With over 3200 hours of sunshine bathing over twenty courses each year, Spain’s Costa da Luz, “The Coast of Lights,” is the perfect place to light up your golf game…
- Play Seve’s first Spanish course design
- Take the tour school test at Costa Ballena
- Warm your soul with Jerez brandy
- World famous white horses and bull fighting
- Andalucian gastronomy – try bull’s tails
The Costa da Luz lies in Cadiz, the most southerly of Andalucia’s eight provinces.
Once the ancient capital of Spain, Cadiz is the oldest city in the Western World and the port from which ships set sail for the New World.
Alongside rich Spanish heritage and white sand beaches, a growing number of quality golf courses have established Cadiz province as a destination to rival Portugal’s Algarve.
Jerez de la Frontera, famous for Sherry and the white Cartujano horses of Andalucia, is an excellent base for a golf holiday.
Within an hours drive of Seville and Jerez international airports, the five-star Montecastillo Hotel and Golf Resort is a great place to start.
A Jack Nicklaus designed Championship course, Montecastillo has hosted the European Tour’s Volvo Masters five times from 1997-2001.
Plenty of drive needed at Montecastillo
Winding out into the hillsides above the hotel’s white Castillo, the course swings past neighbouring Jerez Formula One circuit.
You’ll need to drive the ball the way Michael Schumacher used to handle his Ferrari.
The course is a tiger from tee to green and water tests the golfer on nine of the holes.
Montecastillo offers excellent golf on your doorstep, and the spa and health club are terrific for loosening sore muscles.
A more forgiving venue is the newly opened Sherry Golf Jerez, situated five minutes from historic Jerez city on the Puerto de Santa Maria Autovia.
Opened in 2004, Sherry Golf is in excellent condition.
At 6572-metres, it is one of Spain’s longest courses, and the use of lakes and ponds make it a deceivingly difficult test.
Risk takers among you will love the tiny par-four 16th.
A small green sits 270 yards from the tee beckoning the golfer to smash over water, bunkers and palm trees.
Spanish greats turned course designers in Andalucia
Three other layouts close to the town of El Puerto de Santa Maria are the contributions of three Spanish champions turned designers.
Costa Ballena runs alongside four kilometres of Atlantic beach, amid olive and fig trees, and was designed by Jose Maria Olazabal.
It has excellent ocean views and its practice facilities are arguably the best in the area, if you like spending time on the range.
Costa Ballena is tough enough for the Tour
Costa Ballena has been used for the final stages of the European Tour Q-School in the past and has witnessed its share of triumph and disaster as the hopes and dreams of professionals were realised and shattered over Olazabal’s layout.
Golf El Puerto is the creation of Ryder Cup player Manuel Pinero.
It has a Wild West ambience and Cacti is a regular obstacle to par. Lakes, sharp doglegs and precipices dissecting fairways make the course tricky, but it’s superbly presented with smooth true-rolling greens.
There is a US Airforce base nearby, but the only rockets fired are those from golfers teeing off.
Seve’s first Spanish course design
Continuing the air traffic theme, Golf Novo Sancti Petri at Chiclana, is probably the main hub for golf tourism in Cadiz.
The first course designed by the late great Seve Ballesteros in his native Spain, the 36 holes at Novo see a lot of play.
Of the two, the Mar Y Pinos is better than the Centro, and its 6th green – virtually on the beach – is a delight.
The Mar Y Pinos is a course of two completely different halves.
The front nine is open and winds around lakes before brushing with the coast at the dramatic 6th.
The back nine turns inland and weaves through alleys of pines that look like upturned broccoli.
Despite the busy traffic, the Novo courses remain in good shape and organized starters ensure an even pace of play.
Gastronomy: Famous sherry, sea urchins and bull’s tails
Cadiz is also renowned for its gastronomy.
Local favourites include the tender white fish caught off the Rota coast, bulls tails and sea urchins stuffed with fish paste; all best washed down with a glass of dry Jerez Sherry.
Away from golf, visitors can enjoy Cadiz’s “Route of the White Villages,” taking in white -washed castles, churches and villages; or watch bullfighting on the “Route of the Toro” (Bull).
Any trip to Cadiz is incomplete without visits to a Bodega ( winery), where the regions Sherry and Brandy is produced, and the Royal School of Equestrian Art in Jerez; where you can marvel at the energetic parade of the white horses.
Grab the bull by the horns, pack the clubs and head for Andalucia.
WHERE TO PLAY
Montecastillo Hotel and Golf Resort
Sherry Golf Jerez
Costa Ballena GC
Golf El Puerto
Golf Novo Sancti Petri
WHERE TO STAY
Montecastillo Hotel and Golf Resort
Luxury five-star resort in the hills near the Jerez Formula One circuit and close to historic Jerez.
An 18th century converted monastery turned four-star hotel in the historic centre of El Puerto de Santa Maria.
Iberostar Andalucia Playa
Four-star hotel situated on the Playa Barrosa beach next to Golf Novo Sancti Petri.
A visit to Cadiz is a must when in Andalucia. This port city is the oldest continually inhabited city in Spain and is situated on a narrow slice of land surrounded by the sea.
An inexpensive and interesting day can be spent wandering the city’s numerous parks where exotic plants flourish. Some of the giant trees on view were supposedly brought to Cadiz by Columbus following his voyages to the New World.
In Jerez, the Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art is one of the most popular visitor attractions in all of Spain. The famous Andalusian horses are trained here. You can tour the school and watch demonstrations of the classic Spanish tradition of horsemanship. Check its website for timings.
Jerez is also home to the traditional Sherry cellars, known as Bodega’s, and tasting sessions are both educational and fun. Finally, with over 3200 hours of sunlight per year, a visit to the beach is a must. The La Playa de la Caleta (Caleta Beach) is one of the most popular beaches in Cadiz and is framed by two castles, Santa Catalina and San Sebastian.
Warm temperate climate ranging from 14 to 20 degrees celsius in Winter and an average of 22 degrees celsius in Summer.