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  • Writer's pictureGolf on Costa del Sol

El Paraiso Golf – Players Guide and Review

Updated: Feb 29

David Ramos the Golf Director at El Paraiso Golf has very kindly arranged for us to play today with long serving Professional Daniel Westermark. I have to say this is a privilege for me. Danny has been attached to El Paraiso Golf for 46 years! I remember watching Danny when he was a full card holder on the European Tour back in the mid 1990s’s. Danny has enjoyed success on the Spanish Tour, The Challenge Tour, The European Tour, The Seniors Tour and has tee’d it up in 2 majors. Danny’s career in golf is so varied and colorful that we have dedicated a full interview with him which we will publish soon.


Danny, John and I are all about the same age. This will be a unique chance to see how our games compare to that of a tournament professional as he guides us around El Paraiso Golf and learn about the remarkable golf course and some of its history.


el paraiso golf course review

El Paraiso Golf Club is one of Costa del Sol’s most established golf courses and also one of its best known. Designed by Gary Player and opened in 1973 the members and management of this great golf club are preparing for an upcoming celebration. El Paraiso Golf Club will celebrate its 50th birthday in 2023. In preparation for this landmark event much work is being carried out to make El Paraiso Golf Club “perfect” and cement its reputation amongst the most important golf courses on the Costa Del Sol.


El Paraiso Golf is not difficult to walk. The distances from tee to green are short, there are only a couple of hills to climb. The pace of play for a four ball is around the four hour mark which is very good.


Everything is in place for a delightful round of golf!


Location



Situated midway between the popular resorts towns of Marbella and Estepona, El Paraiso Golf is easy to access from all areas of the Costa Del Sol. Less than 60km from both Malaga airport and Gibraltar it is centrally located and easy to find for all visitors playing golf on the Costa del Sol.


Facilities

  1. Buggies

  2. Electric trolleys

  3. Hand trolleys

  4. Rental clubs

  5. Chipping green

  6. Putting green

  7. Driving range


Clubhouse

  1. Showers

  2. Changing rooms

  3. Pro Shop

  4. Bar

  5. Restaurant

  6. Indoor and outdoor seating

  7. Group functions

  8. Snack Menu

  9. Al la Carte menu


Cost


As with all of the golf courses on the Costa del Sol the green fee rates vary with season. There are often deals and packages available for visiting golfers and societies that make El Paraiso Golf extremely good value. Please see our discount green fee page for details. Memberships are also available.


The first 9 Holes


Hole 1

White tees 292m, Yellow tees 286m, Blue tees 260m, Red tees 241m Par 4, Stroke Index 14

Danny is preparing for some upcoming Pro-Am events, so today we are playing El Paraiso Golf from the yellow stones giving us the full length of the yellow course. As Danny points out “There is no trickery here, what you see is what you get. You can stand on every tee and the hole will tell you what to do.” The 1st is no exception, with a water hazard crossing the fairway around 150 yards from the tee running up the right hand side of the fairway the obvious shot is to hit a straight drive directly at the green. The biggest obstacle here is the thought of the water in front of you. Ignore it! Your ball will soar into the distance.


The playing surfaces are exemplary. The green is defended by front bunkers left and right leaving the opening unobstructed. The green itself is a beautiful putting surface. I did not spot a single blemish or pitch mark on this green or any of the others, a credit to the members and greens staff!


The opening hole gives golfers of all abilities and driver length a fair chance of a Par or net Par and settles you into the round quickly.


Hole 2

White tees 353m, Yellow tees 345m, Blue tees 313m, Red tees 299m Par 4, Stroke Index 2


Feeling warm and fuzzy after a comfortable Par on the first, fear gripped me when I viewed the 2nd. From the tee this is a very daunting prospect.


The hole is a dog leg left to right running steeply uphill and plays longer than its 345m. Danny started his drive up the left centre of the fairway and shaped it with an Hogan-esque fade to the centre of the fairway. In a desperate effort to emulate him I hit a banana miles to the right in the tree dotted rough.


The rough here is not a nightmare – it’s not going to ruin your day.I found my ball between the trees with nothing blocking my way, the lie was not ideal – but that happens when you miss the fairway. In most cases if you miss the fairway here at El Paraiso the golf course will give you a chance to put it right – a hallmark of great design.


The severity of the incline to the green demands that you club up by 2. The green is deep with a tier running across the middle sloping from back to front. If you find yourself above the cup you will have a very dainty put down the hill!


Don’t be short with your approach shot. If you don’t reach the putting surface the ball will roll backwards. Danny’s second shot spun off the front apron about 15 metres back down the fairway.


A bunker sited mid way up the green on the right and two deep greenside bunkers on the left complete the defences making this a very tough hole. It’s much easier to make a bogey here than it is to save a Par!


Hole 3

White tees 432m, Yellow tees 401m, Blue tees 358m, Red tees 356m Par 4, Stroke Index 6


El Paraiso Golf Resort Estepona Costa del Sol Andalusia Spain golf course review

We are at the highest point of the golf course. The views are amazing across the valley, sea and mountainous backdrop.


Now we play down the hill that we just climbed. A spectacular looking Par 4. The line from the tee is the right edge of the orange apartments you can see on the opposing hillside. The safe place to bail out is to the right. Out of bounds left, although it is not a concern from the tee unless you have the kind of hook that would concern Peter Pan.


Here’s one of the many great things about El Paraiso Golf, every hole, except the Par 3’s is a driver off the tee. It’s a testament to a great design that amateur golfers and professionals alike are given a fair chance of finding the fairway.


Danny’s drive was on the left edge of the fairway, with 110m remaining he safely navigated the large left hand greenside bunker and put it to 4 feet. I was not so lucky, I hit my wedge over the back right of the green and left myself a tricky chip and putt to save Par. The green here is very generous, it is the only thing you focus on from the fairway. A well struck shot will usually find the safety of the putting surface.


Green runs very true and fast. Today the greens are running at 10 on the Stimpmeter and they feel quicker than that!


Hole 4

White tees 367m, Yellow tees 352m, Blue tees 321m, Red tees 300m, Par 4, Stroke Index 14


El Paraiso Golf Resort Estepona Costa del Sol Andalusia Spain golf course review

This is a straight Par 4 with fairway bunkers in range from the tee. The best line is the left hand greenside bunker.


There is out of bounds on the left which will only worry you if you hit a terrible hook.


The fairway bunker cuts two thirds of the way across the fairway and is perfectly placed to do its job! This is a generous landing area for your drives. From the treeline on the left to the treeline on the right is approximately 80m, lots of room. It looks tight from the tee but in fact it is very kind.


A generous green awaits you. No huge breaks. Protected by bunkers on each side the frontal access to the green is open giving a little relief to those low running approaches.


A great approach yields a straight forward birdie for Danny. 2 under Par. He does make it look easy.


Hole 5

White tees 178m, Yellow tees 173m, Blue tees 145m, Red tees 127m, Par 3, Stroke Index 18


El Paraiso Golf Resort Estepona Costa del Sol Andalusia Spain golf course review

A downhill Par 3. I like the way this hole is designed. I am not great at dealing with Par 3’s in general, I find that they tend to make me focus on their hazards. This hole is different, the green is the centre of one’s focus, it inspires you to swing with confidence. The bunkers both left and right are dangerous, but I just know that today my destination is going to be right in the middle of the dance floor.

Daniel found the front bunker, splashed out to 2 feet and saved Par. My vision came true! Two metres from the pin gave me my first birdie of the day!


This is a huge green, probably 4 clubs difference from the front to the back, 15 meters wide to boot. Don’t miss it on the right, if you catch the cart path it could lead you into the lake. Left is tough and rough.


Hole 6

White tees 442m, Yellow tees 435m, Blue tees 395m, Red tees 383m, Par 5, Stroke Index 10


El Paraiso Golf Resort Estepona Costa del Sol Andalusia Spain golf course review

My first impression is of impending doom. This looks like a tough driving hole. It’s a dog leg left. The corner of the dog leg is protected by pine trees, the ambitious amongst us need to drive over these trees in order to dominate the hole. There is out of bounds close by on the left, the trees will save those hooked tee shots and will collect them in the rough.


Visible directly ahead and to the right of the fairway is a large lake with a fountain in the middle. Most players can hit directly at the small palm tree on the far side of the lake. Long hitters beware, you can reach the water. If you bail out to the right as I did you will find a fairway bunker short of the lake and over that bunker is a little stream marked as a lateral water hazard.


If you hit a good shot and find the fairway you are rewarded with a chance to reach the green. Bunkers guard the left and right sides of the green leaving a narrow area to run the ball in. The left bunker is above the green, the right below. Long and left are the safe options for those able to reach in two.


If you lay up then aim at the left hand bunker. Your ball will run down to the right but you will be saved from the lake by a friendly fairway bunker.


This is a tough hole, absolutely fair and rewards well hit shots. The bunkers on this hole and indeed all over the course are breathtakingly good. All are well placed to do their job, all are immaculate with a dense sand that gives a firm playing surface which allows you to hit the ball hard and generate some spin.


Hole 7

White tees 157m, Yellow tees 173m, Blue tees 134m, Red tees 124m, Par 3, Stroke Index 16


El Paraiso Golf Resort Estepona Costa del Sol Andalusia Spain golf course review

This pretty Par 3 is dominated by its beautiful green which offers a large target sloping from the back to the front in the style of a “MacKenzie green”. The right side is protected by an ornate creek. You need to keep yourself below the hole!

The greenside bunker on the left provides a safe haven for those that are afraid of the water. As a general rule, if you find the water you can expect a double bogey, if you find the left hand greenside bunker a bogey is your likely score. Middle of this perfect, generous green and a Par is yours for the taking. It simply could not be fairer than that!


Hole 8

White tees 342m, Yellow tees 328m, Blue tees 302m, Red tees 274m, Par 4, Stroke Index 8


El Paraiso Golf Resort Estepona Costa del Sol Andalusia Spain golf course review

From the tee you can see a creek that runs up the right of the fairway along with a fairway bunker. Long hitters can carry the bunker. Safe line is to the left of it. In fact there are a group of trees on the left of the fairway – most players can aim at those. It is a beautiful looking hole. In fact El Paraiso Golf is a beautiful golf course! My overriding impression is that everything here is so well presented, nothing is out of place, the playing surfaces, the rough, the sand, everything is cared for and in terrific condition.


The left side of the green is open ready to receive your approach shots. Front right is guarded by a bunker. Plenty of green to aim at makes for an inviting second shot. The secret here as on many holes at El Paraiso Golf is to get the right shot from the tee.


Hole 9

White tees 381m Yellow tees 371m Blue tees 352m Red tees 341m Par 4 Stroke Index 4


El Paraiso Golf Resort Estepona Costa del Sol Andalusia Spain golf course review

A very imposing hole from the tee. There is a creek which runs alongside the left of the fairway. At around 70 metres from the green the creek runs across the fairway providing deadly protection to the green. The creek crosses the fairway at an angle meaning the further right you go the closer to the green runs the creek.

There is also a fairway bunker on the right side of the fairway making the placement of your drive a little tougher.


A good line is to aim at the bridge crossing the creek. Like all of the holes at El Paraiso Golf there is no trickery. From the tee the hole tells you exactly what needs to be done. El Paraiso Golf always rewards good shots. I think that is the essence of a great design.


So Daniel found the fairway bunker off the tee and I’m in the fairway. There are no bunkers protecting the green, the creek is doing a good enough job! That’s all the protection it needs. Most players will have a second shot of 160 to 190 metres. If you cannot carry the creek then simply play it as a Par 5.


If you miss the green to the right you are doomed to a watery fate, missing it left gives you a little room to scramble for an up and down Par save. Danny carried the lake but finished short of the green with his second shot. My 6 iron found the front left edge leaving me a long two putt for Par.


Danny made easy work of saving Par, I did not. 2 under Par for Danny at the turn.


El Paraiso Golf Resort Estepona Costa del Sol Andalusia Spain golf course review

The last 9 Holes


Hole 10

White tees 331m, Yellow tees 325m, Blue tees 298m, Red tees 286m, Par 4, Stroke Index 11

This is a great looking Par 4. Out of bounds on the left, only the extreme hookers need worry. The hole runs downhill to where the fairway bunkers are located then rises towards the welcoming green.


El Paraiso Golf Resort Estepona Costa del Sol Andalusia Spain golf course review

The line to take is to keep it left of the fairway bunker on the right side of the fairway. Remember to add an extra club or two for the uphill second shot to get to the middle of the green. It is a very large target and you could easily find yourself with a putt of 20 or 30 metres!


This new 10th green is breathtaking; it must be 35 meters in width; 45-50 meters deep with a tier in the front third rising about 1 meter and undulating in every direction. This is a fabulous green forming a natural stadium with the banking around the sides and back.


Hole 11

White tees 395m, Yellow tees 389m, Blue tees 337m, Red tees 312m, Par 4, Stroke Index 7


El Paraiso Golf Resort Estepona Costa del Sol Andalusia Spain golf course review

Looking down the fairway from the vantage point of the 11th tee reinforces what beauty is surrounding you at El Paraiso Golf on the Costa del Sol. The view across the valley is dominated by the mountains in the background. As residents we probably get used to our surroundings. For visiting golfers enjoying holiday golf on the Costa del Sol, escaping the rain and cold of northern Europe this must be heaven!


A generous fairway with room on the left, although if you go left of the bushes you are dead – out of bounds. The fairway slopes to the right towards a fairway bunker. The bunker is in range for longer hitters.


All of the newly built greens are large. This one is no exception. The lower tier of the green occupies a third of the putting surface the higher tier is two thirds. The front of the green is guarded by bunkers on the left and right leaving a small opening.


The green is vast, diagonally from the front to the back is around 50m. The back left of the green is tucked away and is the natural place to put the flag on competition days. This clever design allows El Paraiso Golf to set up the course to defy any standard of golfer. The care that has gone into the design of the new greens is plain to see and I think can be considered the highlight of El Paraiso Golf Club.


Hole 12

White tees 339m, Yellow tees 303m, Blue tees 285m, Red tees 271m, Par 4, Stroke Index 13


El Paraiso Golf Resort Estepona Costa del Sol Andalusia Spain golf course review

A great driving hole. About 60 metres in front of the tee is a narrow point through which your drive must pass. A safety net protects the houses on the left. The line to take through the middle of this pinch point is directly on the greenside bunkers. The fairway opens up on the left giving a generous landing area whilst still able to generate fear and trepidation as you stand on the tee!


The fairway bunker on the right is in range for some players. I succumbed to the pressure of the tee shot and hit it right. No harm done, but I am left with a shot into the green which takes me directly over two large greenside bunkers protecting the green’s flank. Right of the green is a very attractive lake with Ducks, Black Swans, Hoopoes and more. Beautiful.


Danny hit a gentle draw off the tee placing him perfectly in the fairway. His reward was an easy approach to the flag and 3 under Par.


Again a highlight of this hole is the green, it is in absolutely perfect condition. Water runs alongside the right of the green so missing on the right is just not an option missing over the back is not an option but again the green is such an inviting target you’d have to hit a pretty poor one to miss it.


Hole 13

White tees 399m, Yellow tees 394m, Blue tees 308m, Red tees 306m, Par 4, Stroke Index 3


El Paraiso Golf Resort Estepona Costa del Sol Andalusia Spain golf course review

It’s a long Par 4 at 394 m. Uphill and dogleg to the left with a bunker that is reachable at the corner of the dogleg. The line to take is to the right of the bunker in line with the Palm trees.


Don’t miss the fairway on the left – no good. Guess where I hit my drive. Left of the fairway. Once again Danny has found the perfect position. From my ball I can see a stone wall at the back of the green which is the next tee. There is a bunker guarding the front right of the green as well as a sand trap at the back of the green on the left. Most players will have 170m to 200m for the second shot. It’s a tough hole, but it does encourage you to go for it – Gary Player wants you to take on the challenge of this shot and has given us an opening to the front left of the green through which to thread that shot. Many folks will play it as a 3 shot hole and have an easy pitch on to the green for their third shot.


A very large green awaits, gently contoured in all directions. Once you get on the green you will need to take your time to find the right line . When you do find the line and hit a nice stroke the green will run perfectly true.


An outstanding hole! Get your Par here and you have earned an extra 15 minutes in the 19th where you can tell people about it!


Hole 14

White tees 138m, Yellow tees 132m, Blue tees 119m, Red tees 115m, Par 3, Stroke Index 17


El Paraiso Golf Resort Estepona Costa del Sol Andalusia Spain golf course review

On the way to the 14th tee Danny commented on the Par 3’s at El Paraiso Golf. As a low handicap player from the Yellow or White tees you will play every club from a hybrid all the way down to a nine iron. The Par 3’s here will test every Part of your game. This Par 3 proves the point.


At 132 metres I thought it played a little longer. Danny advised me to club up and I still left it short of the pin and found the right greenside bunker. A similar bunker guards the left. Over the green the bank slopes away leaving a difficult chip. As always at El Paraiso Golf the green is the star of the show. Looking from the tee it is hard to imagine missing it!


Danny’s 9 iron looked like it was going in from the tee, a short putt got him to 4 under.


Hole 15

White tees 514m, Yellow tees 489m, Blue tees 446m, Red tees 388m, Par 5, Stroke Index 1


El Paraiso Golf Resort Estepona Costa del Sol Andalusia Spain golf course review

This is a tough hole. Playing uphill it is a lot longer than the numbers suggest. A slight dog leg to the right reaching the green can require 3 wood shots for most players.


The line for your drive is at the furthest fairway bunker you can see on the left side. If you miss the fairway on the right you are faced with the steepest Part of the incline and severely limiting your chances of making a 5. Danny describes it nicely “If you miss the fairway on the right you are making the hole unnecessarily complicated”.


Keep your second shot on the left half the fairway and get it as far up the hill as you can. Greens side bunkers aggressively defend access to the plateau green. Less than 10m over the back of the green is the out of bounds fence. This is a difficult green to hit.


The green is set on 3 tiers, the uppermost being in the back left corner. I just know that’s where you will find the flag on competition day! It is fast downhill from the back of the green to the front, so if you’re above the cup you are going to have a very quick putt. If you make a 5 here – well done!


Hole 16

White tees 488m, Yellow tees 476m, Blue tees 413m, Red tees 388m, Par 5, Stroke index 15


El Paraiso Golf Resort Estepona Costa del Sol Andalusia Spain golf course review

It is very rare to have back to back Par 5’s. This should be a terrific scoring opportunity. The 15th is a tough hole, no easy birdies there, the 16th is kinder and is a genuine birdie opportunity.


Driving back down the hill you have out of bounds on the left if you cross on to the driving range. There is plenty of room and no penalty for going right. Your second shot will be a little more difficult.


I found the right rough with my drive and was able to hit my second directly at the green finding the left hand greenside bunker. In hindsight, that greenside bunker is very close to the out of bounds markers. It is more prudent to aim at the centre or right side of the green. Danger runs all the way down the left hand side of this hole.


For those who play it as a 3 shot hole there is a bunker about 70m short of the green guarding the right side approach. You need to decide whether to carry it or stay short. Don’t go in – 70m bunker shot is probably the hardest shot in golf.

Beautiful green, not as big as the other ones. This Par 5 is there to be attacked. Danny made a birdie to recover from a dropped shot at the previous hole and get back to 4 under Par.


Hole 17

White tees 198m, Yellow tees 190m, Blue tees 156m, Red tees 146m, Par 3, Stroke Index 9


El Paraiso Golf Resort Estepona Costa del Sol Andalusia Spain golf course review

This is a fabulous Par 3. Gary Player designed a great hole. The challenge is set clearly before you. Frontal greenside bunkers pinch the opening to the green to just a few meters. There is plenty of room to lay up short if the 190m carry is too great, Easy bogey, hard Par. Exactly what a good hole should be.


The good scoring opportunity of the 16th hole followed by a test of character at the 17th to see if you really deserved that last birdie!


Hole 18

White tees 385m, Yellow tees 377m, Blue tees 329m, Red tees 311m, Par 4, Stroke Index 5


El Paraiso Golf Resort Estepona Costa del Sol Andalusia Spain golf course review

Prepare yourself for this final drive of the day. A blind tee shot. Dog leg right. The tee box is set above a lake requiring you to carry the ball 150 m or so over water. For most players the line off the tee is on the white distance marker set in the fairway. The longer hitters take aim directly over the pine trees to the right of the fountain.


Danny warns that extremely long hitters could reach the stream which runs across the fairway just before the fairway rises to the green.


I pulled my drive into the left hand rough. I found it too difficult to commit to the shot and consequently made a terrible swing – again! I made things worse by hitting my 8 iron second shot into the front right bunker. From Danny’s position 20m short of the creek in the middle of the fairway he is rewarded with a wedge into the green.


The green is hidden behind two front bunkers left and right. The green appears to be tilted with the back of the green higher than the front.


Great finishing hole that requires you to find the mental fortitude to commit to hitting a brave tee shot.


Another birdie for Daniel Westermark saw him record the most relaxed looking 5 under Par I ever saw. More than that, his patient encouragement helped both of us to shoot decent scores too.


Daniel Westermark, David Ramos, the members and staff at El Paraiso Golf Club – congratulations – you have a very special place here at El Paraiso Golf!


Summary


Ben Hogan said “The most important shot in golf is the next one”.


At El Paraiso Golf the most important shot is from the tee. If you make the right choices from the tee and execute the shots well then El Paraiso Golf will reward you. It is in fantastic condition which serves to highlight the brilliant design.


El Paraiso Golf has always been a popular venue with players enjoying golf holidays on the Costa del Sol. With the work they have undertaken to bring the course into this outstanding condition that popularity will continue to grow.

The golf course is in the best condition that I have ever seen it. Pristine. As the preparations for the 50th anniversary continue the management team are relentlessly taking every aspect of the course to ever higher standards, polishing this important Gary Player design to make as good as it can possibly be.

El Paraiso Golf Club is a success story. A members club, owned by the members that have shown their commitment to making EL Paraiso Golf Club a very special place.Come and see for yourself!


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