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  • Writer's pictureGolf on Costa del Sol

Cabopino Golf Review and Playing Guide

Updated: Feb 25

Cabopino Golf has been welcoming golfers for 20 years since its opening in 2001. Cabopino Golf does not have members, its focus is completely on delivering good service and a good golfing experience to golfers visiting the Costa del Sol.


At 5193m Cabopino Golf is not a long course. Set in the foothills of the Sierra Blanca mountains clever use is made of the terrain to construct holes that play significantly both uphill and downhill whilst the terrain has allowed the construction of some intricate and cleverly laid out dog legs too.


This course is ideal for golfers that do not drive the ball a long way. Tee shots in the region of 150m to 200m will pay dividends provided that they are reasonably straight. This is not a golf course that will heap reward on long hitters.


Cabopino Golf course review Malaga Spain Andalusia Costa del Sol

The small greens are absolutely superb and commonly run between 10 and 11.5 on the stimpmeter making them some of the fastest greens on the Costa del Sol. Use the practice green to adjust to the pace and then you will find the greens on the golf course to be an absolute delight!


Perfect for senior golfers, short, straight hitters and social golfers that will soak up the breathtaking views across the Mediterranean Sea! Low handicappers and highly skilled players will be able to polish often neglected skill sets such as knock down shots, ball shaping etc, when tackling this intricate and highly technical layout. The astounding views will make them feel better too!


Cabopino Golf is an important part of golf in Marbella, as such we have featured it in several articles, to learn more about Cabopino Golf you can read those articles via the links below:


Book your tee times

Please send your booking enquiry to bookings@golfoncostadelsol.com.


Location



Cabopino Golf Course is located inland directly above Puerto Cabopino. It will take 6 minutes after turning off the main road.

Facilities

  1. Opened 2001

  2. Designer: Juan Ligues Creus

  3. Driving Range

  4. Short Game Area

  5. Clubhouse

  6. Lockers

  7. Showers

  8. Restaurant

  9. Bar Snacks

  10. On Course Refreshments


Pre round check-in


It’s a bright, fresh November morning on the Costa del Sol. Sixteen degrees centigrade with a stiff wind. It’s easy to differentiate between the locals and the visitors, the locals are bundled up against the “cold”, whilst the visitors don shorts and polo shirts!


My dear old pal John Walker and I arrive an hour early for our tee time. In fact we made a point of arriving early. There are few greater pleasures than a cafe con leche taken on the terrace of the clubhouse at Cabopino Golf. The view down the mountain side across the Cabopino Port opens to a panorama of the Mediterranean Sea. On the horizon clearly visible are the Atlas Mountains in North Africa. In the fore shore a plethora of small fishing craft can be seen bobbing and weaving a few hundred metres offshore purveying freshest seafood ready for consumption this evening in fine restaurants all along the Costa del Sol.


Cabopino Golf course review Malaga Spain Andalusia Costa del Sol

We check in at the pro shop. We are greeted with warmth and efficiency. Within seconds we have a ticket to collect our buggy and are ready to load up the clubs.

The putting green sits close to the car park. Ten minutes of practice is enough to confirm that the greens are searingly fast and true running. Good greens make a good golf course.


The caddy master kindly introduces us to our playing partners today, a charming retired Danish couple spending a month here avoiding the miserable weather in Copenhagen!


Cabopino Golf Yellow Tees 5193m Blue Tees 4946m Red Tees 4467m.


Cabopino Golf Front 9 Holes


Cabopino Golf Hole 1

Par 4 Stroke Index 11 Yellow Tees 309m Blue Tees 301m Red Tees 264m


Cabopino Golf course review Malaga Spain Andalusia Costa del Sol

The first tee sits in an amphitheatre of immense stone block walls towering all around giving the feeling that you are in a stadium! The tee sits high above the green which lays just over 300m ahead of you. Out of bounds high on the right, a long way on the right it would require a pretty terrible shot to pump one over the fence. On the left and above you is the buggy drop off, and the clubhouse. The fairway sits at the bottom of the valley formed by the banking on either side of the fairway making for an inviting opening shot.


I reached for the driver, JW cautioned me that it is a tricky chip shot into the green and a fuller shot is the best option. Out came the 3 wood, a few moments later my ball speared off at a 45 degree angle to the right never to be seen again. I took the walk of shame back to the buggy to reload and try again!


In hindsight I would urge you all to take the big stick and lash it as close to the green as possible. This 1st fairway is probably the widest on the golf course, the steep decline towards the green means that with a few good bounces you can get a seriously long way down there. Just the satisfaction of nailing one down the first compensates for the fiddly chip into the green!


The bunkers on the right of the fairway start about 110m for the green. The green is a very small target! A large gnarly bunker sits on the right front of the green 25m short of the putting surface.


A shallow, wide green makes an elusive target. Like many of the greens at Cabopino Golf the green is composed of two tiers. It is very important to keep your ball below the hole. The greens are too good to treat casually. Three putts will ambush you in the blink of an eye such is the speed and complexity of these excellent putting surfaces.


Cabopino Golf Hole 2

Par 4 Stroke Index 12 Yellow Tees 275m Blue Tees 263m Red Tees 244m


Cabopino Golf course review Malaga Spain Andalusia Costa del Sol

A short par 4 playing uphill. OOB on either side of the fairway. The sides of the fairway are steeply banked making it unlikely that you can hit it high enough to fly over the boundary fence on the left.

Steeply banked on the left, unlikely to OOB left due to the steep banking. take line as tight to the cart path on the right and bash it as far up the hill as you possibly can.

Trees will help stop errant shots going to the right, equally high banking making OOB to the right less worrisome.


Uphill all the way from the tee to the green, the slope alone adds forty metres to the playing length. Fifteen metres from the green the incline increases to form a bank 3m tall defending the front access to the green. This short 275m par 4 probably has a real playing length of 330m. Good use of the terrain from the designers!


The green sits surrounded by apartments high above the stone walls that mark the periphery of the course . The green is large, running steeply from the back of the green to the front. The putting surface looks great with a marked contrast in texture when looking down the grain as opposed to against the grain.


Cabopino Golf Hole 3

Par 4 Stroke Index 13 Yellow Tees 288m Blue Tees 287m Red Tees 230m


Cabopino Golf course review Malaga Spain Andalusia Costa del Sol

The view driving to the 3rd tee is incredible. An elevated tee, the fairway cascades down the mountain slope to the green below. Out of bounds is 20m right of the fairway on the right, once past the headland above you on the left the landing area becomes very generous and makes this a green that is worth having a go at.

We wait for a few minutes for the players ahead of us to putt out and we both unleash our drives. JW popped over the fence to the right and I pulled mine 30m to the left. At least mine was still in the land of the living!


From the left side the green presents a long slender target with a scalloped frontal edge. A large bunker guards the front access. This bunker is a good place to leave your drive as the bunkers are so good that the splash shot onto the green is pretty straight forward.


A well contoured fast green provides a robust defence; this hole is tougher than the view from the tee box suggested.


Cabopino Golf Hole 4

Par 4 Stroke Index 9 Yellow Tees 243m Blue Tees 231m Red Tees 210m


Cabopino Golf course review Malaga Spain Andalusia Costa del Sol

A short but technical dog leg to the right par four. Steep banking on the left thick with trees and bushes will likely not trouble you in fact the terrain of the first cut of rough is likely to nudge balls back to the fairway. The river bed on the right of the fairway is out of bounds adding a frisson of self doubt as I stand on the tee box and contemplate this shot.


With John’s counsel we agree that the best line to take is on the left side of the fairway with a club that will achieve around 200m. My 2 iron duly delivered and I found myself with a simple wedge into the green.


A relatively small green will welcome your second shot. A bunker on the front left might also welcome it if you do not hit it properly! Missing on the right and you will be perilously close to the red staked boundary.


After three greens I can share with you a good tip. if you are reading your putt and the grass seems shiny then you are putting down grain and it will be fast! Conversely if the grass appears to be a matt green then you are against the grain and the putt will be slower. The grain here makes a big difference.


Cabopino Golf Hole 5

Par 4 Stroke Index 1 Yellow Tees 378m Blue Tees 352m Red Tees 312m


Cabopino Golf course review Malaga Spain Andalusia Costa del Sol

Very narrow fairway with the high point on the left side, on top of the banking reside trees and foliage. The cart path crosses the fairway in the distance, fifty metres short of this cart path marks the widest point of the fairway and the best place to position your drive. A tree stands on the right edge of the fairway 30m short of the crossing ready to entangle drives and confound access to the green with the second shot.


JW put his drive adjacent to that tree. Intimidated by the prospect of having to hit a straight one I hooked mine over the banking on the left into a different postcode.


There is some good news, the boundary on the right is marked with red stakes and is not out of bounds meaning that a miss to the right is not terminal, also there is a stout fence running along the boundary of the hazard design to keep the wild Boar off the golf course, happily it will also stop balls from going in to the hazard with a bit of luck!


I thought the drive was tough. The second shot is not a great deal easier!

About 150m to the green centre. A long thin target with the red stakes running close to the edge of the green on the right, a series of three bunkers between the green and the penalty area. There is room on the left, The valleys and swales set into the banking on the left of the hole are more attractive than missing to the right but will leave a testing chip and putt.


I made this hole much harder than it needed to be. All it requires are two decent shots that are not massively off line. Play for the widest parts of the hole, settle for a five and move on. Discretion is the better part of valour here. Unchecked this hole could easily be a card burner!


Cabopino Golf Hole 6

Par 4 Stroke Index 10 Yellow Tees 264m Blue Tees 259m Red Tees 252m


Cabopino Golf course review Malaga Spain Andalusia Costa del Sol

Extremely uphill from this narrow tee box the fairway resembles a peninsula of green reaching for the sky bordered on both sides by attractive apartments and homes. Large nets protect the buildings from being peppered by errant golf balls and also prevent those errant drives from going out of bounds.


The elevation from tee to green will make the playing length of the hole close to 300m. The best strategy from the tee is to give it a hearty bash up the left side to get as far up the hill as you can.


My drive finished 40m short of the green. Such is the incline from my ball to the green that I can only see the top half of the pin. A bunker guards the front right of the green, the front left approach is open to allow running shots access to the dance floor. Hollows and mounds form a horseshoe around the green.


The green runs very fast from the back to the front. Make sure you keep your ball below the flag!


A nice hole and a good chance for a birdie!


Cabopino Golf Hole 7

Par 3 Stroke Index 15 Yellow Tees 149m Blue Tees 134m Red Tees 125m


Cabopino Golf course review Malaga Spain Andalusia Costa del Sol

The 7th tee is basking in warm sunlight, nature’s way congratulating me for making a birdie on the previous hole!


This par three is lined on both sides by trees forming an avenue. The avenue appears to get narrower as it gets closer to the green. The effect of this is to make the hole feel longer than the 149m.


From the tee the green appears to be small. A bunker awaits golf balls that fall short and left.


The green is set obliquely to the tee box, nearest point being front right running to back left.


A fast green with a step running through the middle defends par well. This is a good three if you can get it!


Cabopino Golf Hole 8

Par 4 Stroke Index 6 Yellow Tees 277m Blue Tees 267m Red Tees 221m


Cabopino Golf course review Malaga Spain Andalusia Costa del Sol

A dog leg right, uphill from the tee. Pine trees adorn the left and right of this narrow fairway.


The sensible tee shot here is to hit something 180m to the elbow of the dogleg and also the wide point of the fairway leaving just over 100m into the green.

The foolhardy and Quixotic could take a line across the dogleg and have a go at the green. It is 220m as the crow flies. The chances of making a par using this strategy are close to zero. On this direct line the green would look like a tiny clearing in the pine forest and would be all but impossible to find.

The pine trees surround the green. A bunker guards the right entrance.

My 2 iron tee shot found the corner of the dogleg and left me 106m to the flag. An elementary wedge shot to the centre of the green gave me another birdie. This is a very nice hole.


Cabopino Golf Hole 9

Par 4 Stroke Index 3 Yellow Tees 327m Blue Tees 311m Red Tees 275m


Cabopino Golf course review Malaga Spain Andalusia Costa del Sol

Another dogleg left running up a steep hill. The pine trees line either side of the lovely wide fairway. it would require a poor tee shot to get yourself in serious trouble here.


I found pine. A nasty pull hook to the left in the pines with no clear shot to the green. That’s the thing with these pine trees. Whilst they are beautiful to look at they are also extremely efficient at stopping golf balls dead in their tracks. It is much more important at Cabopino Golf to be straight than long. There is no benefit in being long off the tee unless you are also rifle straight, Those two things rarely go hand in hand!


The elevation on to the green will add 2 or even 3 clubs to the playing distance of your second shot. Take you time and focus. The clubhouse is to the left of the green. You have an appreciative audience, give them something to cheer!

The green is also significantly inclined from front to back with a Mackenzie-esque tier running from left to right across the centre. Downhill putts are scary!


Cabopino Golf Back 9 Holes


Cabopino Golf Hole 10

Par 4 Stroke Index 7 Yellow Tees 327m Blue Tees 314m Red Tees 298m


Cabopino Golf course review Malaga Spain Andalusia Costa del Sol

The view from the 9th green and the 10th tee are worth the green fee! A stunning widescreen view across the Mediterranean. Are those the Pillars of Hercules I can see on my right? Wow!!


A par four running rampant downhill to the green. The Stone Pines again line both sides of the fairway. The line to the green is on the extreme right side. I elected to have a go and bashed an unusually straight drive 20m short of the green with a bunker between my ball and the putting surface. A more cautious line is to hit a 200m teeshot to the elbow of this gentle dogleg right and leave yourself 100m or so into the green.


The fairway is not unduly tight, but the emphasis is on keeping the ball straight. Take the right side of the fairway.


The small green has multiple levels making putting quite challenging. The closer you can get to the hoie with your second shot the better. This is a nice scoring opportunity, but you have to earn it. It’s no pushover.


Cabopino Golf Hole 11

Par 4 Stroke Index 2 Yellow Tees 336m Blue Tees 318m Red Tees 279m


Cabopino Golf course review Malaga Spain Andalusia Costa del Sol

Playing downhill towards the sea affording the familiar heavenly view, this dogleg left par 4 is a tough test. If you go to the right of the pine trees on the right you will find the river bed and be faced with reloading a provisional drive. The pines on the left provide separation from an adjoining fairway and a bail out area for compulsive hookers like me!


The commercial line to take is to the corner of the dogleg, a shot of approx 200m leaving 140m to the green centre below you. A line on the bunkers that reside on the right of the fairway will give a good result.


The green is long and narrow with little room for error on either side. The river bed runs close to the green side with a deep grass bunker providing a last chance for those that miss to the right. The front of the green is the high point, the rear right the low point with a large step running across the surface.


There is a little room short and left of the green for bail outs or layups which might be an option if the trouble close to the right of the green is preying on your mind.


Cabopino Golf Hole 12

Par 5 Stroke Index 5 Yellow Tees 422m Blue Tees 392m Red Tees 279m


Cabopino Golf course review Malaga Spain Andalusia Costa del Sol

An intricate par five. The fairway runs to the left of the green for 230m before turning ninety degrees to the right and crossing a large lake. Pine trees then the out of bounds boundary are on the right.


The best drive is directly at the bunker which sits at the top of this stretch of fairway. You need to hit a minimum of 200m in order to get past the trees on the right and have sight of the second stretch of fairway leading to the green.

I hit a 3 wood to a great spot and had only 200m to the green. The trouble is that the green is tucked away to the left and very difficult to get at. The best strategy is to hit a hybrid over the lake along the right side of the fairway to give you a short and open view of the green with your 3rd shot.


Three thoughtful shots are required to put you in in the middle of the green, at which point things get tricky! This is a fast and voluptuous green! Good luck with that birdie putt!


Cabopino Golf Hole 13

Par 3 Stroke Index 18 Yellow Tees 134m Blue Tees 121m Red Tees 106m


Cabopino Golf course review Malaga Spain Andalusia Costa del Sol

A delightful par three with a semi island green. In my opinion the signature hole here at Cabopino Golf. A delight!


The first thing that strikes you as you look down to the green is the semi island, water all around the front and the right, bunkers on the left. It is a generous green with a huge ridge running through it making the back portion of the green much higher than the front.


There is a canopy of pine trees behind the green and beyond the pines the most fabulous view across the Med, this is breathtaking stuff!


Cabopino Golf Hole 14

Par 5 Stroke Index 4 Yellow Tees 456m Blue Tees 442m Red Tees 403m



Playing back up the hill is a long way! This hole is dominated by the water feature that starts as a green side lake and runs as a brook all the way back to the tee crossing the fairway at its narrowest point 200m from the tee.


You have two clear options when considering the tee shot, only one of them is advisable. The widest part of the fairway arrives at 180m from the tee, this is the sensible choice. At 200m the brook crosses the fairway at its narrowest point, only 15m. Right of the brook is a red staked depression filled with dense vegetation and trees.


Immediately beyond the brook the fairway remains narrow until it widens at 270m from the tee, out of reach for all but the most brutal ball strikers. From that point the fairway narrows again as you approach the lake on the left side.


It just doesn’t make sense to attack the green with your second shot, the lake dominates the left half of the green approach from 60m out and runs in a semi circle all along the left flank and rear of the putting surface. A slender access on the right half of the fairway is the only access. Even though it is a short par 5 it demands to be treated with respect.


A lay up shot 80m short of the green will still leave you a character building pitch into the green. Being a long hitter is not an advantage here.


Cabopino Golf Hole 15

Par 3 Stroke Index 17 Yellow Tees 130m Blue Tees 115m Red Tees 104m


Cabopino Golf course review Malaga Spain Andalusia Costa del Sol

A cracking par 3 similar in look and feel to the 13th, this hole too is dominated by water.


There is no lay up, no bail out, you need to strike your tee shot well and with conviction. The green is vast, maybe the most generous target on the golf course!

Banking surrounds the green giving an amphitheatre effect and a good backstop for nervous tee shots that come off the bottom groove.


The green has more shape than one of Reubens models. This short hole requires you to hit it close in order to be sure of making that par. Another superb hole at Cabopino Golf!


Cabopino Golf Hole 16

Par 4 Stroke Index 14 Yellow Tees 305m Blue Tees 258m Red Tees 274m


Cabopino Golf course review Malaga Spain Andalusia Costa del Sol

A straight hole. Cart path runs on the left of the fairway. The line to take on on the cart path at the point where it disappears from view. Left of the cart path is a deep barranca filled with impenetrable greenery, luckily the border of which is marked with red stakes.


The trouble stops 260m short of the green leaving the green largely open. This is too good a chance to pass up, the strategy here is to eat your spinach and give it a lash at the green.


This is a pretty part of the golf course. As I waited for the green to clear I took a moment to look behind me and once again marvelled at the beauty of both Cabopino Golf and the Costa del Sol. Golf on the Costa del Sol is a sublime experience. Life is good!


Edified by the natural beauty of my surroundings, my lashed driver finished up on the left front edge of the green. I think the only time ever when I have waited for a green to clear and not made a total arse of it!


The green is huge and appears totally flat. It is not. It runs gently but relentlessly from front to back causing your ball to pick up speed the further it goes! A three putt par. Bugger.


Cabopino Golf Hole 17

Par 4 Stroke Index 16 Yellow Tees 268m Blue Tees 258m Red Tees 250m


Cabopino Golf course review Malaga Spain Andalusia Costa del Sol

Uphill and around the corner a dog leg to the left. The cart path again runs up the left with a forested bank replete with deep rough above it.


The tee points you directly at the green and the line to take is on the left at the apex of the corner. The safe line for shorter hitters is to the right of the apex. The out of bounds fence sits on the right of the fairway 20m beyond the short grass. Unless your blow was dreadful the out of bounds will not trouble you!


Although a short par four, the incline again makes difference and adds 40m to the actual playing distance. There is no real danger which gave me sufficient confidence to yield the big stick again and have a go at the green. A mishit out of the heel of the club produced a weak fade which finished 60m from the green.

Bunkers guard the left approaches, a tree sits on the side of the bunker, Another bunker guards the right flank leaving the front right access to the green open. The green is 10m above me as I look at my second shot. The green is the highpoint of the hole, behind the green are trees, beyond the trees the boundary fence.


My drive finished in the first cut on the right of the green and should have been an easy up and down for birdie. The rough got the better of me, my pitch and run shot came high off the face and only covered half the distance intended.


Interesting to note. I had a crack at the green coming up a few metres short and right. My playing partners played shorter drives up the middle and left easy short irons on the green. I left myself a slightly more technical shot, albeit much shorter, yet I was the one who failed to hit the green in regulation. This course will not reward those that attempt to over power it!


Cabopino Golf Hole 18

Par 4 Stroke Index 8 Yellow Tees 305m Blue Tees 291m Red Tees 266m


Cabopino Golf course review Malaga Spain Andalusia Costa del Sol

Spectacular views again from this final tee dominated by the amazing Mediterranean Sea. We are playing back towards the clubhouse, a slight dog leg to the right, downhill. The lakes which dominated the earlier par 5 adorn the left side of the fairway. The line to take is on the extreme right of the fairway taking a bead on a distant electricity tower.


At JW’s recommendation I eschewed the driver and hit a 2 iron on the desired line, and exactly as JW promised, found myself in the centre of the fairway!

The wind is suddenly howling against us as we contemplate our seconds shots. Large bunkers guard the front, left and right flanks. The green is cut into a plateau, dropping away on the left and raising on the right. A huge swale runs through the green making it imperative to find the right half of the green with your second shot or face an almost certain 3 putt.


I have just over 100m to go playing into a strong wind. I need to get the ball to the back right of the green onto the higher tier. After much soul searching a low raking runner with a seven iron seems to be the answer. It wasn’t. Short and front left leaving a bugger of a putt to get to the pin on the back!


Summary


The view from the club house looking over the tops of the pine trees which form a continuous canopy broken only by stripes of fairway give Cabopino a unique and charming quality.


This is a good golf course. It meets its design brief perfectly. It is intended to bring happiness and satisfaction to those golfers who might have a difficult time playing some of the neighbouring Championship layouts.


The greens are a high note at Cabopino Golf, they are remarkable! Fast and true. Eliat Perez, the golf director, took some time to explain to us how they irrigate and maintain the greens to keep them in this amazing condition. The result of years of care are greens that run higher than 11 on the stimpmeter, are receptive to well hit shots, run utterly true and yet have long blade length which in turn protects the surface from wear, pitch marks and spike marks!


The bunkers have just the right amount and density of sand so that you can have the confidence to play full swing splashes just like the Pro’s. I can tell you that confidence breeds success. I really enjoyed playing out of these traps, my bunker play got better and better!


The golf course is in great condition, the greens are superb and conspire with the beautiful setting to forge wonderful memories. If your average tee shot is 200m or less then you will have a good time here. You will be able to reach all of the par 4’s in regulation and have an opportunity for an incredibly rewarding day of golf!


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