The Costa Brava has similar attributes to many holiday golf destinations in Continental Europe. It’s less than a two hour flight from the UK, it has sun sea and scenery in abundance and truly fantastic local cuisine, but this area, on the north eastern tip of Spain where the Pyrenean foothills tumble down to meet the azure blue waters of the Mediterranean has additional features thrown in for good measure.
Except for the peak months of July and August when the Catalonians from nearby Barcelona virtually take over the area, its courses are relatively quiet compared to other parts of Spain, and the big plus is that golf here is priced much more reasonably!
PGA de Catalunya, only minutes from Girona airport was opened in 1998 and staged the Spanish Open a year later. Water features on seven of the holes and even where it is absent there is no respite, with tight doglegs featuring over an undulating 7,300 yards from the back tees. The Tour course features wider fairways and greens.
There is also an hotel development under way at Emporda Golf Club, just 15 minutes from the coast. The Links course features dune like mounds, large bunkers and tricky undulating greens with several water hazards. The other is aptly named the forest course, the fairways enclosed by statuesque pines.
Serres de Pals, is perhaps the most forgiving test in the area, but a challenge nonetheless. Several lakes come into play and there are some superb par threes. Relatively flat it lies in between it’s neighbours Emporda and Pals and has stunning views over the surrounding countryside, the medieval village of Pals and the nearby Isles de Medes.
Golf de Pals is the oldest established course in the region and a comparatively short 6,900 yds but the visitor should not be fooled as the early dog leg tight tree lined fairways of this Hawtree design demand great precision from the tee. From the 6th the course widens out presenting an opportunity to open the shoulders. Unusually the course has a par of 73, and contains six par fives.
These three courses, Pals, Emporda and Serres have just launched a joint three or five round green fee promotion that will be available through all the local hotels in addition to the golf clubs.
Girona, boasting a magnificent cathedral here is a must, is also home to a great FW Hawtree design. A buggy is advisable as it is a hilly layout, and a huge clubhouse will take care of your every need after the round.
Peralada Golf Club lies on the northern edge of the region a few miles from the city of Figueres, famous for its Dali Museum. There is a five star hotel, a nine hole short course, while the compact 6,600 yard layout has hosted the second stage European Tour School on several occasions. Added to all this there is a castle and winery just a drive and a five iron away!
The Torremirona Club on the opposite side of Figueres in the village of Navata also has its own hotel and rental apartments. The 5th has an island green, the back nine is wide and inviting and there are magnificent views over the nearby Pyrenees.
An extremely enjoyable round can be had at The Golf Costa Brava Club, which has a former Catalan farmhouse as its imposing clubhouse. Measuring 6,200 yards the course winds its way through pine and cork groves over the front nine while the back nine widens out.
Close by Golf D’Aro-Masnou, a thousand feet up in the Gavarres Mountains, has spectacular views over the sea and surrounding hills. The course is surrounded by pines and features more than a thousand olive trees and two large lakes.
The Costa Brava offers a superb selection of modern golf hotels and classic layouts and a taste of the real spain too.
Fly into Barcelona, 70 miles to the south, which is served by British Airways (www.ba.com) from Gatwick, Iberia (www.iberia.com) from Heathrow, EasyJet (www.easyjet.com) from Gatwick and Luton, Monarch (www.flymonarch.com) from Manchester. Girona is served by Ryanair (www.ryanair.com).
Where to play
PGA De Catalunya
Emporda Golf Club
Serres de Pals
Golf Platja de Pals
Club de Golf Girona
Club de Golf Peralada
Golf Costa Brava
Torremirona Golf Club
Where to stay
The Emporda Golf Resort offers a spa and two layout
For more information on hotels and apartments visit www.costabrava.org and www.golfgironabarcelona.com.