By Martina Chanter

Being bordered by 115 miles of Costa Calida coastline, enjoying both the Mediterranean Sea and the Mar Menor, and blessed with a favourable year-round climate and plenty of sunshine, it is a surprise to learn that the small region of Murcia only joined the tourism charts around 18 years ago. Recent years have seen a big change: there has been a boom in golf course construction in Murcia; low-cost airlines conveniently fly into the local airport (San Javier), new motorways have been constructed, and a new International Airport at Corvera is scheduled for completion in 2011.

Needless to say the favourable year-round climate attracts golfers like bees to honey so Murcia has become a popular destination in Spain for golf holidays. Having a convenient cluster of golf courses located within easy reach of each other, together with a huge choice of golf villas rentals and inexpensive golf holiday accommodation on modern Spanish golf resorts, the Murcia region has now well and truly established itself as one of Spain’s golf hotspots. These modern golf resorts in Murcia are also perfect for family holidays as many of the Spanish resorts offer luxury villas with swimming pools.

GOLF RESORTS IN MURCIA, SPAIN

La Torre Golf Course: This Jack Nicklaus-designed course, with its huge lake and palm trees, is considered by many to be reminiscent of the Nicklaus Lake Las Vegas course. You’ll find undulating fairways on this desert-style course, fast greens, six Par 3s, some brain-not-brawn Par 4s, and testing shots over and bordering water.

El Valle Golf Course: Located in a scenic valley, this is another Nicklaus-designed desert-themed golf course needing more accuracy than length, where lakes, streams and waterfalls come into play, as well as clusters of bunkers, rocky outcrops, and copious vegetation. You’ll find this a tough challenge off the back tees.

Hacienda Riquelme Golf Course: Enjoying a breathtaking mountain backdrop, this Jack Nicklaus-designed course features ample fairways that look harmless at first glance. Don’t be fooled… the greens are wicked, the approaches difficult, and bunkers cleverly placed to complicate your game.

Condado de Alhama Golf Course: This is a hilly 18-hole championship course which features four lakes, undulating greens, elevation changes, and dramatic bunkering designed by Jack Nicklaus to blend sympathetically into its natural surroundings.

Mar Menor Golf Course: A choice of multiple tees makes this fairly flat attractively-landscaped course one that can be enjoyed by golfers of all standards. You’ll soon discover that a diverse range of shots are required – there are strategically placed bunkers, daunting water hazards, wide fairways and big greens.

Roda Golf Course: Dave Thomas has cleverly transformed almost flat terrain into an undulating and interesting to play 18-hole golf course. You’ll find three strategically placed lakes and a testing Par 3 island green.

Hacienda del Alamo Golf Course: Stepping onto the first tee of this Dave Thomas-designed rolling course you’re faced with a tantalizing panorama of the course and a view of four of the 84 immense white sand bunkers you’ll encounter during your round. Expect vast areas of wasteland flanking fairways and large greens which appear flat…. but don’t be misled; they are sloping, undulating and very tricky to read. The menacing greens have a narrow entrance so chip-and-run opportunities are few and far between; fairway bunks are well-positioned and there are lengthy carries from many tees. Watch out for the Par 3 8th hole: it has a tee shot over lakes to a well-protected green, guaranteed to psyche out the bravest of players.

Don’t get too engrossed in your game though – take time out to enjoy stunning views over the countryside to the mountains. For beginners, or golfers who want to hone their game, there’s a great Golf Academy on site.

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