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  • Writer's pictureGolf on Costa del Sol

Alhaurin Golf Course Playing Guide and Review

Updated: Feb 27

Opened in 1993 this well known Severiano Ballesteros design has challenged golfers for close to 30 years. Alhaurin Golf is hard. In my opinion one of the toughest golf courses on the Costa de Sol. The mountainous terrain whilst beautiful does not make for a layout with prairie like fairways! As you can imagine the steep elevation and undulations on both the fairways and greens make for a golf course that demands your full attention!


Some describe Alhaurin Golf as being a “Marmite” golf course, you either love it or loathe it. Simon Hoffman the head pro and our playing partner today summed it up perfectly.`You need a stock shot that you can hit 180 m from the tee to get you through the most difficult holes. If you enjoy a little strategy in your golf you will enjoy it here, If your style is to lash out with your driver on every hole this course is not going to bring you much joy!”


With a fantastic Par 3 course , outstanding practice facilities, an enviable reputation for their hospitality, a beautiful clubhouse, bar and restaurant Alhaurin Golf has set itself the goal of becoming the best Golf Course on the Costa del Sol at its price point.


Location




Alhaurin Golf is situated in the Mijas Golf valley close to Mijas Golf, Mijas Pueblo, La Cala Golf and Fuengirola. Within easy reach of Malaga and Marbella. The journey to Alhaurin Golf will take you through some of the most beautiful mountain scenery you can imagine!


Facilities:

  1. Clubhouse

  2. Changing rooms

  3. Showers

  4. Lockers

  5. Pro Shop

  6. Bar

  7. Snack Menu

  8. Restaurant

  9. A la Carte

  10. Terrace with stunning views


Other facilities

  1. Driving range (grass)

  2. Putting green

  3. Chipping green

  4. 9 Hole Par 3 Course


Playing review and guide to Alhaurin Golf: White Tees 6046m, Yellow tees 6712m, Blue tees 5090m, Red tees 4886m


Alhaurin Golf 9 The first nine holes:


Alhaurin Golf Hole 1, Par 5, Stroke Index 11

White Tees 427m, Yellow Tees 421m, Blue Tees 381m, Red Tees 381m


Alhaurin Golf

This opening hole, a par 5 runs steeply uphill set in a valley between 2 mountainous slopes. The fairway is reasonably wide. The steep mountain slopes on either side of the fairway are densely vegetated and mercifully marked with red stakes, lateral water hazard.


If you narrowly miss the fairway to the left or right the slope will throw the ball back towards the centre. If you miss significantly the ball will be gone forever! No time is lost searching for lost balls, the red stakes allow you to drop a ball at the point where you crossed the line and continue playing with a penalty shot added.

Both JW and I hit decent drives up the left centre. I had 180m remaining for my second shot into the par 5. The steep elevation forced me to club up from a 4 iron to a 3 wood. The huge elevation changes will require you to think very carefully about club selection as you navigate around Alhaurin Golf!


The green sits on top of the hill. Its false front makes it surprisingly difficult to find. Be careful not to leave your approach shot short as it will roll 20m down the fairway. On all of the greens here it is critical to get the ball into the middle of the green.


Bunkers protect the approach and front left and rear left of the green.

This is best played as a 3 shot hole making sure to leave yourself a full swing with your preferred wedge. This hole, if approached properly should be an easy par and also give you a good feel for what lies ahead.


If you get this hole wrong it will quickly go very wrong double and triple bogeys are ever present threats!


The green is a large crescent shape. Despite the recent storm Filomena which caused so much damage locally a few days ago the greens are in great shape running fast and true.


Alhaurin Golf Hole 2, Par 4, Stroke Index 13

White Tees 352m, Yellow Tees 345m, Blue Tees 316m, Red Tees 306m


Alhaurin Golf

Standing on the second tee I found myself grateful to have Simon as our guide as it is not immediately clear which way the hole goes. The tee is on a high point and the terrain falls away spectacularly. To your left is the 4th fairway, to your right is the 1st fairway.


There is a diagram of each hole on the tee box which is helpful. The line to take is on the left edge of the clubhouse car park that you can see in the distance, if you go to the right you will lose the ball in the steep vegetation that separates you from the first fairway. You can see ahead of you a small plateau of fairway, it makes sense to hit your tee shot to that point.


JW hit a 6 iron, Simon and I both hit 4 irons. Mine disappeared to the right and down the mountains side, I suspect that it is still rolling! Simon hit a beautiful iron shot exactly on his chosen line.


John’s tee shot stayed on the plateau just a few meters from the edge of the precipice where upon the fairway cascades down the mountain towards the green. Simon’s 4 iron bounced all the down the fairway and settled just a 30 meters short of the green.


From every tee, green and fairway here at Alhaurin Golf the most amazing views await you. It seems that the more beautiful the view the tougher the hole is!

The green is a comfortingly big target, open at the front with a horseshoe of bunkers guarding the back, the secret to this hole is two fold, firstly be disciplined and hit a conservative shot off the tee secondly get your clubbing right to allow for the 50m altitude drop in to the green!


Alhaurin Golf, Hole 3, Par 3, Stroke Index 15

White Tees 167m, Yellow Tees 160m, Blue Tees 145m, Red Tees 133m


Alhaurin Golf course review Malaga Andalusia Costa del Sol golf holidays Spain

This is a very good looking par 3. The hole runs from the elevated tee across a slight valley towards the elevated green. The green is canted from back to front allowing you a great view of the target.

On the left of the green the hillside will gather your bll and keep it in play. Again with this hole it is important to fly your ball to the centre of the green. If you fall victim to the false front your ball will roll several metres down the slope leaving you a difficult chip.


The green is well proportioned, not big but a large enough target to be welcoming. As with all of the greens it is quick, true with contours running in all directions.


Alhaurin Golf Hole 4, Par 4, Stroke Index 7

White Tees 361m, Yellow Tees 343m, Blue Tees 225m, Red Tees 225m


Alhaurin Golf course review Malaga Andalusia Costa del Sol golf holidays Spain

On our way to the 4th tee we stopped at the White competition tees. I don’t remember ever seeing a more difficult tee shot. The mountain slope rises on your right. The hole is a terrace cut into the mountain that runs crescent shaped around to the right . A bunker marks the outside corner of the dogleg on the left , it also marks the point at which your ball is lost should you go further left into a valley of jungle!


A wall runs about 1.5 metres high on the right edge of the fairway, beyond the wall is mountain. The wall denotes the boundary of the red stakes. The fairway is canted from the wall running at 22 degrees of slope to the left edge of the hole.

There are 2 ways to play the tee shot. An iron or hybrid in line with the fairway bunker, or you take a tiger line over a solitary tree deep inside the hazard area which seems to be impossibly located high on the mountain side.


The crest of the fairway is 100m from the tee. Even a safe iron shot is a blind leap of faith.


Prudently Simon hit an iron to the corner, both JW and lashed our drivers over the mountains flank.


Three distinctly different results resulting in only one of us making par. JWs drive did not carry over the tree. It bounced down the mountainside coming to rest on the hazard wall just a couple of metres from the fairway. My tee shot finished pin high but 40 yards to the left of the green and probably 15m below giving a very difficult shot up to the green. Simon’s iron shot stayed on the plateau of fairway leaving him with an easy wedge on to the green.


Once again the golf course teaches us a lesson. Always play the easiest possible shot with the lowest level of risk from the tee. it is the only way for you to get around Alhaurin Golf and record a decent score.


Alhaurin Golf Hole 5, Par 3, Stroke Index 17

White Tees 117m Yellow, Tees 113m, Blue Tees 100m, Red Tees 92m


Alhaurin Golf course review Malaga Andalusia Costa del Sol golf holidays Spain

Another picturesque par 3. The tee points you across the deep crevasse filled with tree tops and dense flora, The crevasse is lined with a handsome stone wall marking the far edge of the hazard. Between the stone wall and the green is a large bunker which will catch any tee shots that don’t carry far enough or get caught out by the prevailing wind.


At the back of the green is a grass bunker leaving you with tricky chip shots down the steep green. Just behind the green is a ridgeline. The wind whips over this ridgeline making clubbing on this short par 3 a little more difficult.


Because of the crevasse short of the green and the fear of under clubbing into the wind it becomes perversely easy to over club with this short iron and leave yourself above the cup with a very challenging 2 putts for par. Such a short par 3 yet it is utterly delicious!


Alhaurin Golf Hole 6, Par 5 Stroke, Index 3

White Tees 510m, Yellow Tees 482m, Blue Tees 445m, Red Tees 415m


Alhaurin Golf course review Malaga Andalusia Costa del Sol golf holidays Spain

We arrived on the 6th tee and looked down the mountainside tracing the progress of the fairway in wonderment. I cannot conceive of vision and imagination of the revered designer when he first saw this landscape and penned this hole!


From a tee box high on the mountain side the fairway tumbles down the mountain pass in a series of steps, vast slopes raising either side. In the distance at the elbow of this dogleg sit 3 bunkers marking the far edge of the fairway and the point where the hole turns sharply to the right descending further out of view. The line to hit is on the middle bunker for safety or the far edge of the right hand bunkers for the Quixotically brave. To reach the corner requires a shot from the tee of 210m. You can cut the corner and aim your driver over the barren mountainside on your right, however the target is so difficult to hit from this angle that the chances of finding your ball are slim. There is no real choice other than to play safe.


Simon and I hit cracking 2 irons finishing side by side in the fairway a few meters beyond the set of bunkers. Now it is clear to us exactly how narrow this tee shot is. At the narrowest point a little further down the fairway is only a few paces across!

The second shot appears to be enormously downhill to the green. In fact the last 40m of the fairway runs up to the elevated green. This makes the second shot play longer than you would imagine.


The green is very large with trouble all around. The safe option is to lay up 80m short of the green and leave an easy wedge into a welcoming green. Large bunkers guard the front left and right of the green.


This is a spectacular hole. The tee shot is key. Again!


Alhaurin Golf Hole 7, Par 4, Stroke Index 9

White Tees 333m, Yellow Tees 296m, Blue Tees 286m, Red Tees 245m


Alhaurin Golf course review Malaga Andalusia Costa del Sol golf holidays Spain

A straight par 4. The fairway is angled at 20 degrees to the left meaning that your tee shot is going to run from the right down to the left edge of the fairway. Whilst this is a short par 4 it is not a hole at attack.

Dense vegetation awaits at all stages along the left side of the hole, accuracy with the tee shot is again essential. Simon’s suggestion to hit a 4 iron on line at the red stakes high on the right of the foray was quickly heeded.


The closer your tee shot gets to the green the harder the second shot becomes. The green is elevated, long and narrow, only a few paces wide. A full wedge for your second shot is ideal as it will have enough spin to stop quickly. Our 4 irons left each of us with 56 degree wedge shots into the target.


Alhaurin Golf Hole 8, Par 4, Stroke Index 5

White Tees 378m, Yellow Tees 360m, Blue Tees 325m, Red Tees 293m


Alhaurin Golf course review Malaga Andalusia Costa del Sol golf holidays Spain

The placement of the 8th tee is breathtaking. A sheer drop of more than 100m gives this hole a real sense of occasion.


Visible on a distant hillside roughly in line with the middle of the fairway are some pylons, this is the line to take with your tee shot to reach the corner of this 80 degree dog leg to the right. You need to hit something 180m to find the ideal position. The drop in altitude from the ridge line line of the fairway to the green is 50m.


You can cut the corner of the dog leg and go for the green, the problem you have is figuring out what line to hit, and bearing in mind the general narrowness of Alhaurin Golf the likelihood is that you will never see you ball again.


Simon told us with an iron shot off the tee we might carry over the crest of the hill and get a kick down the hill towards the green. What we were not expecting was for our tee shots to bounce all the way to the bottom of the hill just 8 m short of the green!


There is terminal rough both left and right of hole, it’s narrow. Ideally your tee shot needs to stay on the high point of the fairway and leave you with an easy wedge on to the green. By some miracle our balls bounced all the way to the bottom of the hill leaving us within putting distance of the green!


All of the greens are in tremendous condition, hardly a blemish to be seen. Sadly despite how good they are I find that I barely notice them. What dominates my experience of Alhaurin Golf are the shots from the tee. This is the secret to playing Alhaurin Golf!


Alhaurin Golf Hole 9, Par 4, Stroke Index 1

White Tees 404m, Yellow Tees 341m, Blue Tees 337m, Red Tees 332m


Alhaurin Golf course review Malaga Andalusia Costa del Sol golf holidays Spain

This is the signature hole at Alhaurin Golf with the iconic tree dominating the front of the fairway.


Lined with red stakes on either side of the fairway this hole too needs a good tee shot. A good line to hit is close to the left edge of the hole, the saddle shape of the fairway will nudge you back to the centre.


I hit a good drive which caught the first of the large trees in the fairway. I had 150m left to the green. The elevation from my position on the fairway to the green was such that I took 2 clubs more than the number suggested. I still came up short!


Things for me went from bad to worse. Left with a chip of 30m steeply uphill to a plateau green, the pin just a few paces on I played a very delicate lob shot which landed on the apron of the green 1 m short of the putting surface. A few seconds later it rolled by me deciding to rest further from the hole than I had started. Four dogged attempts later I made it to the green.


Simon warned me that this is not a golf course that tolerates any kind of mistake. From the tee you have to play a conservative shot, no matter how tempting it might be to brandish the driver. With shots into the green it has to be the middle of green if you want to avoid duress.


Alhaurin Golf: The back nine holes


Alhaurin Golf Hole 10, Par 3, Stroke Index 14

White Tees 132m, Yellow Tees 129m, Blue Tees 100m, Red Tees 97m


Alhaurin Golf course review Malaga Andalusia Costa del Sol golf holidays Spain

A short par 3 played from an elevated tee. The 10th hole had to be re-imagined in order to reduce the number of errant shots going into the houses adjoining the old green. The new green is set into the sloping ground offering a picturesque target from the tee. This is a gentle hole and will ease you into the challenges to come.


Alhaurin Golf Hole 11, Par 5, Stroke Index 2

White Tees 505m, Yellow Tees 477m, Blue Tees 432m, Red Tees 422m


Alhaurin Golf course review Malaga Andalusia Costa del Sol golf holidays Spain

A long and daunting Par 5. From tee you can see a vast landing area. On the left side of your view is of the 18th fairway running towards you, your target is the fairway on the right. A line of semi rough and trees separate the fairways. The best line to take from the tee is to aim to the right of the large pine tree and pump house in the middle of the fairway.


From the fairway the green is 10m above you on the skyline. Very difficult target to find in 2 strokes. Unusually this hole does not punish you for taking an attacking strategy. If you have the firepower there is no reason not to go for it with your second shot.


A small green is the final destination on this chevron shaped dog leg to the left. A good par 5.


Alhaurin Golf Hole 12, Par 3, Stroke Index 10

White Tees 196m, Yellow Tees 156m, Blue Tees 148m, Red Tees 115m


Alhaurin Golf course review Malaga Andalusia Costa del Sol golf holidays Spain

What a delightful hole this lovely par 3 is. Running downhill to the green this hole invites you to swing without fear. Banking on the right of the green will nudge your ball towards the green. If you aim at the right half of the green and leave it short then your ball will bobble down to the left and come to rest in a thoughtful bailout area leaving you with a reasonable chip into the green.


Bunkers guard the front left and rear of the green providing the most ornate frame for the green.


Alhaurin Golf Hole 13, Par 4, Stroke Index 8

White Tees 370m, Yellow Tees 341m, Blue Tees 310m, Red Tees 310m


Alhaurin Golf course review Malaga Andalusia Costa del Sol golf holidays Spain

Simon tells us that many long hitters are tempted to have a go at driving the green on this hole. He also said that most of them regret that decision immediately!


This hole runs downhill from an elevated tee. The mountain falls to oblivion all along the right side of this hole. The fairway narrows to 5 paces wide about 170m from the tee and opens up slightly 60m from the green.

A steep bank runs along the left of the fairway all the way to the green. The most effective way to play this difficult hole is to hit your tee shot 160m to the widest part of the fairway and leave yourself with about the same shot again into the green.


The green is set into the hillside. The banking on the left will bounce you back towards the green and is a safe line for your 2nd shot. Miss the green on the right and all is lost!


A tough hole.


Alhaurin Golf Hole 14, Par 3, Stroke Index 18

White Tees 124m, Yellow Tees 121m, Blue Tees 99m, Red Tees 92m


Alhaurin Golf course review Malaga Andalusia Costa del Sol golf holidays Spain

Downhill from tee to green this short par 3 offers a generous green to aim at. The last 25m of the hole runs up to the putting surface meaning that any shots that don’t quite fly all the way to the putting surface will not make it and are likely to run further away from the green.


A copse of trees short and right of the green will bring your participation in the hole to an abrupt halt! Don’t follow my example! Keep left!


Keep your ball below the flag, if you find yourself above the cup you will have a terrifying putt.


Alhaurin Golf Hole 15, Par 5, Stroke Index 12

White Tees 511m, Yellow Tees 480m, Blue Tees 405m, Red Tees 405m


Alhaurin Golf course review Malaga Andalusia Costa del Sol golf holidays Spain

Well, this hole is rather special! Simon has challenged us to play it from the back tees!


The first obstacle is the lake directly in front of the tee. Seventy meters to fly over the lake is not an issue, the issue becomes apparent as your eyes trace the line of the cart path snaking away to the right in the distance. Your attention is drawn to an enormous crevasse on the right rich with vegetation with tree tops poking above the rim.


There is a line of rough on the left edge of the fairway complete with bunkers waiting to consume your drive. Left of the rough and above it runs the 16th fairway giving you plenty of room on the left if the thought of the death and disaster waiting on the other side of the fairway is too much to bear!


The line to take with the driver is left half of the fairway, assuming that you keep it out of the bunkers your ball will bounce to the right and hopefully the centre of the fairway. If you elect to go left that slender line of rough will hamper your second shot and force you to play a remedial shot back to the centre of the fairway leaving with a long third shot into the green.


The real disaster with the tee shot is missing to the right and losing your ball in the crevasse.


All balls will bounce to the right. The out of bounds fence runs along the right edge of the fairway, it’s fine mesh will prevent balls from rolling off the golf course.


JW hit a remarkable tee shot which carried the edge of the crevasse and rolled a long way down the fairway. An even more remarkable 3 wood second shot reached the putting surface only to run off the right side of the green leaving him with a short chip back up to the green. He made the most daunting of holes look easy!


This is the best par 5 on the golf course in my opinion, a tremendous hole. Making a 5 here will bring great satisfaction.


Alhaurin Golf Hole 16, Par 4, Stroke Index 6

White Tees 353m, Yellow Tees 324m, Blue Tees 288m, Red Tees 283m


Alhaurin Golf course review Malaga Andalusia Costa del Sol golf holidays Spain

Unusually on this hole we find the tee boxes below the level of the fairway making it difficult to know exactly where the green is. From the tee on the crest of the hill 80m ahead of you is a bunker set into the front right edge of the fairway. The line with your driver is over the left edge of the bunker. Short and right of the bunker is a barranca filled with mediterranean flora, very pretty, eats golf balls but will not eat yours as it does not come into play unless to hit a stinker!


On the left of the fairway and below runs the previous par 5 giving you extra room. A lake sits greenside right, beware!


Simon tugged his drive left on the neighboring fairway and with a touch of flair worthy of Seve himself hit the pin with his second shot for another birdie. JW and I had simple wedge shots on the green. A very comfortable hole.


Alhaurin Golf Hole 17, Par 4, Stroke Index 16

White Tees 284m, Yellow Tees 280m, Blue Tees 256m, Red Tees 250m


Alhaurin Golf course review Malaga Andalusia Costa del Sol golf holidays Spain

Here we have a dogleg right running around the base of a mountain slope climbing sharply to the green. The further up the fairway you go the narrower it gets. Simon gave sound advice. From the tee hit whichever club gives you 200m. Aim at the right edge of the fairway and you will finish on the left edge of the fairway in the widest part. There really is no other way of getting started on this hole.

There is a tree located on the front left of the fairway, a little luck is needed to have a clear 2nd shot. From our position in the bottom left of the fairway all three of us had a wedge shot into the elevated green. All three of us found the putting surface and escaped with par.


Alhaurin Golf Hole 18, Par 5, Stroke Index 4

White Tees 521m, Yellow Tees 505m, Blue Tees 492m, Red Tees 469m


Alhaurin Golf course review Malaga Andalusia Costa del Sol golf holidays Spain

A great par 5 to finish with! A long straight fairway with the green tucked slightly to the right defended by the lake that runs almost the entire length of the hole. The tee shot is pàrticularly demanding. The major concern is to keep out of the lake, which makes you aim left. If you miss 30m to the left you will find yourself on the 11th fairway.


The problem with that is the danger it puts you in with your second shot. On the left side of the fairway 140m in front of the green is a dense thicket of trees residing in a large, deep depression. It’s a penalty shot to get out. If you keep your ball safe for the first two shots then an elementary approach shot is your reward giving you a birdie chance or a certain par, maybe!


Summary


Simon said “if you attack this course you are not going to beat it. You have to play strategically, to be patient and play the percentage shot every time – no exceptions!”


He is absolutely right. This is a tough golf course because of its topology, however it still has 18 fairways and 18 greens. It is up to you to bring the right game! As Lee Trevino once said, “ I never saw a hole that can’t be birdied!”


Parkland vs Mountain layout


Simon went on to explain, “The elements are more extreme on a mountain course, we have more extreme heat, more extreme wind which dries out the playing surfaces and when there’s severe rain we get a hell of a lot of flood water running from mountains.”


“This is visually stunning, it’s extraordinary, a unique experience for golfers visiting the Costa del Sol. There’s no two ways around it, it is difficult to play. The first time you visit you might find that the golf course beats you up because you don’t know your way around. Once you’ve figured that bit out then it’s up to you to hit the right shots. “


Alhaurin Golf is a great facility and an important component for golf on the Costa del Sol. With 18 Holes of stunning mountain golf , its excellent Par 3 course, practice facilities and superb clubhouse Alhaurin Golf offers amazing value to golfers visiting the Costa del Sol.


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Alhaurin Golf Course Playing Guide and Review

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