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  • Writer's pictureGolf on Costa del Sol

Dona Julia Golf Club Review and Players Guide

Updated: Feb 25

Designed by Antonio Garcia Garrido and opened in 2005 Dona Julia Golf Club is set amongst some of the giants of golf on the Costa del Sol. The neighbours include Finca Cortesin, home to the 2023 Solheim Cup, Valle Romano Golf and a little further afield San Roque Club and Valderrama.


Dona Julia Golf sits perfectly alongside these leviathans offering charming respite from the Quixotic challenges of the above.


Dona Julia Golf is a lush, verdant parkland course of a length most of us can handle. 5629m From the Yellow tees comprised a blend of easy to reach par 4s,a couple of long and tricky par 5s and three monster par 3s!


From the comfortable and informal clubhouse to the greenkeepers that smile and wave as they go by, Dona Julia Golf Club will feel familiar to many of its visitors as it “feels” like the kind of course that we recognise from our home towns!


Perfect for social golf with a range of prices that offer extremely good value Dona Julia Golf Club serves an important niche for Golf on the Costa del Sol.

You can learn more about Dona Julia Golf Club in our articles “The 10 Best Budget Courses on the Costa del Sol” and “The Ultimate Guide to the Estepona Golf Courses”.


Location



Situated close to the coast in the town of Caseras Dona Julia is situated amongst a group of 5 golf courses that serve golfers visiting the Estepona region.

Half an hour from Gibraltar and Marbella, seventy minutes from Malaga airport this golf course is easily accessible from all directions.


Dona Julia Golf Club

Autovía A-7, km 146,

29690

Casares, Málaga

Book your tee times

Please send your booking enquiry here bookings@golfoncostadelsol.com


Clubhouse facilities

  1. Pro shop

  2. Changing room

  3. Bar

  4. Tapas

  5. Menu del Dia

  6. Terrace


Dona Julia Golf – The first nine holes




Hole 1

Par 4 Stroke Index 8 White Tees 358m Yellow Tees 304m Blue Tees 282m Red Tees 277m


It’s early November, 10am on an unusually misty morning. John and I are about to tee off and begin our review of Dona Julia Golf. The problem is that we cannot see very far, the fog is simply refusing to yield to the sun. Please forgive the misty photos, it gets brighter as the rounds progresses!


This opening hole is a short uphill par 4 with out of bounds along the right side of the fairway. It’s important to aim left. The left half of the fairway is steeply banked and will nudge your ball back to the centre right.


The widest point of the fairway is 200m from the tee leaving 95m to the green centre. There is no benefit in hitting it past this point.


The green is elevated with its opening unguarded. A large bunker protects the right of the green. The green presents a very generous target making this opening hole a gentle warm up!


Hole 2

Par 4 Stroke Index 10 White Tees 314m Yellow Tees 309m Blue Tees 292m Red Tees 283m


The view from the tee is dominated by a large bunker on the left of the fairway approximately 180m from the tee.


The left side of the fairway has a shoulder shaped profile which will again nudge drives back to the right and towards a sneaky fairway bunker parallel with the large bunker opposite. The fairway narrows a little beyond this point but still leaves sufficient space for all but the most curved of tee shots. Out of bounds along the right is a consideration but should not cause tension from the tee.


The green is long and narrow with a large bunker on the right. A more difficult target to find than the 1st green, this second hole gets you prepared for the spectacular 3rd !


Hole 3

Par 3 Stroke Index 18 White Tees 140m Yellow Tees 125m Blue Tees 79m Red Tees 71m


The 3rd tee is tucked away to the right giving you a shot over a densely vegetated chasm of Mother Nature’s best work! It’s only 125m with plenty of bail out room to the left of the putting surface, yet to me it looks so imposing!


Four cavernous bunkers guard the left, front and right flanks of the large green. The target is so generous that my fear is soon allayed. How hard can it be to find such a big target from such a short range?


Peering into the murky fog I watched John’s dismal tee shot disappear into the bushes along with a sizeable divot. Perhaps it’s harder than it looks!


The secret to this hole is not to be intimidated by the hazards. Take a lofted club and swing confidently there is plenty of perfectly manicured green waiting for you!



Hole 4

Par 4 Stroke Index 14 White Tees 319m Yellow Tees 313m Blue Tees 290m Red Tees 282m


I notice that there are some long buggy rides between green and tee. Whilst the terrain is comfortably walkable, I would recommend a buggy. We cross a bridge and drive to the 4th tee.


A dog leg to the left running uphill this hole presents another generous fairway. The elbow and widest part of the fairway arrives at 170m for the tee leaving 110m to the green centre.


Out of bounds along the right side of the fairway will only affect very errant drives. On the left of the fairway separated by a line of trees and rough is the 10th.


The inside of the dogleg is protected by bunkers at 150m and 190m from the tee respectively. The longest hitters might cut the corner and fly the ball directly at the green, too much risk and not enough reward for my taste!


John’s drive over ran the fairway and finished in the first cut of sticky dew sodden rough on the right just 90m away from the flag. Overhanging trees forced him to hit a long bump and run with a 3 wood into the green.


My tee shot was awful, a 2 iron blocked 45 degrees to the right looked certain to leave the confines of the golf course. Fortunately for me a helpful palm tree diverted my ball back into the fairway 140m from the green! JW congratulated me on my good fortune (not)! My 8 iron missed the green on the left, plenty of room there and we both escaped with a par.


A very kind hole!


Hole 5

Par 5 Stroke Index 6 White Tees 494m Yellow Tees 466m Blue Tees 454m Red Tees 446m


From the tee you can see the obvious out of bounds running up the right. The right side is banked and will help to keep your ball in play. At its widest point the fairway is about 80m wide. The line of trees running along the left of the fairway obscures a steep bank which drops 5m down towards the adjacent 8th fairway.


The line to take from the tee is on the right half of the fairway. Provided that you don’t curve the ball wildly to the right it will be gathered by the bank and delivered to the centre line of the fairway.


230m from the tee the fairway drops to a lower level. The ridge of the fairway is marked by two knolls on either side upon which sits a tree.


Our drives reached the ridge line leaving us with 230m over the saddle shaped fairway to where the green rises to receive incoming shots.


The steep bank on the left provides the trouble for the second shots if you are going to take on the green. It’s so thick that it is marked with red stakes and really needs to be avoided. There is plenty of room on the right half of the fairway to layup to favourite wedge range. I can imagine that more birdies are recorded here as a result of chipping it close than there are as a result of trying to reach on 2!


My second shot went further than I intended leaving me with 60m to the flag. A well struck wedge left JW no alternative than to “gimme” the putt for a birdie!

With the first birdie of the day the sea mist starts to lift, the sun lights up the terrain and Dona Julia Golf starts to look rather wonderful!


Hole 6

Par 4 Stroke Index 12 White Tees 294m Yellow Tees 287m Blue Tees 274m Red Tees 260m


A short par 4 running up hill with an apartment complex running along the periphery on the right.


The next tee sits above the green, its beautiful stone wall giving the perfect line for this tee shot. There is a tree in the middle of the fairway 180m from the tee. My drive went over the tree and came to rest perfectly centred in the fairway. The uphill slope makes the hole play about 20m longer than its length suggests. A bunker 40m short of the green on the left will catch a few drives. A bunker located in the mouth of the green 30m from the flag will catch big drives that fall heroically short and a plethora of mis-hit second shots whilst sand traps on the left and right complete its defences.


This hole only asks you for a decent tee shot in order to harvest an easy par or better. Enjoy!



Hole 7

Par 4 Stroke Index 16 White Tees 278m Yellow Tees 273m Blue Tees 257m Red Tees 249m


Playing from an elevated tee, the hole runs further uphill offering another lovely plump fairway to aim at! Even though the mist still loiters I am really enjoying Dona Julia Golf, short wide par 4s abound making the experience most flattering!


A reasonable drive has left us both with a flick into the green. The front of the green is open, large bunkers guard the left and right. The out of bounds perimeter runs along the right side of the fairway, but you would have to curve the ball badly for it to affect you. Similarly there is a bunker on the right half way up the fairway, that might save the odd tee shot from leaving the golf course but otherwise will not come into play.


As the sun burns through the mist the greens are quickening but are not terrifyingly fast. In fact they are perfectly judged to allow the members and visitors to enjoy!


Hole 8

Par 5 Stroke Index 2 White Tees 612m Yellow Tees 576m Blue Tees 546m Red Tees 524m


The 8th tee is one of the highest points on Dona Julia Golf. If it were not for the sea mist I am certain that the view out to sea would be stunning!


The par 4’s may well be flattering. This par 5 is a beast! Running steeply downhill from the tee, this hole gives the impression of being narrow with out of bounds along the right and trouble in the form of trees and dense banked vegetation on the left.


The fairway is cut into 3 platforms or steps as it descends towards the green. The first provides a flat landing area 150m to 200m from the tee before it drops 4 or 5m to the second step, the second providing a landing area for the longer drives 240m to 290m at which point a bunker cuts into the fairway from the right.

The sensible option is to lay up with your second shot to the widest point of the fairway which is 110m short of the green. If you attempt to reach in two the banked thick rough on the left provides an excellent screen for the green demanding a perfectly struck powerful blow.


A long slender green with a large needle shaped bunker along its left edge puts a premium on direction accuracy for all incoming shots.


An excellent par 5 which presents you with many choices. Choose wisely and a gratifying par or better is your reward.


Hole 9

Par 4 Stroke Index 4 White Tees 377m Yellow Tees 346m Blue Tees 338m Red Tees 285m


This is a stunning hole! Playing into a valley with out of bounds on top of a bank may be 50m high on your right. On the left is a gully thick with trees and vegetation, so deep is the gully that as you walk along the fairway it is only the top half of the tree tops you can see! Such a beautiful valley!


There is a tree in the right half of the fairway about 40m short of the green, that is the best line to take. Having selected the best line I hooked mine viscously to the left deep into the vegetation and watched JW play it properly!


The fairway reaches its low point 40m from the green where it rises 3m to the green. Long narrow bunkers snake along the left side and right rear of the green. It’s a big target with a bail out area just short and to the right of the green. Not an easy par. Another superb hole!



Hole 10

Par 4 Stroke Index 1 White Tees 413m Yellow Tees 406m Blue Tees 338m Red Tees 315m

Driving towards the yellow tee boxes on this 10th tee I stopped at the Whites to get an idea of the challenge faced by the pros and low handicappers. The gap through which they have to fly their drives is hopelessly small. Antonio Garcia Garrido has very cleverly designed a few holes at Dona Julia Golf which will defend the course’s honour and mitigate the easier scoring par 4s!


This stroke 1 hole is an absolute cracker! The message you get looking down the fairway from the tee boxes is one of menace. A pencil slim fairway that seems to extend to the horizon, amazonian vegetation touching the right side of the fairway for the first 250m whereupon it abruptly ends and a great lake takes over guard duty!


The car path marks the left side and boundary line. The left half of the fairway is banked sloping towards the centre. A lone tree stands sentinel in the centre of the fairway at 220m. The line to take is at the impossibly slender left half of the fairway.


Both John and I did not aim far enough to the left with our tee shots. John’s ball finished on the back of the bunker located on the right of the fairway which catches tee shots before they find the lake. Mine carried the bunker and met a watery fate.


A better strategy is to hit your tee shot to approximately 220m from the tee laying up short of the bunker and the tree, the downside is that you will leave yourself with 280m into the green which might make it a three shot hole for many of us.

The lake runs from just behind the fairway bunker 150m short of the green all the way to the front of the green, an omni-present feature all the way along the right edge of the fairway!


There is no easy lay up position until you reach the green where a bail out area on the left provides scant sanctuary.


The green is mid sized but is very difficult to find due to the difficulty of the hole. I made a hopeless mess of it. I look forward to having another go at this hole. A par here will be very satisfying!


Hole 11

Par 3 Stroke Index 17 White Tees 152m Yellow Tees 148m Blue Tees 124m Red Tees 115m


Back across the road bridge to get to the 11th tee. A very pretty par 3 which demands a good shot.


Set in a cul de sac of Mediterranean flora this hole commands your focus. Out of bounds on the left and thick rough dense with trees and bushes on the right means your only view is of the green. Playing slightly uphill to a banked green which drops off to the left there is only one option, find the putting surface.

A 40m long but thin bunker partially guards the entrance and left side of the green and will save some tee shots from a terminal fate if hit slightly left of the target.


The green is quite small with a 1m tier running across its centre making it important to hit your tee shot to the correct half of the green.


Twenty metres past the green is a single bunker. It looks as though the green has been reduced in size or moved as this bunker looks like it was once guarding the back of the green. This corresponds with the reading given by my Garmin GPS device which on this hole was reading 15 m too long. John’s Bushnell laser device exactly matched the number on the tee box.


Hole 12

Par 3 Stroke Index 6 White Tees 180m Yellow Tees 176m Blue Tees 171m Red Tees 167m


From the 11th green to the 12th tee is a long buggy ride leaving the confines of Dona Julia Golf course and threading through a derelict apartment construction site.


We’re at a high point again on the golf course and now finally for the first time today we can appreciate the view of the Costa del Sol. The Mediterranean is twinkling away in the distance beyond the green. The mountains are now in sharp focus behind us. Playing golf on the Costa del Sol is a wonderful experience!


A long and wide open par 3, slightly downhill with a huge bunker protecting the front left, another on the back of the green. There are bunkers left and right of the fairway about 40m before the green. They won’t come into play unless you hit a stinker!


The green is very large which is fair as it will require a long iron, hybrid or wood from the tee for most players. Our tee shots finished on the front apron. JW won a bet for a coffee on who could get their chip the closest, we both saved par.



Hole 13

Par 3 Stroke Index 3 White Tees 207m Yellow Tees 195m Blue Tees 179m Red Tees 170


The third in a row! I don’t think I have ever experienced three par 3s in succession before. For some players this might be a run of holes where a good score can be consolidated. Sadly I am dreadful at dealing with par 3’s in general, and this one has all the hallmarks of being another bogey!


This hole is immense! Markedly uphill playing 207m!!!


No need for bunkers or trees to defend this hole. The sheer length and gradient take care of that! Lots of room to the left. A hill sits on the right on top of which is the out of bounds marker. In my opinion this out of bounds will not come o to play as it requires a high shot to get over the mound and a long way to the right. I was wrong! JW managed to do just that, his 3 wood shot leapt off the top of his club and disappeared at a 45 degree angle over the hill and far away! At least I got one hole back!


My own 3 wood effort was pretty miserable, low, from the lowest groove on the club face it made to 20m short of the putting surface. A very big green awaits. All of the greens here at Dona Julia Golf run very true, they don’t wobble off line. Each green is also multi contoured making long putts most challenging.


Hole 14

Par 5 Stroke Index 13 White Tees 500m Yellow Tees 493m Blue Tees 478m Red Tees 472m


This is a blind tee shot. You need to pick a line and commit to it. The fairway crests about 40m in front of the tee forcing you to launch your drive into the blue yonder!


There is a tree on the left about 160m from the tee which is the perfect line. The fairway will kick your ball to the right. At 250m the fairway ends and drops down to another plateau. John’s drive, as usual, was right on the top and centre of the fairway, mine as usual was a little to the right and partially down the hill.


A lake sits 30m off the fairway centre line 180m short of the green. This might affect your options for the second shot, option 1, lay up 180m short before the lake and in the widest part of the fairway but leaving a very long shot into the green, 2, hit a lay up shot of 150m just short of the bunker on the right of the fairway and leave 100m to the flag, 3, go for the green in with your second shot.


Both JW and I had 225m to go. We both hit 3 woods directly at the green as there was no risk in doing so. I found the bunker guarding the front of the green and John had a simple chip up the bank. This is a great par 5, it offers you several different options and is a genuine scoring opportunity.


Hole 15

Par 4 Stroke Index 15 White Tees 314m Yellow Tees 309m Blue Tees 288m red Tees 273m


The lake which adorned the right of the previous hole is now a much bigger feature for this tee shot. Don’t worry, the ball only has to stay airborne for 80m metres in order to remain dry!


Lots of room on this fairway. The cart path runs along the left side of this ascending fairway. Palm trees on the side of the cart path denote the periphery of the golf course. The right side of the fairway is shaped like a bowl and will roll your ball back towards the centre. A bunker sits on the right edge of the fairway 190m for the tee.


Nothing to worry about with this tee shot, give it a good bash and see how far you can hit it! For the absurdly long hitter this is a green that is worth taking on as there is room on the right to play with. For the rest of us a decent knock up the fairway will leave a short shot into this large green. Not much can go wrong if you avoid the bunker on the left edge of the green. A very pleasing hole.



Hole 16

Par 4 Stroke Index 7 White Tees 344m Yellow Tees 302m Blue Tees 279m Red Tees 268m

We are playing this hole slightly forward of the yellow tee, giving us 262m downhill to the green. I fancy having a bash at this! It did not work out for me – I pushed it slightly to the right and missed the golf course!


This is a very enticing drive, the gentle downhill gradient, only one bunker on the right, it can provoke you into making a bad decision!


Whilst it is in range for long hitters it is quite narrow. JW wisely laid up with a 3 wood to the widest part of the fairway and hit a straightforward chip to a couple of metres from the stick. This is another great chance to build to score.


Hole 17

Par 5 Stroke Index 11 White Tees 515m Yellow Tees 479m Blue Tees 467m Red Tees 455m


A short ride down the hill to the 17th tee and a blind tee shot. This dog leg left has out of bounds along the left side where a complex of attractive homes are situated.


A tall fence protecting the residents from errant drives making cutting the corner with your drive unlikely.


We both hit 3 woods from the tee skirting the left edge of the fairway. There is out of bounds on the right too, however you need to be a long way off line to discover it! A bunker set in the right side of the fairway marks the outside corner of the dog leg 210m for the tee.


The fairway narrows at 250m from the tee where a large bunker encroaches from the left.


You will see a large lake with a fountain behind and to the right of the green, short of the lake 80m from the green and also on the right is a bunker waiting to catch your second shot.


We both hit mid irons to lay up alongside this bunker leaving us both with simple wedge shots into the flag. The left of the green is defended by a shallow bank with thick sticky rough, very difficult to play from.

Hole 18

Par 3  Stroke Index 4 White Tees 210m Yellow Tees 148m Blue Tees 125m Red Tees 114m


By far this is the most difficult par 3 I have ever played. What an amazing hole to finish on!


We played this hole from the white tees. 210m of carry to cross the lake that defends this green. Tall palm trees line the left meaning that you either have to be able to hit the ball absolutely straight or fabricate a shot that curves right to left.


From the forward tees it is a little more friendly but still gives you no bail out area and asks you to fly the bll all the way. This hole is designed to frighten you and it does a great job. I can’t imagine how many great scores and great matches have come to an end in the lake!


The green is very large with a pronounced tier running across it. Banks at the back will stop over hit shots from disappearing which is very fair as many players will have to take a lot more club to be sure of flying over the water.


As always the green runs very true at a pace that instils confidence. A terrific finishing hole!


Summary


I enjoyed Dona Julia Golf. It is amongst the most friendly set-ups of all of the golf courses on the Costa del Sol. Dona Julia Golf’s friendly layout means that poor shots are not terminally punished, recovery is always an option which makes Dona Julia perfect for fun relaxed golf.


Dona Julia Golf is a course that will not consume a lot of golf balls. The rough does its job well and will make recovery shots difficult, certainly not impossible and will not cause you to lose many balls.


A thoughtfully designed golf course that makes its members and guests feel good whilst providing more than a challenge for those who elect to play from the back tees. The greens are contoured in such a way as to bear a strong similarity in feel and play to Antonio Garcia Garrido’s other well known courses on the Costa del Sol, La Quinta and the Flamingos course  at Villa Padierna Golf Club.


Dona Julia Golf fills an important niche amongst the Costa del Sols golf courses in this area perfect for visiting societies and groups and priced very competitively this will give you a great day.


If you are staying in this area of the Costa del Sol then I can recommend Dona Julia Golf.


You can send you booking enquiries to us at this email address: bookings@golfoncostadelsol.com.


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