The Rain in Spain? How About 133 Days of Sunshine Annually?

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As a history buff, Spain is a country that invokes for me strong images and emotions: El Cid, The Reconquista, Conquistadors, Miguel Cervantes and Don Quioxte, The Inquisition, Napoleon’s Peninsular War and De Goya (top left), The Spanish Civil War, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Bullfighting, the Running of the Bulls.

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Spain also invokes strong golfing images for me: Seve and Sergio and Miguel Angel Jimenez. The 1997 Ryder Cup at Valderama. Sun drenched fairways, reminiscent of the American Southwest, but with an old world flavor.

It was all brought back with the recent Volvo World Match Play Championships at Finca Cortesin. That was a terrific course, and surely one of the reasons that Spain is challenging for the title of golf capital of Europe. Spain is probably third on my list of places outside the US to play, after Scotland.

Recently some friends of ours took a “romantic” trip to Jamacia, and highly recommended the experience. They loved just sitting around in sunny warm weather and doing nothing for days. Sounds great, but I think I’m going to hold out for a trip to Spain. First, Mrs. Golfblogger speaks Spanish and enjoys the culture (she spent part of her childhood in Mexico), so that would work out well. And second, she would have plenty of things to do on the couple of days I decided to take to the links. On the other hand, the trip to Scotland for me will, I’m sure, be a solo one.

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Since it was brought to my attention recently, I’ve taken a hard look at a place called La Manga Las Lomas Village (above) on Spain’s Mediterranean side, which offers three courses and was voted Europe’s top golf resort twice in the past five years. Photos show that the three courses are quite different, and between them are representative of all that Spain has to offer. The South Course, which opened in 1971 and was reworked by Arnold Palmer in the 1990s looks a lot like a Palm Springs course, with few trees, but lots of water hazards and bunkers. The North course has more palm trees, bigger lakes, and ‘barrancas”—dry gulches with rocks, sand and desert plants—that come into play. Finally, photos of the west course remind me a bit more of the type I often play—cut through a hilly pine forest, with tight fairways. But there’s something different about it, too—that indescribable touch of the exotic.

Mrs. GolfBlogger wouldn’t be left out, either. There’s a Spa and Fitness center, swimming pools, and nearby shops, restaurants. Nearby are beaches along the Manga del Mar Menor, a strait that separates the Mediterranean from the Mar Menor (a saltwater lagoon.). It’s miles long, and both sides have usable beaches. We could satisfy our mutual interest in history by visiting nearby Cartagena, a strategic port in Roman times, which boasts Roman ruins, a ruined theatre and archaeological museums.

Our 20th is coming up. I’m still thinking and planning.

cotland and Banff in Canada.

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