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by Lord Timbo

Lord Timbo does not like the Costa del Sol. He must be the only North European who doesnt yet own a home there. Part of the problem is the people you meet on the Costa. 60% of them are trying to sell you some horribly overpriced piece of real estate: and the rest are divided between the Noveau Riche from Moscow, Dublin, and Stockholm. And when it comes to Golf Courses, they are usually Mickey Mouse tracks full of weird golf holes crammed into tiny amounts of very expensive real estate. Because of the over-development, repulsive pseudo Spanish villas and apartment blocks surround many of the courses. Playing some of these holes resembles driving a golf ball down a city street. To add insult to injury, all of these courses are over-priced and over-played, and are usually full of large drunken Scandinavian men who seem to think that a 4 iron is an extension of their penis. They are most happy when they are raping and pillaging virgin Golf Holes like a bunch of maurauding Vikings. Apart from avoiding Nordic 4 irons, the fact that one has to book a tee-time three years in advance, and pay ridiculous green fees, means that Lord Timbo travels to the area with a heavy heart. There must be some strange economic formula at work here: The more misery we must endure, the higher the green fees.

It was therefore only because of a great sense of duty to my readers that I was persuaded to visit the area one more time. And I am so happy I made the effort…Lord Timbo has found a marvellous gem of a golf resort unlike any other along the Costa del Crass. Actually I liked it so much that I am reluctant to share it with you, in case Vikings start to appear. Promise me you will leave your 4 iron in the bag. The Suites Hotel at the San Roque Club is a beautiful country house set in its own estate, marvellously decorated in real Andalusian Grandee style. It was the former home of a famous Sherry family, and enjoys unspoilt views over the hills and the sea. There are 50 suites, built in single story, separate casitas, all set in meticulously manicured gardens, and surrounding a lagoon type swimming pool. Lord Timbo likes his food, and was impressed by both the Spanish and Japanese restaurants on the premises. (Timbos Insider Tip: Maceus Fish Restaurant in nearby Puerto Duquesa - ask for the sea bass in salt)

The Hotel would be worth a visit on its own merit, but the best part of the whole resort is the Dave Thomas designed Championship Golf Course. Lord Timbo has played on some fine courses around the world, and can assure his gentle readers that San Roque is one of the best around. From the back tees, at 6500 meters, its enough of a monster for the most craven masochist. As Timbo was in holiday mode, he played it from the Yellow Tees (6140 meters) but still proceeded to struggle in over his handicap. There really are no bad holes on the course - even the easier holes are designed to ask questions off the tee or on the approach. Here are some of my favourite holes.


  • Hole 4, 347 meters. As you stand on the tee, with a brisk wind blowing straight at you, all you can see on the right side is out of bounds, and an enormous anaconda-like bunker. Dont go there! On the left is a catchment bunker and trees. Dont go there either! So the choice is actually quite easy - just hit a perfect 225 meter drive down the middle of the 20 meter wide fairway, then a crisp seven iron to the left side of an elevated green, which is protected by a large comfortable bunker positioned just right to catch any mishit shot. Walk off the green with a par and I guarantee the golf gods will be smiling at you.
  • Hole 6, 411 meters. There is a very large water hazard in the middle of the fairway, about 220 meters off the tee. It is impossible for amateurs to carry this hazard with a driver, so the only way to play it is to lay up. The further back you lay up, the longer the approach, so again you get all these damned questions on the tee. It depends on the wind, but Timbo played it 5 Wood, and another 5 Wood. First 5 wood was marvellous…just 5 meters short of the water. The second 5 Wood couldnt make it all the way up the hill, and found the bunker. After a scrappy sand shot, managed to three put from 25 feet. One bitch of a green. Timbos playing partner (Mick the Sick) played a flawless 4 iron off the tee, and a 5 iron to the front of the green. Walked off with his par. Timbo didnt speak to him for three holes.
  • Hole 11, 405 meters. Dog leg left. Big boys cut the corner over the bunker, and get a downhill roll. For the second shot theres a stream running across the fairway, and a lake protecting the right side of the green. A very pretty hole.
  • Hole 12, 370 meters. Water on the left, out of bounds on the right…but a generous fairway in between. The trouble is the second shot is over serious water, with no real bail out shot. There are a lot of balls in that water hazard, including two of Timbos. Mick the Sick played a glorious 3 Wood from 170 meters into the teeth of a gale. The ball landed 1 meter over the hazard and rolled to within 10 feet of the pin.
  • Hole 18, 391 meters. A great finishing hole. A precise drive is needed, with a bit of a draw, otherwise you could find yourself running out of fairway. A challenging second shot to a green protected by grass mounds on the left and water on the right. Finish like Lord Timbo with a birdie, and its off to the bar for three gallons of Riojas finest.


While you are at San Roque, you should definitely invest in a lesson from one of the finest teaching pros in the business. Eric Grandison speaks fluent Scottish, but hes not bad at English and German as well. A real gentleman who knows his business, Eric will quickly identify your weaknesses, and provide you with some intelligent and easy practice drills which will help you to improve your game.

San Roque also has a fine equestrian centre, and access to its own beach club, so there are other things to occupy the family. The Club will also arrange tee times at preferred green fees at six other great clubs in the area. These include Europes No. 1 course, Valderrama, venue of the 1997 Ryder Cup. San Roque is not cheap, but it is excellent value for money, and a real golfing experience. Best of all is the peace and quiet…so if you want the glitz of Marbella, dont come here.

San Roque is on the main Malaga to Cadiz highway, between Estepona and Gibralter. The Marina of Sotogrande is only 5 kms away. It
Lord Timbo (with apologies to my many Scandinavian friends)
 

www.sanroqueclub.com
  Reservations 956 61 3030
 

 

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