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  • Writer's pictureGolf on Costa del Sol

Marbella Golf and Country Club Course Review and Players Guide

Updated: Feb 26

Since it opened in 1994, this Trent Jones designed golf course has been a key factor contributing to the success of golf tourism in Marbella


I have been lucky enough to play golf at Marbella Golf and Country Club many times since its 1994 debut. The first thing I would like to comment on having completed my latest round just a few hours ago is the condition of the golf course. I can state unequivocally that I have never seen Marbella Golf and Country Club in better condition. It looked fabulous! The greens are quick and run perfectly, The tee boxes and fairways are superbly groomed and make outstanding playing surfaces, the first cut of rough does not devour golf balls, but it will cost you a shot to get out of it! The mountain scenery replete with Andalucian verdure make it a place of visual splendour. It is a tough golf course. Classic Trent Jones, hard par easy bogey, although some of the bogeys don’t come easily either!


Marbella Golf and Country Club Course Review and Players Guide Spain Andalusia Costa del Sol

This course demands every ounce of concentration, it is a technical golf course. Deceptively wide fairways accommodate all but the most errant tee shots. It gets harder, sometimes much harder, as you get closer to the green!

This tough challenge is largely transparent with only one blind tee shot (helpfully a siting post is located on the fairway), each hole tells its story from the tee box, it’s up to you to devise your strategy on how you play it. If you don’t execute that strategy then the golf course is going to punish you. Your skill and mental fortitude are the only weapons you have to defend yourself!


The Marbella Golf and Country Club experience is made complete by first class practice facilities close to the clubhouse and the club house itself which is rather wonderful! The terrace looks over the 9th and 18th greens with views across the Mediterranean Sea, the perfect spot to contemplate what might have been if only a couple more putts had dropped!


Location



In the heart of the Marbella Golf valley, Marbella Golf and Country Club is perfectly located close to the night life, beaches and gastronomy of Marbella. Malaga airport is 35 minutes driving time whilst Gibraltar is 50 minutes. 

Facilities

  1. Clubhouse

  2. Drinks and dining terrace

  3. Restaurant

  4. Snack menu

  5. A la carte menu

  6. Pro Shop

  7. On Course Refreshments

  8. Lockers 

  9. Showers

  10. Driving Range

  11. Short Game Practise Area

  12. Golf Academy

  13. Tennis Club


Marbella Golf and Country Club Front 9 Holes


Marbella Golf and Country Club Hole 1

Par 4 Stroke Index 5 White Tees 281m Yellow Tees 259m Blue Tees 223m Red Tees 215m


Marbella Golf and Country Club Course Review and Players Guide Spain Andalusia Costa del Sol

The first at hole at Marbella Golf and Country Club is a talking point amongst those that have played it, Rather like Marmite it is a hole that you either love or loathe. I think it’s a good driving hole. The challenge before you is clear. A short par 4 playing considerably uphill the driving range runs below and along the left of the fairway and is out of bounds, above on the right runs the 6th hole and the rough that separates them, not a good place to find yourself. On the plus side, despite its rather daunting appearance the fairway is actually quite wide. This is a theme at Marbella Golf Country Club. This is after all a Robert Trent Jones design and in keeping with his ethos every hole is a hard par and easy bogey(ish). This is not a long course, so therefore it has to defend itself. Part of those defences are to frighten the life out of you each time you stand on the tee box. Many of the fairways look as though they are heinously tight and difficult to hit. Often it is just a deception, most of the holes are more than generous. Don’t let appearance intimidate you. The tee shot is not usually the issue on this course, hitting the green is the really tricky part!


There is a line of bunkers that guard the approach to the green 40m before the putting surface at the bottom of the step bank upon which the green is set. These bunkers are reachable from the tee. If you choose to have a go, not a sensible choice in my opinion as the chances of making it happen are remote. The sensible strategy is to play to the right side of the fairway, avoiding the bunkers and leaving a full lob wedge into the flag.


The green is small and runs markedly from the top right to the bottom left as well as from back to front making it very difficult to get chips and putts to go close!

For such a short hole with a decently large fairway this quickly proves itself to be an arse kicker of a hole.


Marbella Golf and Country Club Hole 2

Par 5 Stroke Index 7 White Tees 471m Yellow Tees 435m Blue Tees 421m Red Tees 411m


Marbella Golf and Country Club Course Review and Players Guide Spain Andalusia Costa del Sol

This is a grand looking par 5 with the fairway sweeping majestically down from the tee to the dog leg then turning left as it climbs majestically towards the distant green.


The saddle shaped fairway with banked rough on either side makes a generous target whilst being pleasing on the eye. A multitude of Cork, Oak and Olive trees along with the purple and blue blossomed heather make Marbella Golf and Country Club a place of stunning natural radiance.


The safe line to take from the tee is down the middle of the fairway as far as you can get. The long hitters might run out of fairway and find themselves in the red staked rough beyond the fairway. If you are capable of bashing it more than 230m then you need to aim left and cut off some corner or hit a 3 wood.


As you reach the dog leg and look up the fairway towards the green you will see that the green is tucked away to the right. Directly ahead of you at the far end of the fairway are a set of bunkers located to the left of and 80m short of the green. Anywhere short of these bunkers is a good lay up position affording a simple wedge into the green and certain par!


Long hitters will have a long iron shot directly at the green for their second shot. This brings into play the large bunker that protects the front right of the small green. Not an impossible shot but difficult enough to make oneself feel very pleased should one be able to pull it off!


The rough that surrounds the green is confounding. It is not especially long and not dastardly thick. It is intentionally sticky enough to stop balls running many meters down the steep slopes that surround many of the greens and unintentionally sticky enough to make every chip shot onerous. Getting up and down from beyond the apron of the green proved a rare occurrence for us today.

The elevated green is sat in a cul de sac of beauty. Pines, oaks and heather frame the green making it look like an oasis. Look from the green back down the fairway the view is dominated by Mediterranean Sea in the distance. A superb hole!


Marbella Golf and Country Club Hole 3

Par 3 Stroke Index 17 White Tees 139m Yellow Tees 135m Blue Tees 120m Red Tees


Marbella Golf and Country Club Course Review and Players Guide Spain Andalusia Costa del Sol

A par 3 played from an elevated tee. A pond guards the approaches to the green preventing access to the putting surface with running shots. Four bunkers guard the left and right sides of this small but exquisitely difficult green. Finding the correct quadrant with your tee shot will make your progress much easier. if you three putt here don’t be upset – almost everyone does!


A masterclass in design from Trent Jones in how to make an apparently innocuous hole hurt you.


Marbella Golf and Country Club Hole 4

Par 4 Stroke Index 9 White Tees 270m Yellow Tees 260m Blue Tees 214m Red Tees 198m


Marbella Golf and Country Club Course Review and Players Guide Spain Andalusia Costa del Sol

A short par 4, dog leg to the right looking down to the green. Between you and the green in a direct line is a barranca filled with trees, bushes and the kind flora that will devour not just golf balls but golfers too!


The safe line from the tee is a shot that carries 180m on a bearing left of the green following the clear cut lines of the fairway. It is only 230m in a straight line and therefore very tempting to have a go at it with a long iron or hybrid. If you choose this strategy then be sure to hit the green and make it stop. There is no easy recovery shot from around the putting surface. Too long will see you run down the bank upon which the green is located and faced with an horrendous 40m chip back to a small green. Anything short or right is instant death.


As tempting as it might be, the risk versus reward equation is stacked in favour of playing the safe shot.


The only real chance of hitting the green in 2 strokes is to play safe. Even then once the green has been found it is far from over. Intricate topography makes putting a heart breaking task!


Marbella Golf and Country Club Hole 5

Par 4 Stroke Index 15 White Tees 315m Yellow Tees 308m Blue Tees 276m Red Tees 258m


Marbella Golf and Country Club Course Review and Players Guide Spain Andalusia Costa del Sol

We are at a high point on the golf course looking across the Mediterranean playing this par 4 down the valley 308m To the green. The tee shot looks far more demanding than it actually is, as do many of the tee shots here at Marbella Golf and Country Club . At first glance the apparently ribbon-like fairway is simply too difficult to hit with a driver and many players in a state of induced fear will play defensively. Big mistake. The moment you allow weakness or doubt to enter your mentality then this golf course will chew you up!


The fairway runs down hill and is slightly saucer shaped which looks good on the eye. The issue is the thick rough on either side, it is this which creates the fear.

If you are nervous about hitting a straight driver then choose the tee shot that you can keep straight and leave a slightly longer second shot. I hit all of my clubs erratically, my driver is as straight as any of them. I have nothing to lose, so I aim at the left side of the green and play for a gentle cut back to the middle. Hey presto, it worked , I am in a prime position!


There is thick rough running down the left of the hole, a pull or hook here is not such a good idea!


A long peanut shaped green sits at the bottom of the hill, gentle banking around the putting surface makes it a little harder to hit and will test your ability to get up and down!


The greens are running superbly well today, excellent condition, no blemishes, fast and running true.


Marbella Golf and Country Club Hole 6

Par 5 Stroke Index 1 White Tees 462m Yellow Tees 446m Blue Tees 420m Red Tees 403m


Marbella Golf and Country Club Course Review and Players Guide Spain Andalusia Costa del Sol

The drive to the 6th takes you through a tunnel that runs below the AP7 main road which is the main artery of the Costa del Sol. A complex par 5 which presents you with many different strategies and options. Firstly the tee shot. A generous fairway set on 2 levels. The lower level on the left is the easiest one to hit. Left of the cart path will see you in the red staked rough and a penalty drop to boot. Anything more than 280m and you run out of fairway into a steep banked ravine also marked with red stakes.


The higher half of the fairway is on the right. A slender landing strip will offer you an easier second shot. If you miss on the extreme right nothing dreadful will happen, you will have to chop out of the rough.


If you are able I recommend the right part of the fairway for your desired drive. It will make the second shot much clearer.


A drive of 260m on to the right plateau will leave 200m into the green. Be warned, a lake sits in front of the green forcing approach shots to fly all the way to the pin. If you cannot carry your ball that distance then a lay up is in order.

Many options present themselves as you ruminate over your second shot. The first lay up option requires a very short lay up and leaves 120m or so into the green. The advantages of that are two fold. Firstly the lay up shot is as simple as it could be, in most cases a wedge following a reasonable drive and the job is done. Note that this lay up zone is only 40m deep. If you over hit then you will sacrifice another shot in the deep ravine that criss crosses the fairway.


The second lay up option is smaller again, but closer to the green. Neither of the lay up shots are long, but both require that you have good distance control. If you do not hit the right number then it will be game over for you.


A narrow green makes an achingly small target. The back of the green is steeply banked rough, the water extends to the right side too where a bubbling brook cascades over the stones to feed into the frontal lake.


This is a delicious par 5 of extreme technical difficulty. I have played it 5 or 6 times and still have not figured out the optimum strategy for my game.

This is one of the most rewarding holes of golf that I can remember.


Marbella Golf and Country Club Hole 7

Par 4 Stroke Index 3 White Tees 344m Yellow Tees 310m Blue Tees 288m Red Tees 285m


Marbella Golf and Country Club Course Review and Players Guide Spain Andalusia Costa del Sol

On this elevated tee this hole runs steeply to its low point just past the red tee boxes; the hole then forms a dog leg to the right. The right side of the hole is guarded by another barranca filled with the beautiful Andalusian forestry and plant life. The fairway rises to a crest line 190m from the tee. Leaving a second shot across the barranca to a steeply elevated green of diminutive proportions.

If you run over the crest line the risk of making your 2nd blind or worse is very real.


The green sits 10m above you as you view your second shot. The steep banking at the front of the green is fluffy with rough which is all that prevents mis hit second shots from running all the way to the base to the hill. If you miss short or to the right and are faced with a chip from this bank then you are truly up against it. The severity of the slope makes chipping an extraordinary challenge. It is imperative that your tee shot stays short of the fairway crest and that your second shot finds the green. If you fail in either of these tasks then you could run up a big number here!

Marbella Golf and Country Club Hole 8

Par 4 Stroke Index 13 White Tees 326m Yellow Tees 324m Blue Tees 311m Red Tees 233m


Marbella Golf and Country Club Course Review and Players Guide Spain Andalusia Costa del Sol

After the trauma of the previous hole this one comes as a tonic. Ignore the fact that it appears to be narrow. There is enough room. Another small green sits at the bottom of the valley below. The nearer your tee shot gets to the green the better your chances of getting the second nice and close.


Take a line directly at the flag with your longest /straightest club and bash it with all of your might. A bunker sits 30m short on the left and another 10m short on the right. The widest part of the fairway is at the bottom close to the green!

This is a rare chance to take one back from the golf course. Take it!


Marbella Golf and Country Club Hole 9

Par 3 Stroke Index 11 White Tees 160m Yellow Tees 154m Blue Tees 135m Red Tees 128m


Marbella Golf and Country Club Course Review and Players Guide Spain Andalusia Costa del Sol

A Par 3, 160m into the teeth of the breeze. This 9th and 18th share a common green directly in front of the clubhouse. In front of the green set in the bank is a large bunker which forces you to carry the ball all the way to the putting surface.

The terrain falls away to the left and will punish errant tee shots with a difficult pitch onto the green. Deeply contoured this green will proffer some terrifying puts if you find yourself above the cup.


Guests enjoying the clubhouse terrace are able to take heart with each group of players that goes by. There is comfort in knowing that we can all mess up this hole!


A great looking hole that will test every sinew.


Marbella Golf and Country Club Back 9 Holes


Marbella Golf and Country Club Hole 10

Par 4 Stroke Index 8 White Tees 367m Yellow Tees 303m Blue Tees 292m Red Tees 233m


Marbella Golf and Country Club Course Review and Players Guide Spain Andalusia Costa del Sol

This 10th hole is another technical par 4 and requires a well placed drive in order to leave a shot that maximizes your chance of finding and remaining on this elevated small green.


The cart path snakes its way through the hollows and bumps along the left edge of the hole for 200m before reaching the fairway and flat ground. Left of the cart path is deep rough marked with red stakes and is very much in play as you look at the hole from the tee.


Bailing out to the right is not necessarily a problem but will make the next shot more difficult.


The green is surrounded by a raised banked less than a metre in height but serves to make chipping onto the green more complex. Missing long and left will give a pitch shot back up the hill to the green.


The green itself has a ridgeback tier running through its centre which will perplex you over every putt!


Marbella Golf and Country Club Hole 11

Par 3 Stroke Index 10 White Tees 195m Yellow Tees 188m Blue Tees 151m Red Tees 139m


Marbella Golf and Country Club Course Review and Players Guide Spain Andalusia Costa del Sol

Playing slightly downhill. With two bunkers on the right side of the green there is no other real trouble around the green other than the fluffy rough that makes chipping and putting to save par so difficult.


I great par 3 which makes perfect use of its layout to defend itself. A par here is going to feel like a relief!


Marbella Golf and Country Club Hole 12

Par 4 Stroke Index 2 White Tees 376m Yellow Tees 360m Blue Tees 356m Red Tees 345m


Marbella Golf and Country Club Course Review and Players Guide Spain Andalusia Costa del Sol

A site marker indicates the best line from the tee. Helpful, but does not fill you with confidence as you contemplate this otherwise blind tee shot. The fairway crests to its highest point about 250m from the tee. A water hazard sits malevolently on the left side of the green, a ravine crosses in front of the green 40m before the putting surface.


The fairway runs serpentine from the crestline down hill cutting a path between sets of tree dotted rough before coming to an end at the ravine. From the ravine it rises slightly to the green, surrounded by the gnarly rough. There are far more ways of making a mess of this hole than there are of making a par! A hugely difficult hole that gets tougher as you get closer to the green!


The ideal drive will be online with the sighting pole and come to rest at the crest of the fairway leaving a difficult iron shot of around 115m into the green.


This small green offers a bailout area just to the right which in turn leaves you a dangerous shot back towards the water playing from the tricky rough, not a good option. The only good option is to find the heart of the green with your second shot.


Even when you have found the green, danger is not passed. A wickedly contoured green will confound those in a weakened state and break many hearts!


Marbella Golf and Country Club Hole 13

Par 5 Stroke Index 16 White Tees 454m Yellow Tees 448m Blue Tees 416m Red Tees 411m


Marbella Golf and Country Club Course Review and Players Guide Spain Andalusia Costa del Sol

A superbly crafted par 5, short and tempting this hole is a cracker.


Trouble of the wet variety runs the entire length of the hole from tee to green making the drive, second shots and approach shots harrowing.


The prudent strategy for this hole is not to be tempted into playing it as a 2 shotter, but instead to engineer the hole so that your 3rd shot into the flag is your favourite length. Far more birdies are secured here when played in this manner.

The green is again small. The most dangerous pin placing is on the front. The target area in this case is as large as a bed sheet!


Excellently designed and set up hole that eggs the players into making mistakes and rewards those that stick to the plan!


Marbella Golf and Country Club Hole 14

Par 4 Stroke Index 6 White Tees 353m Yellow Tees 338m Blue Tees 310m Red Tees 300m


Marbella Golf and Country Club Course Review and Players Guide Spain Andalusia Costa del Sol

An exposed tee box brings a refreshing breeze and with it an opportunity to take a look around. Being in such a serene and beautiful environment it is hard to imagine that we are just a few hundred meters from the city of Marbella.


An elevated tee reveals a wonderful driving hole, a vastly wide fairway runs away from you until it reaches a stream which crosses the fairway 280m from the tee. This is a great chance to swing with abandon, provided you don’t reach that stream nothing bad will happen!


From the proximity of the stream there is only 90m to the target, slightly uphill and with the dreaded rough surrounding the green.


Even from 90m away this green is not easy to hit, but to be sure of a par hit it you must. The fluffy, sticky Marbella rough does not yield many par saves!


Marbella Golf and Country Club Hole 15

Par 4 Stroke Index 4 White Tees 349m Yellow Tees 333m Blue Tees 296m Red Tees 273m


Marbella Golf and Country Club Course Review and Players Guide Spain Andalusia Costa del Sol

The view from the tee is dominated by a recently refurbished ornate lake which is on the right side of the fairway on a direct line to the green . Keeping to the left of this lake is a good line to take, bearing in mind that going extreme left will place you in evil rough with a tree studded steep bank to deal with in order to reach the green.


The elevation from the already steep fairway to the green is 15m making clubbing extremely difficult. Having to play 3 clubs more than the yardage says is an uncomfortable feeling, hence 80% of players leave their second shots short of this green leaving almost no chance of saving par.


Marbella Golf and Country Club Hole 16

Par 3 Stroke Index 12 White Tees 186m Yellow Tees 182m Blue Tees 153m Red Tees 129m


Marbella Golf and Country Club Course Review and Players Guide Spain Andalusia Costa del Sol

A downhill long par 3 with water at the back. Mercifully we have a big green to aim at. No real trouble short of the green, disaster awaits at the back and on the right of the target. There is something about the layout of this hole that lures the player into playing short of the green. The threat of the water is powerful enough to subliminally persuade most players that laying up is a good bet! very clever design!


Gird your loins. This is just another iron shot. One of thousands that you have hit. Nothing here to worry about. Relax. Trust your swing. These are the mantras which might help as you contemplate this tee shot. This is the thought process that you definitely need to engage if you want to find a positive strike and challenge the flag.


Missing left will leave a nasty bunker shot towards the water. Life is much easier here if you can just find the dance floor!


Marbella Golf and Country Club Hole 17

Par 5 Stroke Index 18 White Tees 462m Yellow Tees 448m Blue Tees 411m Red Tees 405m


Marbella Golf and Country Club Course Review and Players Guide Spain Andalusia Costa del Sol

Absolutely cracking par 5. A saddle shaped fairway helps to make the fairway play wider than it actually is. A dog leg left with dense vegetation along the left side gives you clear instructions on how to approach the tee shot. Take a line just to the right of the bunker that is nestled at the crux of the dog leg on the left edge of the fairway. The further you can progress the drive the better. This is a drive that you can attack.


The fairway opens up significantly 100m from the green whereupon it deviates a little further to the left and leads into the green tucked behind a complex of bunkers and swales.


Another small green makes taking on the challenge of hitting the target in two strokes more difficult, however on this occasion it makes sense to have a go as there are no dire consequences. This is a great penultimate hole as it gives a real chance to do some repair work to your score card!


Marbella Golf and Country Club Hole 18

Par 4 Stroke Index 14 White Tees 357m Yellow Tees 320m Blue Tees 273m Red Tees 240m


Marbella Golf and Country Club Course Review and Players Guide Spain Andalusia Costa del Sol

The final hole! It’s been a tough day at the office. This is not a golf course that casually gives away birdies.


The final hole is no exception and makes a vastly wide but shallow target this green is shared with the 9th. Aiming directly at the green from the tee is not the best plan as you will find yourself in the face of the steep bank topped by trees in the infamous claggy rough. It will cost you at least one shot!


The line to take is at the 9th green which is the right half of the green. A well placed drive will reward you with a much easier shot into the pin.


Playing a nice shot into the green will earn you the admiration of your fellow patrons enjoying a cold beer on the terrace and set you in the right frame of mind to follow suit.


Marbella Golf and Country Club – Summary


We had a most excellent day here at Marbella Golf and Country Club. From the greeting in the pro shop, the pre round coffee on the terrace, the warm up on the range, everything here falls easily to hand and is immediately comfortable. I have never seen the golf course looking or playing better. The management team is clearly doing a terrific job.


That is until you reach the first tee. There is nothing comfortable about the next 4 hours!


This Robert Trent Jones design is a firecracker. A tough golf course that is eminently fair. This is exactly as Trent Jones meant it to be. Hard par – Easy Bogey.Trent Jones, and Cabell Robinson build this into all of their golf courses. The Costa del Sol is home to several fine works by these gentlemen. This is why golf on the Costa del Sol is such a paradise!


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