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  • Writer's pictureGolf on Costa del Sol

Santana Golf Review and Players Guide

Updated: Feb 29

Designed by Cabell Robinson, Santana Golf shares many qualities with other Robinson courses. For club golfers each hole will give you an easy bogey but will ask you to earn your par or better. Some of the short Par 4’s look quite innocuous, not at all. Each hole has been laid out to use the terrain, the size of the green and its slope to defend it.


Since it opened in 2003 Santana Golf has a well earned reputation for always being in excellent condition. The tees, fairways, greens and bunkers all offer outstanding playing surfaces. The green keepers must be extremely diligent, nothing is out of place. Santana Golf is a credit to golf on the Costa del Sol and has become a highly rated venue.


If memberships were available to Santana I would join. Unfortunately not. Santana Golf is entirely dedicated to serving visiting golfers to the Costa del Sol. The whole experience from checking in to a cold beer at the end of your game is excellent. Santana Golf makes you feel like you are a member of a very special place.




Location



Located in  the centre of the Mijas Golf Valley, the always  impeccable Santana Golf sits between the well known resorts of Mijas Golf and La Cala Golf.

Ideally situated for all players based between Malaga and Marbella, Santana Golf is going to give you a great day!


Facilities

  1. Pro Shop

  2. Bar

  3. Snack Menu

  4. Menu of the day

  5. Changing rooms

  6. Showers


The first nine holes


Hole 1

Blue tee’s 321m, White tees 291m, Yellow tee’s 285m, Par 4, Stroke Index 13

Green tee’s 256m, Red tee’s 246m Stroke index 16



The first thing you notice as you walk on to the tee box is its conditioning. Super! The tees are unblemished, close cropped, perfectly even. It gives a great feeling of confidence.


The first is a gentle opening hole. No need to get a driver out.


It’s a dogleg right. Bunkers line the right side of the fairway up to the corner of the dog leg. The line to take is left of the bunkers aiming at some white flowers visible on the perimeter fence. We are playing off the yellow tees today which means we have 291m. Hit whatever will get you to the corner about 180m away. It will leave you with a simple wedge to the green. There is no benefit in driving over the corner or bending one around. It will just leave you with a much tougher pitch into the green.


I found one of the bunkers on the right with my tee shot and had about 110m to go. Warning – do not hit it long, over the back of the green is not a good place to be! The green slopes from the back to the front and from left to right. To leave yourself the easiest putt you need to be short and right of the pin. If you knock it over the back you will have a very slippery chip shot.


Of course I managed to miss the green with my second shot, luckily I left it short and left which gave me a straightforward up and down.


The fairway bunkers are crushed marble. Beautiful playing surface and look fantastic too!


The greens are quick, perfectly presented and run absolutely true.


Hole 2

Blue tee’s 160m, White tee’s 151m, Yellow tee’s 135m,Par 3, Stroke Index 9

Green Tee’s 114m, Red tee’s 104m, Par 3, Stroke Index 11


The second the first of the four Par 3’s. Playing 151m for us today.


The left side of the green is defended by a rather beautiful lake with a stone wall. If the pin is tucked away on the left side of the green then you have a daunting tee shot. Finding the right side of the green is an easy bail out – take your two putts and walk off happy with a par!


There is a shallow greenside bunker on the right of the green which isn’t difficult and you have plenty of green to work with. What makes it difficult is that you are playing back towards the water so it can be a test of nerve if you are aquaphobic!

Again the green is a perfect surface, runs very true, easy to read as it runs from back to front and gives you the confidence to attack your birdie chance!


Hole 3

Blue tee’s 385m, White tee’s  375m, Yellow tee’s 347m Par 4, Stroke Index 7

Green tee’s 337m, Red tee’s 309m, Par 4, Stroke Index 7


A short drive across the road through well kept gardens and bushes following the clear signage leads to the 3rd tee.


The view down the valley is spectacular.


This is a slight dogleg right. There are fairway bunkers on the right of the fairway at driver distance. Avoid them! They make the second shot extremely tough.. There is a set of fairway bunkers on the left about 100 meters short of the green – this is the perfect line for your drive taking you towards a generous landing area.

The hole runs downhill from the tee reaching its low point where the drives might finish and then from 90 metres in it rises to an elevated green – it is a terrific hole!


There are bunkers short and left two bunkers long and right defending the green. Left is dead. Don’t go left of the green. If you need to bail out go to the right of the green.


The length of the green from the front to the back is 40m, that’s 4 clubs difference, being about 10m wide at its narrow point means attacking the pins is tough.


santana golf course review costa del sol Mijas golf Andalusia Spain

Hole 4

Blue tee’s 556m, White tee’s 547m, Yellow tee’s 524m, Par 5, Stroke Index 3

Green Tee’s 494m, Red tee’s 456m, Par 5, Stroke Index 3


Another great feature of Santana Golf is that unlike many other courses along the Costa del Sol, this course is easy to walk. There is no noise at Santana, houses do not line the fairways, no cars. Serene. As I walk along and soak up the scenery I notice that there are Avocados laying in the rough. Santana Golf was formed from an Avocado farm. The rough here still has perfectly arranged Avocado trees all of which are laden with fruit. Incidentally I can assure you that these fruit trees are not the “80% air” variety of tree. Your golf ball will not pass through!


An elevated tee greets you at the 4th. You can see bunkers on the right which are about 250m away. Aiming to the left of the bunkers is the obvious choice and removes any chance of taking on the green in two.


There is a deep stone lined gully running 60 metres in front of the green where the fairway narrows to just 15 metres with Eucalyptus trees creating a narrow channel in the sky for your approach shots. Common sense tells you to lay up short of the ruggedly ornate gully and leave your favorite wedge into the green.

The green is well protected by bunkers. There is danger to the right of the green. The centre of the green is the place to be after your third shot. An enormously undulating putting surface is challenging, the flattest putts are found from the middle.


Hole 5

Blue tee’s 321m, White tee’s 314m, Yellow tee’s 296m, Par 4, Stroke Index 11

Green Tee’s 269m, Red tee’s 232m, Par 4, Stroke Index 9


Another great looking hole. From the tee you can see exactly what you need to do, no blind shots, you don’t need to have played the course before to get the best out of it. It is a very rewarding experience.


From the tee you see a series of bunkers on the right, two of which encroach onto the fairway. The big hitters may be able to carry them. There is another bunker on the left of the fairway further up. I suggest a lay up on the line of the left hand bunker which leaves you an easy 100m or so into the green.


From the fairway the green is elevated by 2 or  3 metres. This green is in the style of a “MacKenzie” green meaning it has a pronounced slope running from the back to the front. Keep your approach shot below the hole!


Hole 6

Blue tee’s 335m, White tee’s  332m, Yellow tee’s 321m, Par 4, Stroke Index 17

Green tee’s 284m, Red tee’s 274m, Par 4, Stroke index 18


Stunning views, this is a beautiful place. Again tee boxes are in such nice condition, The green keepers have done a great job.


Left edge of the bunkers in the distance is your line off the tee. It will cut off a piece of the corner and leave you a short second shot.


If you go right of the green you will have all kinds of difficulty. The front left green side bunkers are treacherous. This is not a long hole, it defends itself by making the green hard to hit. Once you reach the green the fun begins. This green undulates in every direction!


santana golf course review costa del sol Mijas golf Andalusia Spain

Hole 7

Blue tee’s 192m, White tee’s  184m, Yellow tee’s 165m Par 3, Stroke Index 5

Green tee’s 140m, Red tee’s 110m, Par 3, Stroke index 5


This is a cracking hole. There is a narrow point around 40m short of the green where the entrance to the green narrows significantly with more Eucalyptus trees forming columns rising high into the sky straddling the same storm drain that runs across the 4th. This means that you have to hit a perfectly straight shot to find the green. Cannot start it left and fade it back. It has to be laser straight!

A bunker defends the green short and right. This hole gives you no refuge, there is just one option. Find that perfect strike – its the only way to get to the green!

Big generous green which is predominantly flat will reward that perfect strike and with 2 confident putts you walk away with a well earned par. A very good hole.


Hole 8

Blue tee’s 602m, White tee’s 585m, Yellow tee’s 541m, Par 5, Stroke Index 1

Green tee’s 503m, Red tee’s 462m, Par 5, Stroke Index 1


This is a monster!


Long and narrow curving to the right. Standing on the tee only the hardiest souls are not intimidated!


Out of bounds on the right – although there is a decent amount of space. You can hit it along the line of the rough on the left to give yourself the maximum amount of room. Eucalyptus trees are spaced along the ridge in the left rough. If you drive it to the left these trees will affect your second shot. A big drive followed by a mighty fairway wood still leaves work to do.


As you approach the green you see bunkers running from 35 metres out to 15 metres out on the right protecting the right side of the fairway, you see bunkers mid-green both left and right. The entrance to the green is unprotected which is very fair as it allows low running shots to find the target.


A very large green which slopes from both ends toward the middle awaits you, as always giving a perfect surface to play from.


This is a great Par 5 and for me is the signature hole of Santana Golf.


Hole 9

Blue tee’s 335m, White tee’s  248m, Yellow tee’s 334m Par 4, Stroke Index 15

Green tee’s 322m, Red tee’s 300m Par 4, Stroke Index 14


You will see a copse of avocado trees immediately off the tee on your left. The 14th fairway runs along the right giving you plenty of space to unleash a beast off the tee! Your line is the farthest away Palm tree on the skyline. The saucer shaped fairway is a huge boost to your confidence and invites you to give it bash!


The front of the green is unprotected but there are bunkers left and right.The middle of the green is of course what you want and with no bunkers directly in front of you it helps you to do exactly that.


A very fair hole. If you survived the previous two difficult holes with a decent score card then this 9th hole a great finish to the first nine and will make you feel pretty good about things.


Santana Golf: The second nine holes


santana golf course review costa del sol Mijas golf Andalusia Spain

Hole 10

Blue tee’s 468m, White tee’s  444m, Yellow tee’s 425m, Par 5, Stroke 4

Green tee’s 413m, Red tee’s 387m Par 5, Stroke Index 6


It’s a huge fairway, there are areas of trouble on the right, not terminal, nothing to worry about.


You have room on the left. Again this hole sets you up to attack off the tee. The fairway runs down hill which flatters your drive and makes it a reachable Par 5. There is a catch. It comes in the form of a lake guarding the front left of the green. If you are attacking the flag you need to fly it all the way in. If you are hitting a longer club in then think about going for the right side of the green,

The green is banked steeply towards the lake, anything short will be collected by the water.


The green side bunkers are shallow and you have plenty of space to work with, the challenge is that you might be playing a bunker shot towards the water. Not the most relaxing feeling!

This is an easy birdie hole to set you up for a cracking back nine!


Hole 11

Blue tee’s 291m, White tee’s 274m, Yellow tee’s 265m Par 4, Stroke Index 8

Green Tee’s 255m, Red tee’s 249m Par 4, Stroke Index 8


A short dog leg right with an uphill shot into the green.


The mighty amongst us might consider taking on the green from the tee. It’s a very difficult shot as the corner of the dogleg is protected by tall trees which block the direct line. The front left of the green is heavily bunkered also making the chances of success small.


The easy way to play this hole is to do as the course designer wants you to do! Hit your tee shot to the corner and then a wedge into the green. A long iron will reach the corner. Even then the wedge into the green is not so simple. Playing to an elevated green which is well protected demands that you hit a good shot.

The green is fast and contoured. What looks like an easy Par 4 is in fact a very satisfying hole.


Hole 12

Blue tee’s 174m, White tee’s  159m, Yellow tee’s 153m Par 3, Stroke Index 10

Green tee’s 137m, Red tee’s 102, Par 3 Stroke Index 13


Superb views across the red mountains. What an absolute cracking little hole this is! You can see from the tee that the green undulates in every direction. There are no easy chips on the green from the fringes if you miss and there are no easy putts! Take dead aim at the green centre. It plays slightly shorter than the tee boxes say due to it being downhill. Don’t miss the green, not even by a meter. If this green had a soul it would be that of a Honey Badger – it’s only a little thing but it’s very tough!. This green will defy you however you approach it!


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Hole 13

Blue tee’s 355m, White tee’s  343m, Yellow tee’s 314m, Par 4, Stroke Index 14

Green tee’s 301m, Red tee’s 289m, Par 4, Stroke Index 10

The fairway is cut between two swales on either side, it’s about 30 meters wide and you have a further 20 meters of first cut rough on each side, which gives a bowl effect bringing off-line tee shots back to the fairway.


I hit mine a long way left, thirty five meters or so and it was in perfect shape in the left hand rough. Very generous thank you Santana Golf! Another delightful driving hole that just fills you  with confidence.


The green is defended by a large run off area at the front and right of the green. There are bunkers front right and middle left. If you’re short and a little bit right there is every chance that your ball will fall off! To be safe aim for the back left of the green with your second shot.


Missing the green left is OK, Short cut rough and a slight elevation are not hazardous to your chip shot and are a much better option than coming up short and watching your ball fall off the green!


Hole 14

Blue tee’s 295m, White tee’s  287m, Yellow tee’s 265m, Par 4, Stroke Index 18

Green tee’s 245m, Red tee’s 225m, Par 4, Stroke Index 15


Happy days! This is a driveable Par 4! There is a bottleneck close to the green. There are bunkers along the right side of the fairway and more bunkers defending the front right of the green. There is nothing directly in front of the green, so if you can launch one 270 metres and find the gap then you have a strong chance of picking up an eagle or a birdie!


It’s a nice wide fairway, if you prefer you can simply lay-up to your favorite wedge distance and still have a great chance of taking a shot back from the golf course!

However beware, if you don’t make it to the green and you leave yourself a 30 or 40 metre wedge shot you will find it tricky to get close.


A great hole that presents you with decisions to make. The reward is a birdie and a chance to enhance that scorecard!


Hole 15

Blue tee’s 520m, White tee’s  494m, Yellow tee’s 489m, Par 5, Stroke Index 6

Green tee’s 458m, Red tee’s 435m, Par 5, Stroke 4

Very big and perfectly manicured teeing ground, huge fairway. Once again you find yourself standing on the tee – box full of confidence. What a great feeling! The line to hit is on a green water tower that you will see in the distance.


It’s great, it just invites you to stand up and give it a go. This course is really confidence inspiring. Provided you avoid the pitfalls and don’t take on shots that are just beyond your ability you will have a fantastic day of golf, you are going to love it!.


After a good drive you need to decide whether you go for it in two or pitch and putt for your birdie attempt.


The green is tucked away to the left, there is a lake to the right of the green. To hit the lake you will need to slice it quite a lot. The great thing about slices is that they don’t go very far, so I think in most cases a poor second shot will not reach the water and will leave a simple pitch into the green. – you have nothing to lose! Go for it!


There are bunkers to carry on the left side of the fairway as you take aim at the green. The lay up shot is to aim directly at the nearest edge of the lake and lay up 70 to 100 metres short. You will be left with and easy hazard free pitch in to the green.

This is a good hole it rewards the risk of going for it with your second shot, equally there’s no penalty if you choose to play it as a 3 shotter.


santana golf course review costa del sol Mijas golf Andalusia Spain

Hole 16

Blue tee’s 150m White tee’s  144m, Yellow tee’s 122, Par 3, Stroke Index 16

Green tee’s 113m, Red tee’s 107m, Par 3, Stroke Index 17


This Par 3 shares the lake with the 15th. It runs along the right hand side but unless you hit an absolute stinker the lake does not come into play.


There is a big green side bunker on the left . Do not go long, instant death! And you don’t want to be very far right as you’ve got a little pot bunker there waiting for you!. You can lay up short if you need to. The green’s undulations provide further defence. Finding the middle of the green is a good start but is no guarantee of par!


Santana has given a couple of holes where you are able to get a few strokes back. This innocuous looking Par 3 is part of the finishing stretch that will give you a final test as your round draws to a close.


Hole 17

Blue tee’s 335m, White tee’s  326m, Yellow tee’s 307m, Par 4, Stroke Index 12

Green tee’s 297m, Red tee’s 269m, Par 4, Stroke Index 12


This is a good looking hole! The green is tucked away on the right hidden behind a small copse of Avocado trees. Along the left hand side of the fairway is a line of three long fairway bunkers.


The line from the tee is between the second and third bunker, it will be a driver for most folks, a long iron for the long hitters.

There is out of bounds on the right just over the cart path, the out of bounds runs close to the right side and back of the green too. Don’t miss the green right or long!


The green is fabulous, it’s elevated cut into a bank with a drop off to the right. You have a treacherous chip up the bank from there with a narrow green. The left of the green is guarded by four pot bunkers which will leave you with a difficult shot across the green playing directly towards the out of bounds markers!

From the tee this hole looks simple. If you do as Cabell Robinson asks of you and play to the lay up point it will be kind to you. The clever bit about the design is that there are so many ways that this hole can put pressure on you.  A great golf hole.


santana golf course review costa del sol Mijas golf Andalusia Spain

Hole 18

Blue tee’s 392m, White tee’s  388m, Yellow tee’s 356m, Par 4, Stroke Index 2

Green tee’s 320m, Red tee;s 304m, Par 4, Stroke Index 2

From the tee you will see another group of Avocado trees to your left slightly below you about 150 – 200 meters from the tee. Don’t go in them – you will be bouncing around the trees for ages!


There is a lake on the right side of the fairway which runs along the length of the fairway and guards the front of the green. I found this to be a tough tee shot. Final drive of the day and the golf course asks you to find your finest! Excellent!

Most people can hit a driver. Aim 10m to the right of the bunker which sits on the left edge of the fairway. It looks very tight, however there is plenty of space. Dont pull it into the fairway bunker or further left into the trees.


To get to the green with your second shot you have to go over the lake which guards the right half of the green and looks beautiful with its stone wall. From the edge of the lake is a short but steep hill of 40 metres or so running up to the green. The front left approach to the green runs away to the left and leaves you with a very difficult chip up to the elevated green. Anything less than a well executed second shot is just not going to make it to the putting surface. This is a demanding green to hit!.


The green runs massively from front to back and from right to left. Make sure you keep below the hole!


Summary


I am sorry that my round is over.! I have had a terrific time playing here. It is a supremely enjoyable golf course. Next time I would like to try it from the back tees! I will need to bring a better swing with me!


If you come here you are going to have a terrific day out, it’s a great golf course, no trick holes, superb condition, great layout.


A common theme at Santana Golf is that each hole tells you exactly what you need to do to make par. Just follow the instructions that the course lays out, hit the shots and make your day memorable.


If you are planning a trip in order to play golf on the Costa del Sol then I urge you to consider basing yourself close to the Mijas Golf Valley. With Santana Golf, Mijas Golf and La Cala Golf all a few minutes from each other you have 6 top quality golf courses to enjoy. I’ll wager Santana Golf becomes your favorite!

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