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Spain 3


La Manga Club Murcia, Costa Calida Its opening in 1970 marked the arrival of the all-inclusive sports resort. Built on a 15-mile spit near Cartagena, La Manga’s North and South courses were upgraded by Arnold Palmer in time for the 1990s boom. The South is the more prestigious course, a regular tournament venue that favours long hitters while the North is a more technical test of accuracy and patience. West, the later addition is the less highly regarded option. There is plenty of tennis too, with 28 clay


courts and excellent training weeks. The high- performance fitness centre, close to the spa, is a popular addition. Guests stay in the five-star Principe Felipe Hotel or pick from a range of apartments and villas. The restaurants reflect the international clientele, with Asian, Indian and Italian choices in addition to Spanish tapas and seafood. No need to go off-site — many guests never do. Green fee: Visitors £160; residents £68-£51. lamangaclub.com


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Villa Padierna Golf Club Marbella, Costa del Sol The Villa Padierna Palace Hotel is the focus of a luxury estate with three 18-hole golf courses and the award-winning Medical Wellness centre just west of Marbella. First up, in 2001, was Los Flamingos, its holes laid out in the manner of a formal Tuscan garden, with stands of oranges, olives and cypress trees, elaborate waterworks and classical decorations: think statues, columns and marble bridges. At Alferini, which opened six years later, large


inviting greens provide compensation for tight fairways. The par-65 Tramores course, located between valleys with exceptional Mediterranean views, is home to the Michael Campbell Golf Academy. The Palace Hotel is also inspired by ancient Tuscany, with 130 rooms, suites and villas in three buildings. Villa Obama, in the amphitheatre building with three floors, two bedrooms and its own pool, is top of the range. Green fee: £61-£115. villapadiernagolfclub.com


ESSENTIALS La Manga Club 166 ABTA Golf 2017


WHEN TO GO: Spanish courses are open year round, but are best avoided in the heat of high summer. GREEN FEES £55-£115. FLIGHT TIME: 2h35m. GETTING AROUND: Self-drive is the best solution for multiple destination golf holidays. The Spanish car rental market is competitive so shop around. CONTACT: spain.info


IMAGE: LA MANGA CLUB


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