Golf Course Guide For Costa Del Sol, Spain

The Costa del sol golf course guide is a “rough guide” and is purely the personal opinion of the author. Please take in to consideration that these comments are subjective, personal opinions and standards of golf differ. Please take this rough guide as exactly that, an honest, personal opinion from a fellow golf addict.

Alcaidesa Links Golf Course, Costa del Sol, Spain.

Alcaidesa golf course is a 18 hole, par 70 golf course.
Address: Ctra de Cadiz (N340), Km 124.6, La Linea, Cadiz. Tel: +34 956 791 040.

This is a beautiful and tricky golf course for every standard of golfer from 28 handicap to scratch. Allis and Clark have made and admirable attempt to create a rare links course on the Costa. Stunning views across the bay to Gibraltar and hilly terrain make it a delight to play. Take plenty of balls, as the fairways are tight and unforgiving surrounded by gorse and ravines.

A buggy is needed – even for the fittest amongst us- and as you play consider taking an extra club up on par threes because of deceptive wind.

Alhaurin Golf Course, Costa del sol, Spain.

Alhaurin golf course is a 18+18+9, par 72 golf course which was designed by Severiano Ballesteros.
Address: Ctra Mijas-Alhaurin, (MA485) Km6, Alhaurin el Grande. Tel: +34 95 259 5970.

Tight beyond belief, difficult beyond anything I have every seen before.

The first hole is extremely difficult with a narrow fairway and rocks to the sides of the fairway, which send your ball bouncing high in to the sky, never to be seen again. As you progress the course gets tougher and if you are not really on top of your game you could easily become more and more disheartened as you progress around the course. I stopped counting shots after I lost my tenth golf ball! By the 18th I had suffered several episodes of golf rage and was close to a nervous breakdown.

I’ve read course guides say that this course “compels golfers to concentrate on their game and choose with care which club they should use for every stroke.” Personally I would say this course is one of the toughest golf course on the Costa del Sol. This course is at best described as a challenge for an experienced player who is on top form, at worst its tight and downright cruel.

Alhaurin golf course is generally cheaper to play than most other local golf courses.

A buggy is essential as is an ample supply of golf balls.

Cabopino Golf Course, Costa del Sol, Spain.

Cabopino golf course is a 18 hole par 71 golf course.

It’s a relatively new course but it has matured very quickly and is very well maintained. The marshal’s are friendly and very welcoming.

There is a driving range on the approach road to the course, so if you arrive early you can loosen up your swing. Alternatively you could take the approach Andy and I prefer, loosen up with a San Miguel at the bar before you tee off.

Cabopino golf has a pleasant clubhouse, with a pleasant sun terrace where you can sit, eat, drink and enjoy the views of the ocean. The staff in the bar and restaurant are friendly staff and they serve good quality food.

The short at only course is only 5,170 meters long but it’s has tight fairways and is challenging.

The greens are large and were of fantastic quality when we last visited. The third hole is the one most people enjoy the most and it’s not one you will forget, it’s a par 4 which drops dramatically from the tee to the green and has outstanding views. A buggy is advisable on this course, which is hilly.

Dama de Noche Golf Course, Costa del Sol, Spain.

Dama de Noche golf course is a 9 hole, Par 70 golf course.
Centro Commercial Plaza, Oficinas 51-52, 29660, Nueva Andalucia, Marbella.

Dama de Noche golf course is a nine-hole course, which can be played as 18 holes. It is flat, wide and easy. It is ideal course for a high handicapper or anyone wanting a gentle stroll.

All that changes a night though because the is course is flood lit and can be played at night.

They say that the lighting system is designed to cast no shadows thus giving daylight quality and maximum visibility, does that apply in the rough as well I ask myself?

You do have to make a reservation for night golf because they only put the lights on if there is sufficient demand but for total golfing addicts or insomniac this course offers considerable novelty value and it’s one to talk about in the clubhouse when you go home.

El Chaparral Golf Course, near La Cala de Mijas, Costa del Sol, Spain.

El Chaparral golf course is an 18 hole, par 73 course.
Address: N340 / A7 Km 203.

El Chaparral is a club which closed several years ago for reasons that I don’t need to go into now. The course has now risen from the ashes and is trying to build a reputation for itself. Purely for research purposes, I tested out the clubhouse both before and after my round at El Chaparral and I found the staff to be particularly welcoming and they really did their best to make us feel at home.

Even though El Chaparral is only a stones throw from the coast it has an English parkland course feel to it. The fairways are long and narrow and I found the course testing, I didn’t have enough room to risk my driver off many tee’s yet I needed the driver to get the distance I needed off the tee’s to get any chance of reaching the green in regulation.

El Chaparral is extremely hilly and walking it is only for the bravest of golfers. Overall I would describe it as a very tricky course, bordering on frustrating, it tempted me to use the driver but punished me when I did!

The course is a little pricey for what you get. It was quiet when I played it but I’ve been back since and it is gaining in popularity.

Estepona Golf.

Carretera Cádiz, KM 150, Arroyo Vaquero, Apartado 532, 29680 Estepona.

18 hole, par 72 course.

The first time I played this course about nine years ago I was extremely disappointed. The fairways were worn, bare and baked, the greens were unkempt and the whole feel of the place was one of a lack of investment. Since then I have been tempted to re-visit by a friend who told me that improvements have been made yet the cost has been kept down. Well fair play, the cost has stayed relatively low and there has obviously been a lot of investment and as a result the course has improved considerably. It still needs some TLC but it is now playable. Still nowhere near the quality of Monte Mayor, La Cala or the like but it is perfect for a cheap round in between more serious games.

Flamingos Golf Course, Costa del Sol, Spain.

Flamingos golf course is a 18-hole, par 72 course.
Address: Ctra de Cadiz Km 166, Marbella / Benhavis.

A relatively new course but the work that has gone into the course makes that incredible, it looks like its been established for years.

Clearly no expense has been spared when they built this course. Everything from the hotel toilets to the course itself is magnificent, lavish and downright opulent. A visit to Flamingos really is a treat (and before you ask I don’t get a commission for writing this, I just tell it as I see it.)

Flamingos is worth a visit just to have a walk around the hotel, which has clearly been fashioned on the Alhambra Palace and its magnificent water gardens.

As for the golf course itself it is every bit as lavish as the hotel and clubhouse. As you meander around the course the views vary from a panoramic views of the Mediterranean to secluded views of the wild countryside. Around the course there is an incredible variety of trees, plants and vegetation, some native, some clearly imported so as to add to the experience.

Every now and them you stumble across an old (well they genuinely look old but they weren’t there in 2005!) ruins or statues and every corner holds a new surprise, all of them pleasant.

The front nine holes have generous wide fairways where you really can open up your shoulders, a rarity for Spanish golf and the greens are ample too, so get the low score on the card in front nine if you can. As you negotiate the back nine the fairways tend to narrow down, especially the 18th which really focuses the mind but even so the back nine are not overly cruel. The fairways are narrower than the front nine but they tend to be shorter and you have loosened up, so even though you have to be a little more precise than on the front nine the golf is still enjoyable.

If you visit Flamingos make sure you take the time to explore the hotel after your round. It’s well worth a look.

Over all I would describe Flamingos as a cracking course which tends to be a little on the pricey side but if you want to treat yourself you will not be disappointed. A Masters or Championship course of the future I will wager.

Lauro Golf Course, Costa del Sol, Spain.

Lauro golf course is an 18 hole par 72 golf course.
Address:Ctra de Coin,(C344) Km 77, Los Caraclilos, Alhaurin de la Torre. Tel: +34 952 4127 67.

Beautiful parkland course surrounded by lots of Andalucian trees. It offers breathtaking views over the valley and Malaga bay. Nine lakes so there is something to think about but it is a relatively easy and relaxing course.

La Cala Golf Course, Costa del Sol, Spain.

La Cala has three golf courses, each of 18 holes, par’s 72,73 and 71.
Address: La Cala de Mijas, Mijas Costa. Tel: +34 95 266 9000.

A personal favourite, all three courses are equally good. I highly recommend La Cala golf, not only because of the quality of the golf but also because of the quality of the clubhouse, facilities, surroundings and the reasonable pricing.

At La Cala golf there are three spectacular 18 hole courses, which are nestled in the countryside about 15-20 minutes drive in land from La Cala town.

La Cala golf is an enormous luxury golfing resort, which is perfect for golfers who want quality golf at a sensible price in an exclusive environment.

Set out like a Country Club in extremely large grounds it has an exclusive clubhouse and restaurant. It also has a separate five star hotel, where you will find an very exclusive restaurant.

All three courses have terrific obstacles & natural water hazards along with narrow fairways and large well-kept greens. Set amongst tranquil mountains, all three courses are long and sculptured into the natural contours of the countryside which means that you have think your way around La Cala golf and use the contours of the landscape to your advantage.

All three courses hilly and a buggy is a must. The South is my favourite, it’s a little more forgiving than the North Course and the Europa.

Try the Leadbetter Golf Academy located at La Cala Golf, it’s a little expensive and you will have to book in advance but the instructor’s improved my game, so they must be good!

At the academy they also have an excellent grass driving range.

La Noria.

La Noria golf is a nine hole, par 33 course.
It is located at the beginning of the road from La Cala de Mijas which runs to La Cala Golf off the N340 or A7.

This 9 hole course has been a long time in the building and it is obviously eventually going to grow into a 18 holes course but that will probably take some time.

The club house is literally a bar come cafe but it is adequate and serves its purpose.

I am no fan of 9 hole courses but I have to say I enjoyed playing this course. It’s relatively simple to negotiate and very easy to walk around. The fairways are wide and none of the holes were particularly long. There is water to cross and a few challenges as you negotiate the course and while it’s no Carnoustie for what you pay its not at all bad.

It’s not every day that you want to play challenging golf and if that’s the case then La Noria is worth thinking about. This course is perfect for a high handicapper, a novice golfer or simply for a warm up for a more serious round later on in your holiday. As nine hole courses go this is one of the better ones and for the price its worth bearing in mind.

Los Naranjos golf course, Costa del sol, Spain.

A relatively flat and wide 18 hole course, something which is rare on the Costa del sol.

The best summary I can give of this course is to say it is wide and forgiving and it allows you to “go for it” when the opportunity arises yet there are enough challenges to keep you focused and maintain your interest.

In all honesty a buggy is not essential but if you do hire one the in built satnav is very hand, it even gives you a distance to the buggy in front of you, so there’s no excuse for taking out the four ball ahead of you, never mind such is life!

We found the course to be well marshalled, nothing oppressive but they gave the slow golfers a hint when needed. The course staff were all very polite and helpful and we were made to feel very welcome.

The course has a excellent restaurant and the beer at the end of the round was suitably chilled, what more could you ask for.

Reasonably priced and definitely a course I will be re-visiting.

Mijas Golf Courses, Costa del Sol, Spain.

Mijas golf has two 18 hole golf courses, par 71 & 72.

Address: Urb. Mijas Golf, Mijas-Costa. Tel: +34 95 247 6843

Two relaxing 18 hole courses both having flat and wide fairways. Both courses are generous and forgiving leaving the option of a safe shot down the middle for a bogie or a par, alternatively you can take the driver out and go for the birdie. Good scores are achievable on either of the courses, which are set both in an attractive and tranquil landscape.

If you hire a buggy they have satellite / GPS tracking and mapping which gives you distances from where you park the buggy to the green and to hazards. Watch out though, don’t make the same mistake I made, the distances are in meters not 1yards, don’t forget to add 10% to get yardages!

All level of golfers will find that both courses at Mijas golf are a fair and enjoyable test of golf. Being one of the better-known clubs Mijas can get busy. A four and a half hour round is not unusual because it is so popular but the surroundings are so pleasant you hardly notice. I recommend both of the Mijas courses, play them and you will see why.

Just a tip for those playing out of season at Mijas golf course. They often close half of each of the golf courses to rest them out of season so you may find that you are playing the front nine of Los Olivios and the back nine of Los Largos one day and vice versa the next day. It’s not a problem as both are nice courses but sometimes this takes people by surprise.

Miraflores Golf Course, Costa del Sol, Spain.

Miraflores golf course is an 18 hole, par 72 golf course.

Address: Urb. Riviera del Sol, 29647 Mijas-Costa. Tel: (952) 83 36 47.

This used to be a favourite and regular golf course for me, sadly there has been extensive building work all around the course edge of Miraflores golf course and it appears never ending. In my opinion the building work has taken the edge off the natural beauty and spoilt the course somewhat. While prices have been reduced in an apparent attempt to tempt golfers back to the course I have to ask myself if I want to go all the way to Spain to play golf in the middle of a building site?

It is one of the more forgiving courses on the Costa and a buggy is not essential.

If you do try Miraflores golf course loosen up in advance of the first tee, the first hole is a tight and requires a straight shot or you could end up in the garden of one of the many villa’s next to the fairway.

Monte Mayor Golf Course, Costa del Sol, Spain.

Address: Ctra de Cadiz (N340), Km 165.6, La Cancelada, San Pedro. Tel: +34 95 211 3088.

A challenging course but in my opinion this is the best golf course on the Costa del sol, if your game is on form. It is extremely tight, very hilly and is carefully sculptured into the natural mountainous terrain. The natural views and beauty of this course are second to none.

Your golf needs to be accurate, sensible club selection and course management are a must. If you play sensibly and stay on the fairways you will be rewarded, if not make sure you have a good supply of golf balls.

If you play Monte Mayor golf course you are guaranteed a day to remember and you will want to go back as often as I do.

Most of the year golf buggies are included in the green fee’s. If you visit in high season they may not be, in which case I strongly recommend that visit hire a buggy, you will need it.

This is a very isolated golf course, in a location where you have to ask “Who thought of putting a golf course way up here?” The isolation adds to attraction of this incredible golf course but it means that it is difficult to find, so I strongly recommend that you drive to it for a “test run” the day before your golf.

It is set in spectacular mountainous terrain where you will find peace and tranquility combined with natural beauty and unforgettable golf. A challenge but a fantastic golf course in surroundings that are literally unsurpassable. To sum up, if your game is on form do not miss this golf course, its brilliant.

Parador Malaga Golf Course, Costa del Sol, Spain.

Parador golf course is an 18 hole, par 72 golf course.

Apartado de Correos, 324 29080 Málaga. Tel. +34 952376677

Parador golf Course is famous because it hosted the Spanish Open’s in 1992 and 1999. Personally I am not sure why they would host such a prestigious event at this course because it is literally at the end of the busy runway of Malaga International Airport and there is constant noise as planes take off and land right next to the course.

I found this course boring, the greens were in a terrible condition and bunkers were in a state of total disrepair with bare soil and mud instead of sand.

Famous it may be but I found it to be a total let down. In my opinion the best way to view this golf course is out of the airplane window as you land or from the main road as you drive past to one of the many more pleasant courses in Andalucia.

Rio Real Golf Course, Costa del Sol, Spain.

Rio Real golf course is an 18 hole, par 72 golf course.
Urb Rio Real, P.O.BOX 82, 29600 Marbella, Malaga. Tel: +34 95 277 95 09.

A mature, tranquil course that gradually meanders way up into the hills and then it wanders all the way back down to the beach. At one stage you feel you are alone in the middle of the mountains, next you are on a green that is literally next to the beach.

The course generally has wide fairways and while you have to concentrate it does not punish you unfairly. Water come in to play on a few times but in all honesty if you play sensible golf it won’t cost you any golf balls. Pleasant countryside and views in the hills and a fantastic vista as you play down to the edge of the Mediterranean Ocean. A relaxing day of golf, this course comes in my top three golf courses but it does tend to be pricey because of its popularity.

The club house has a magnificent balcony / terrace restaurant where you can sit, watch fellow golfers playing out the 18th and reminisce on your “shot of the day.”

The down side of Rio real golf course is the cost. A round of golf here tends to be expensive and the golf buggies, which I would recommend hiring due to the hilly location, are an expensive addition to this already high cost.

Santa Clara.

18 holes, par 71.
Address Ctra A7, KM 187.5, Junto a Hospital Comarcal, 29600, Marbella. Tel. +34.952.85.01.11.
Being next to a busy main road you could easily assume that it would suffer from traffic noise. For some inexplicable reason it doesn’t. As soon as you tee off the course meanders away from the Coast following the gentle contours of the land leading you into a natural and peaceful setting. The course has several wide and relatively trouble free fairways where you can open your shoulders and let the ball fly but that said there are holes where course management is wise and where a little caution can pay dividends.

Santa Clara is relatively flat and is suitable for walking. The course is a fair test of golf and is similar in difficulty to many UK golf clubs, as opposed to many of the Spanish golf courses, which can be cruel at times. The course is perfect for an easy and relaxing round or for a golf society. It has many similarities to Rio Real but it is slightly easier, slightly flatter and has slightly less trouble. The course is relatively new and consequently it is not as well established as Rio Real.

When you arrive in the car park you will be met by an attendant on a buggy, who takes you your bag to the magnificent clubhouse, even thought it is only about forty yards from the car park. In the palatial clubhouse there are excellent changing rooms, shower facilities and a restaurant that serves a variety of quality food and drink.

My only reservation with this course is the green fee, which is very high compared to other courses in the area. The choice is yours.

San Roque Golf Course, Costa del Sol, Spain.

San Roque golf course is an 18 hole, par 72 golf course, which was designed by Dave Thomas.
Address:Urb. San Roque Club,Ctra de Cadiz (N340), Km 127, San Roque.Tel: +34 956 61 30 30.

The old course is expensive but is ideal for both experts and those looking for a leisurely game. Superb practice facilities and wonderful manicured greens and idyllic fairways. A real treat, if you are prepared to spend the money..

As a cheaper alternative you can always try the new course at San Roque, we visited and got a really good deal, half the price of the old course and we found it a fantastic days golf. There is a course is what I can best describe as a fair test, not too tough but not too easy either. They have got this course design absolutely spot on.

Santa Maria Golf Course, Costa del Sol, Spain.

Santa Maria golf course is an 18 hole, Par 72 golf course, which was designed by Antonio Garcia Garrido.
Address: Coto de Los Dolores, Urb. Elviria. Tel: +34 95 283 1036.

A pleasant and popular course, which is challenging. It has plenty of long holes where you can open up and swing the driver but every now and then they throw in a tight par three to bring you back down to earth. The course starts off with a hole over a lake where you can “go for it” and get the driver out. There is ample fairway and a decent drive makes it a short par four. The course gradually winds its way into the hills and far, far away, we recommend a buggy.

Santa Maria golf course tends to be a little on the pricey side. I found the staff to be unhelpful and less friendly than most other golf courses in the area but if you let the golf course speak for itself you will enjoy a round here.

If you want a buggy or a Powakaddy we strongly recommend that buggy pre-book it, they have a limited supply and they soon get taken.

Sotogrande Golf Course, Costa del Sol, Spain.

Sotogrande golf course is an 18 hole (Par 72) with an additional nine holes. It was designed by Robert Trent Jones.
Address: Paseo del Parque, Sotogrande, Cadiz. Tel +34 956 785 014

Another Robert Trent Jones success. He is reputed to have described Sotogrande as one of his proudest pieces of work, that’s a compliment from a golf course designer of such ability.

European Tour pros battle here at the end of the season to gain their cards for the forthcoming season so that’s an indication of the quality of this golf course.

Torrequebrada Golf Course, Costa del Sol, Spain.

Torrequebrada golf has an 18 hole, par 72 course and addition nine holes, which were designed by Jose Gancedo.
Address: Ctra de Cadiz (N340), Km 220, Benalmadena-Costa. Tel: +34 95 244 2742.

Every hole is a different experience. Fantastic views of the Mediterranean and has the shortest par 3 on the coast. The 1979 Spanish Open was played here and you can see why after you turn for home on the back nine. A large number of lakes and strategically placed wide bunkers ensure that this course retains its reputation as one of the most popular courses on the Costa. Welcoming and luxurious clubhouse.

Valderrama Golf Course, Costa del Sol, Spain.

Valderama has 18 holes and is a tough par 72.

Valderama golf course is a world famous golf course and is ranked number one course in Continental Europe.

Valderama golf course is always in superb condition and enjoys worldwide fame, not least due to having had the privilege to have hosted the 1997 Ryder Cup and the last two American Express World Championships.

Extremely expensive but if you can play a round of golf here you are privileged!

One word of warning, I have pre-booked to play Valderama twice and had the booking cancelled at very short notice by the course. Both times they blamed disease on the greens. Strange how this never happens when the Volvo Masters is being played there!

There are new golf courses appearing all the time in Andalucia and the Costa del sol has understandably become known as the Costa del golf. As avid lovers of golf we are regularly visiting the area and we will try to play as many golf courses in Andalucia as we possibly can just so that we can keep this web page up to date (well that’s the reason I give to my wife for playing so much golf anyway!)

The Costa del Sol Golf Guide is purely the subjective and personal opinion of the author.
The Costa del sol Golf Guide is “rough guide” of golf courses on and around the Costa del sol, Spain.

Profiling Lander University

Lander University is a state supported four year institution in Greenwood, South Carolina. The regional university was founded in 1872 as Williamston Female College, a private institution in Williamston, South Carolina. After the college moved to Greenwood, it was renamed in 1904 after its founder, Samuel Lander. Men were first admitted to the college in 1943. Today the campus occupies 123 acres and has a mix of older and newer buildings. Many of the university’s facilities have been upgraded or expanded in recent years.

The university enrollment is 3,000 undergraduate students, with an average class size of 22. The small class size and low student/ instructor ratio gives the institution the feel of a small private college. Lander University has undergraduate degree programs in 60 academic areas. Major areas of concentration and study include biology, chemistry, business administration, computer information systems, early childhood education, elementary education, special education, English, music, nursing, political science, and visual arts. There is a dual engineering degree program with Clemson University. Lander University offers a number of pre-professional programs including pre-law, pre-medicine, pre-dentistry, pre-pharmacy, pre-veterinary medicine, pre-physical therapy, and pre-occupational therapy. A criminal justice management degree is available as an online program. Three Masters Degree programs are offered at Lander University. The Masters programs that can be earned are a Master of Arts in Teaching in Art Education, a Master of Education in Teaching and Learning, and a Master of Education in Montessori Education. Lander University is the only institution in South Carolina offering undergraduate and graduate programs leading to a national certification in Montessori Education.

Students at Lander University may become involved in more than 60 clubs and organizations on campus. Available choices include academic organizations, honor societies, fraternities, sororities, professional organizations, theater and musical groups, student government, religious organizations, social groups, and intramural sports teams. Lander University participates in NCAA Division II athletics. Lander Bearcat teams compete in the Peach Belt Conference with teams in golf, tennis, baseball, softball, basketball, soccer, and volleyball. The Lander men’s tennis teams have won 12 National Championships in their athletic division.

Lander University has an Equestrian Center that operates the Bearcat Therapeutic Riding Center. The university has an equestrian team that participates on both a club and a show level. All students are welcome to join the equestrian team, regardless of their level of riding experience.

The Monsanto Gallery at Lander University features the work of artists from around the Southeast. Special exhibitions are scheduled during the academic year. The gallery is open to the public Monday-Thursday from 1-8pm and Fridays from 10am-5pm.

Review of Sun Mountain Zero-G Golf Carry Bag

Golf Carry Bag Reviews: Sun Mountain Zero-G


The Sun Mountain Zero-G takes top honors in our bag test due to its excellent all-around performance and the clever innovation of its belt strap. Sun Mountain has been toying around with ways to distribute the weight of the bag to the user’s hips and legs, instead of the shoulders and lower back, and with the Zero-G, they’ve finally gotten it right. Comfortable, easy to use, what’s not to like? Oh yeah, the steep price point. It may not be worth it to a limber 15-year old, but our middle-aged backs were more than willing to shuck out the extra cash. The additional amount you pay to Sun Mountain is a lot less than you’d otherwise have to pay to your massage therapist and your chiropractor…

Retail price: $229.99


The Sun Mountain Zero-G has a 6-way top that splits the club area into 6 sectors, but only two dividers run the length of the bag, so there are essentially 3 main club storage areas. The 6-way top divides each of those areas in two. We didn’t have much of a problem with limited number of full-length dividers, although once in a blue moon, your clubs will get tangled (particularly if your grips are sticky).


We’ll just repeat what we said about the legs on the Sun Mountain Superlight 3.5, since the Zero-G seems to have the same ones. Great legs! These are Stacey Keibler or Elle Macpherson quality gams we’re talking about on the Sun Mountain bags. Wide rubber feet (the Stacey/Elle analogies have now ended) provide excellent stability, and the legs pop out easily upon setting down the bag. There is an element of independent suspension in the legs, in that they don’t both automatically pop out the same amount, which is helpful when dealing with uneven lies. A Velcro strap can be used to lock the legs if the user is traveling or using a cart.


Like most of its competitors, the Sun Mountain Zero-G features 4 adjustment points for the straps. The padding on the straps is excellent.

The distinguishing feature of the Zero-G, of course, is the hip belt, which we’ll include as a “strap” for purposes of our review. Sun Mountain’s previous effort at redistributing weight was its terrible “HUG” technology, which involved flipping down an ungainly foam-covered metal brace around your hips.

But with the Zero-G, they’ve figured it out. The new hip belt eases the weight of the clubs and the bag off of your fragile back and shoulders and on to the big muscles of your hips and legs. Users will feel the difference over the course of a round (particularly on hilly terrain).

Using the Zero-G’s hip belt is a piece of cake – as with any other bag, you start by slinging it across your shoulders with the backpack straps, and then you simply fasten the padded belt strap around your hips with the Velcro that is located about where a belt buckle would be. Upon arriving at your ball, you pull the Velcro apart and set down the bag as you normally would. Occasionally, fastening and unfastening the Velcro belt is more trouble than it’s worth (like when you chunk an approach shot 40 yards) – in those cases, users can just leave the belt unfastened.

If you are taking a cart or traveling and don’t want to have to deal with the belt strap, you can easily slip the belt off of the bag and then use the “standard” backpack setup.


The Sun Mountain Zero-G features 7 total pockets.

1 large garment pocket runs along the right side of the bag, with 1 medium sized pocket and 1 small velour-lined waterproof valuables pocket (so your iPhone doesn’t zonk when it rains!) both along the outside of the garment pocket.
1 medium-sized and 1 small pocket rest on the spine of the bag.
1 medium sized ball pocket is on the left side of the bag, with 1 additional beverage pouch along the outside of this pocket. One note – the belt strap interferes with access to both of these pockets when the bag is set on the ground – it’s not impossible to reach them, but the user has to bend the belt strap out of the way. When the bag is on the user’s shoulders and the belt strap is fastened, unfettered access to these pockets (and in particular the beverage pouch) is restored.
There’s an additional pen holder along the spine of the bag, so if it wanted to, Sun Mountain could probably claim 8 pockets.

The Sun Mountain Zero-G includes traditional straps on the right side of the bag for holding an umbrella and a ring for attaching a towel.

It’s a very standard layout for pockets, but one that works well.


The Sun Mountain Zero-G has the same convoluted rain hood as the other Sun Mountain and Titleist products. Securing the hood involves the difficult process of threading two Velcro straps through anchors on the front of the bag (instead of around the legs, which was our first guess), then snapping two buttons around the straps, and finally threading a final Velcro strap around the handle. As mentioned in those other reviews, we think Sun Mountain went a bit overboard with the security levels – the lengthy set-up process seems counterintuitive to the immediate goal of getting the clubs covered as soon as possible.


Boy did we like using the Sun Mountain Zero-G!

Weight. The bag weighed 5.6 pounds as tested (including the rain hood and the belt strap), about at the median of the competitors in our test.
Balance. The bag is evenly balanced across the shoulders.
Padding. There are two nice kidney bean shaped pads that nestle supportively into the user’s lower back.
Handles/Straps. As mentioned in other reviews, one fantastic feature of the Sun Mountain bags is the handle that is integrated into the rim of the bag. The user simply grasps this handle with the right hand to place the bag securely on the ground (and activate the legs) and slide the strap off of the right shoulder in one simple motion. This became such a natural motion for us that we would search in vain for the same handle when testing other bags.

86 / B

About average in terms of the looks of the bag itself, the Sun Mountain Zero-G gets docked a little for style because, to be honest, the belt looks a bit dorky when it’s unfastened. The Sun Mountain Zero-G comes in six different color combinations:

Red, with white and black trim (similar to the Louisville Cardinals)
Yellow, with black and white trim (Iowa Hawkeyes)
Purple, with yellow, black and white trim (some mid-major school MUST have this combination)
Blue, with red, white and black trim (Louisiana Tech)
Orange, with yellow, black and white trim (we’re pretty sure NO school uses these colors)
Black, with just a hit of red piping and white trim (Cincinnati Bearcats)


We just can’t say enough about the belt strap. In our minds, it fundamentally changes the carrying experience, much like Izzo’s development of the backpack strap did about 15 years ago. We look forward to seeing further innovation on this design from other bag manufacturers. The Zero-G also gets points for the integrated handle at the top of the bag.


The Sun Mountain Zero-G provides solid features and quality performance and the belt strap took it over the top and made it our favorite. Yes, it is the second most expensive bag in our test, at a hefty $229.99, but “value” doesn’t necessarily just mean a low price. What our reviewers look for is whether the product delivers utility commensurate with the price, and our reviewers (and their lower backs) felt that the Sun Mountain Zero-G was well worth the investment.

World’s Top Golf Resorts: Train and Play for Your Vacation!

The finest golf resorts in the United States, Europe, Mexico and the Caribbean can be your choice for your next vacation. Make it a train-and-play golf vacation! So many package deals are available to make your trip much more than a break from your routine. A golf vacation will be a practical experience of improving your golf game, enjoying a phenomenally peaceful and luxurious setting, and visiting a different state or a different country! This planning guide will point you to some of the best-rated golf resorts in the world.

Whether you ultimately book for yourself or through an experienced golf travel specialist, begin your research online where you can find premium golf courses and travel bargains. Rates, resort amenities and golf course details are available. But look further for the packages that include airfare, hotel accommodations and green fees to get your best value. The typical packaged Golf Resort Vacation will include most of these features:

Resort Accommodations
Confirmed Tee Times
Prepaid Green Fees
Shared Cart for 18 Holes
Equipment Rental
Golf Lessons
Meals at Exclusive Restaurants
Transfers to the Course
Transfers to the Airport
All Taxes and Service Charges

Golf courses are planned in lovely surroundings where you can take in sea breezes or views of lush vegetation, and you can combine golf with other resort amenities to provide a well-rounded vacation.

For instance, try one of the many glamorous Club Med Golf Resorts with beautiful fairways in the most unforgettable, inviting locations around the world. Club Med offers deals including the best equipment and golf lessons for all levels! Its locations include Cancun, Mexico, as well as Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. Other locations span the world: Turks and Caicos, Mauritius, Portugal, France, Italy, Brazil, Thailand, Morocco, Egypt, Senegal, and in the United States–Sandpiper Bay, Florida.

Scotland has some of the most beautiful golf courses in the world and there are approximately 100 resorts, called “golf hotels,” among the 500-plus golf courses throughout the country. Best known are Turnberry, Gleneagles and The Old Course Hotel St. Andrews. Each of these has spa, leisure facilities, excellent restaurants and “golf tuition” packages for all levels.

Mexico has numerous golf resorts perched in luxurious coastal locations. There are golf resorts at Cancun, Acapulco, Puerto Vallarta and Los Cabos. Also, Mexico has its championship Baja version of California’s famous “Pebble Beach” golf resort, called Bajamar, only a few hours’ drive from San Diego in Ensenada.

For the United States, check online for some of the golf resorts suggested by key magazines such as Golflink’s which publishes The Top 100 United States Golf Courses. This issue ranks the best out of more than 21,000 public and private golf courses across the country. However, within that one hundred courses, you want to search for the resorts with package programs and golf lessons. Among the top hundred, you will find that the main vacation-destination states with golf resorts are in Arizona, California, Florida, Nevada, South Carolina and Texas. Let’s review these states for their best locations:

In sunny, always temperate Florida, Club Med’s Sandpiper Bay Golf Academy offers 2-day and 3-day golf courses. The Academy includes all aspects of the game, such as Chipping, Putting, Bunker, Pitching and Lob Shot, Full Swing with Irons and Woods. A video analyzing your swing is provided, as well as an optional video comparing your swing to that of a pro player. Also, the area within and around Miami has regional golf resorts for year-round vacationing. Each resort offers on-site amenities and services, both on and off the course, and minutes away from major Miami attractions, like South Beach and Miami MetroZoo. You will have a multitude of options during a golf vacation here.

Arizona has a climate that is suitable for many months of the year and Scottsdale has nearly 200 golf courses, many with the picturesque backdrop of the Sonoran Desert. It is a golf destination with golf schools and pro shops. Here, many resorts offer high-quality accommodations and championship golf courses. Most golf resorts offer packages where hotel guests can have discounted green fees. Also, Sedona, Arizona, offers numerous golf resorts with a mild year-round climate and spectacular red-rock scenic views.

In California, Pebble Beach has been known for being a small coastal golf destination nestled in beautiful Monterey County. It is home of the prominent Pebble Beach Golf Links, the Pebble Beach Lodge and the prestigious Inn at Spanish Bay. Each year, golfers return to rub shoulders with golf professionals and experience nature at its finest on the magnificent golf course laid out by leading golf course designers. The harmony of golf layouts and the majestic coast are awe-inspiring!

Another golfer’s paradise is conveniently located along the south Atlantic coast at Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. It combines natural beauty and world-class golf on a barrier island 12 miles long and five miles wide. Nicklaus, Palmer and other golf legends have frequently played these championship courses. Since the first course opened at Sea Pines in 1961, there are now emerald links at Harbour Town and outstanding courses in Bluffton, as the Hilton Head area has become a major golf center. It is legendary for its spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean, scenic marshes, and maritime forests with abundant wildlife. The temperate climate and year-round sunshine also makes Hilton Head Island the perfect place to tee off.

Las Vegas, Nevada, is quietly emerging as one of the United States’ fastest growing golf destinations amidst the glitz and glamour of its casinos. The city’s huge convention center and innumerable hotel rooms make it a natural haven for large-scale golf events. With the year-round sunshine and mild temperatures, and plenty to do after a full day of playing golf from gambling to seeing entertaining shows, this golf destination will continue to grow.

CNN ranked Austin, Texas the No. 1 city for golf in its of 2010. Framed by the Texas Hill Country, Austin’s golf courses are among the best in the United States. The region is highlighted by the Wolfdancer Golf Club which was named No. 56 in Golfweek’s top 100 resort golf courses in 2009. In addition to being a great contemporary music city, and home of numerous celebrities, Austin offers vacationing golfers great barbeque, an idyllic, year-round climate and luxury accommodations.

Your best package deal will be at all-inclusive resorts, where air flight, lodging, meals and golf activities are rolled into one price. On the other hand, consider traditional hotels and resorts in the locations suggested. With a little online planning, one of the finest golf resorts in the world can be your affordable choice. Enjoy the location, the exploration of the region while you improve your golf game and provide a joyful, well-rounded vacation for your family and loved ones!

(c) 2012 Elizabeth McMillian