BRAVO TO COSTA BRAVA By Mark Behan.
The Costa Brava is a beautiful coastal destination in the north-eastern region of Spain, in the province of Girona, Catalonia. It is famed for its beautiful rugged coastline and has become a popular destination for holidays. With the Costa Brava having the perfect combination of sun, sand, food and nature, it has become a location that is a must see for many people.
You can do it all in the Costa Brava whether it is a quick getaway, a family holiday, a walking experience through some of the most spectacular scenery the region has to offer or as in my case a golfing trip.
I visited the Costa Brava in the middle of May, with the view of playing a range of different courses that would suit all types of golfers. The region has some of the finest golf courses that Spain has to offer, and I am delighted to say that it did not disappoint. I stayed in the town called Platja de Aro, approximately one hour north of Barcelona and located no more than 30 minutes’ drive from Girona Airport.
The town itself is a bustling hub of activity with beautiful restaurants and bars as well as a wide range of high class shops. While I was here I played three terrific golf courses and stayed in a beautiful hotel that looked out over the Costa Brava’s famed coastline.
PGA Catalunya (Stadium Course):
From the moment you enter into the grounds of the PGA Catalunya, it oozes class. With two golf courses on the resort it caters for all golfers. The clubhouse facilities are excellent with a large pro shop which is fully stocked with the best equipment on the market. Before playing our round we had some food in the clubhouse which was excellent and again the staff within the clubhouse were friendly and accommodating. I played the stadium course which is a true test of golf from the Black markers, every hole that you encounter offers something different to test you, whether it is your driving accuracy, your iron play, your up and down prowess or the ability to read these incredibly fast greens, this course will punish you for poor shot selection but rewards you for good shots. Which is all most golfers will ask for. Of the two golf courses on the PGA’s resort the stadium course is a much sterner test of golf, and you need to be on your A game to get around it. There is no doubt that this is one of Spain’s finest golf courses and one that everyone should experience when visiting the Costa Brava.
13th – Spectacular view from the tee, an excellent driving hole. If you can find the fairway a tricky approach still awaits with water in front and back of the green with good bit of runoff into the water on the right hand side of the green, the question is if the pin is located right centre….. how brave are you?
What’s needed in the bag:
Length off the tee and nerves of steel on lightning fast greens. !
Playa De Pals:
30 minutes’ drive from our hotel in Platja de Aro is Playa De Pals Golf Club. Celebrating its 50th anniversary, this is a gem of the Costa Brava, the golf course is not the longest nor does it have the reputation of some of the other golf courses in the region, but this is a must play. The golf course is built in the middle of a dense pine forest, which is what is unique about this golf course. It challenges all levels of golfers, it is not a golf course where the big hitters prevail either, but rather the golfer who can navigate the golf course using guile and finesse. From the very first hole you are intimidated by the extremely narrow fairways and the over-hanging pine trees that will grab your ball if you are slightly off line. It is one of the tightest golf courses I have played.
The property also has a hotel that is perfect for groups to stay in. The hotel has a large pool area as well as a fantastic restaurant. The Hotel and Golf Club also offer packages for golfers with Playa de Pals and other local golf courses.
9th Par 3 – This hole optimises the golf course. It is a splendid 148 metre hole across water with the clubhouse overlooking the green. It has a narrow entrance to the green and the setting of the hole is spectacular.
What’s needed in the bag:
Long iron accuracy and patience all day long.
Emporda Forest Course:
This 36 hole resort offers golfers both a parkland course and also a links course. While visiting the Emporda resort I played the forest course. The golf course is surrounded by tress not too dissimilar to Playa De Pals pine trees, although Emporda is nowhere near as narrow and tight as Playa De Pals. The design and shape of the course allows golfers the opportunity to get lost in the peaceful tranquillity that surrounds this golf course. But don’t be fooled by this, Emporda is no easy track and will punish any lapse in concentration that you have. Small undulating greens will test even the very best putters and shot shaping is paramount. Off the tee the golf course looks to test a golfer’s ability to both draw and fade the ball to find that A1 landing location in order to set up opportunities to hit greens in regulation, Miss in the wrong spots, and Emporda Forest will quickly turn your scorecard into a poor day at the office.
The clubhouse is state of the art with an excellent restaurant. A large driving range is also on site as well as a Double Tree by Hilton hotel, it’s a golf enthusiasts dream… Hotel, pool, golf, practice facilities, what more could you ask for.
10th Par 5 – Terrific dog leg right that teases the golfer to have a go in two, but beware a large deep bunker awaits anyone who comes up short, and those who do will struggle for par.
What’s needed in the bag:
Shot shaping ability and concentration.
Silken Park Hotel San Jorge:
This beautiful 4 star hotel is situated in the heart of Platja de Aro. The hotel offers customers exceptional views overlooking the spectacular coastline as we as access to beach from the hotel. The hotel itself is magnificently furnished with 119 room and the staff are extremely pleasant. On my stay we enjoyed one of the hotels Seaview rooms, which are spacious, comfortable and are equipped with a large balcony and excellent views. The hotel also has a wide range of facilities including a fantastic restaurant as well as a large pool area and a state of the art spa facility, providing guests with sauna, steam room, and a wide range of spa treatments to meet everyone’s needs. There is also a gym that offers guests views that overlook the ocean and beach which is very impressive.
The hotel’s lobby area is perfect for relaxing in the evening and the bar facilities are excellent if you are looking for a quiet night in. Over our 3 night stay we enjoyed walking into the heart of Platja de Aro which is less than 10 minutes’ walk from the hotel. Within the main town a wide range of excellent restaurants and a bustling nightlife awaits.
With the Costa Brava region famed for its Gastronomy it makes for a perfect destination to go on holiday and play golf, relax and enjoy the sun. The short trip I had there only left me wanting more and I think this can be said about most people who visit the region as it has that ability to just pull you.