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GOLF GUIDE


COSTA DE LA LUZ O


f all the Spanish costas, the stretch facing the Atlantic between Tarifa near Gibraltar and the mouth of


the Guardiana River on the Portuguese border is the least commercial. This is where the Madrillenos buy their second homes, possibly in the hope of avoiding sun- seeking invaders from Northern Europe. In this, they’re increasingly unsuccessful, unsurprisingly given that the area is more remote, cheaper and less humid than the Costa del Sol. But that’s not the whole story. The


western Andalucian provinces of Cadiz, Sevilla and Huelva are rich in the ambience of old Spain. Sanlucar de Barrameda, the launch for voyages of remote discovery by celebrated locals Magellan and Columbus makes a good starting point for an unforgetable roadie. First stop, Cadiz, a maze of cobbles walked by Romans and Moors, then by British conquerors and, currently, by those who love geting lost in streets with a bar on every corner and a superb beach beyond every crumbling wall. Second stop, Sevilla, famous for the most


elaborate Easter festivities in an area that glorifies flamenco dancers and swains


on horseback. The Romano-Moorish city is dominated by the Giralda, the gothic cathedral’s imposing minaret, and the Alcazar, the fortified royal palace overlooking the Guadalquivir river. Third stop, Jerez de la Frontera, surrounded by vineyards growing Palamino grapes for the city’s sherry trade. It’s also a showcase for Spanish riding, with demonstrations and a carriage museum at the Royal Andalucian School of Equestrian Art. Don’t miss: family-run affordables. Riva,


on the river bank in the tiny fishing port of Ayamonte, serves catch of the day from the owner’s boat, a generous selection of pates, hams and vegetables, desserts and as much wine as you can drink for €20 (£18) a head. Wherever you stay, ask around....


Montecastillo Resort A long demanding Jack Nicklaus track set in the rolling countryside in deepest sherry country near Jerez de la Frontera. The front nine are open, the back rather tighter with a fine sighting of the Jerez Grand Prix circuit from the 13th hole. The course runs the full gamut of American target golf hazards: cavernous bunkers, ball-swallowing lakes, target greens.


Montecastillo Resort


The grandeur of the crenellated 19th-century Castillo clubhouse brings Wentworth to mind. hotelbarcelomontecastillo.com


La Monacilla Designed by Jose Maria Olazabal on a mission to impose homespun charm on natural pine forest. With plenty of space to play with, the holes are so well separated that you rarely see another golfer. Storks nest on the pylons, hoopoes provide colourful flashes as they peck for insects on the tee boxes. The challenges are fair, encouraging rhythm and rewarding decent shots with a respectable score. Maintenance is rustic, although the greens are firm and true. lamonacillagolf.com


Isla Canela The sun burns down on palm trees, bougainvillea, jacaranda and rampant blue heather on a course situated on marshland near the Portuguese frontier. The layout is flat but it shows its teeth early, with wicked ditches and reed beds across the second, third and fourth fairways. Get past those and you’re on for a flier. Fail and confidence may seep away. . golfislacanela.com


136 ABTA Golf 2018


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