into a natural haven and a golfer's paradise.

El Chaparral is the only course on the Costa del Sol made up of 6 par 5´s, 6 par 4´s and 6 par 3´s. Though not an excessively long course (5,800 meters), you will find a large variety of holes that are enjoyed by players of all levels. It’s a course that requires skill and accuracy, and the first hole will call on your nerves as a large ravine must be cleared for you to have any chance of reaching the green in two.

Designed by: Pepe Gancedo

Par: 72

Hotels nearby:

Los Amigos Beach Club by Diamond Resorts
Puente Real
Aparthotel Cordial Mijas Golf

Real Club de Golf Las Brisas

golf course at sunset

Expertly designed to put your skills to the test, Las Brisas is made up of numerous water obstacles, ten artificial lakes and two streams. The greens, majority of which are raised, are amply protected by tricky bunkers to catch any loose shots. This is a challenging and entertaining round of golf where precision is the key to a good score. And if you’re wondering where to find this award-winning spot, head to Marbella’s golf district.

If you want to walk in the footsteps of legends such as Jack Nicklaus and Johnny Miller, look no further. The pair won the Amateur Spanish Open and World Golf Cup at this very venue. And did we mention it’s played host to the Mediterranean Open?

Designed by: Robert Trent Jones

Par: 72

Hotels nearby:

Meliá Marbella Banus
Vasari Resort
- Puente Romano Beach Resort & Spa​​​​​​

Rio Real Golf Club

golf cart

Considered one of the most prestigious golf clubs and the oldest in Costa del Sol, with a boutique hotel onsite placing you in the heart of all the action, take advantage of 18 difficult holes. The front nine are where you’ll be challenged as you’re met by a line of mature trees, elevated greens and formidable bunkers strategically placed to put your skills to the test.

The most awe-inspiring holes are on the 4th and 5th, located by the coastline with outstanding vistas of the Mediterranean. And when you take your drive swing, watch out for the river which crisscrosses the fairway several times. It’s no surprise that this award-winning course still remains in the top 40 layouts in Spain.

Designed by: Javier Arana

Par: 72

Hotels nearby:

Rio Real Golf Club
Los Monteros Spa & Golf Resort
La Reserva de Marbella

Danielle Gunner

About the author

As a frequent jetsetter, Danielle is an expert in all things travel. From foodie trips in Rome to hunting down the best beaches in the Balearics and Christmas shopping in New York. She’s also the mum of a very cute but mischievous toddler, meaning she has some great family holiday hacks too. Check out all her travel tips & tricks!