Sotogrande as a golfing destination is not a hard sell. Replete with excellent courses, this enclave of the Costa del Sol also tees up weather, the beach, cuisine and culture.
It’s also a short flight - roughly two hours - from the UK, served by Monarch when flying into Gibraltar - or Gib, as the locals call it.
Almenara, designed by Dave Thomas, has three loops of nine which work their way through the hilly terrain.
It may be attached to a hotel, but don’t for a second think this is a classic “resort course”. This track is tough, by anyone’s standards. If you are struggling off the tee, you can kiss goodbye to any semblance of a decent score.
For fairways are winding and tight, and often slope towards danger.
Greens are on the generous size, but have subtle gradients. They run at a moderate pace, and are kept in superb condition.
Almenara has a number of truly memorable holes, with vastly elevated tees forcing players to drive down to fairways, or launch irons into sunken greens.
Water is sporadic throughout, often traversing the fairways, causing golfers to stop and ponder club selection on the tee.
There are thrilling views of the local region throughout.
A stern test off the tee, but Almenara’s difficulty is matched by its beauty. Narrow, winding fairways can make this a driving nightmare if you are not confident with the big stick in hand.
The course has serious character, with many memorable holes. If the quality of the track was taken up a small notch, it would be up there with Valderrama and La Reserva as the best in Sotogrande.
Most definitely worth a visit - but make sure you bring your A-game.
Head to the Almenara website for more.