Desert Springs

The clubhouse is perfectly suited to serve the golfers providing an airy, open-plan space to relax and enjoy this excellent resort.

As the name suggests, the Desert Springs Golf Complex is set in one of the driest parts of south eastern Spain, close to Almeria. The area is famous for staging many of the film sets for Spaghetti Westerns from the sixties.    Whilst many of the cacti around the course have been imported, the setting is dramatic, with the irrigated fairways, tees and greens being a glaring contrast to the beige and yellows of the surrounding rocky landscapes. There are many similar courses in the golfing world and there is a heavy influence from some of the desert courses found in Arizona and California in the USA, which share a similar climate and geology. 

The club is beautifully run by Malcolm Lacey and his team. Customer service is excellent from the preparation of the course, to the immaculate condition of the changing rooms and clubhouse and, of course, friendly service from everyone. The clubhouse has a wonderful cafe-bar-restaurant with the golf reception and shop also accessible under the same roof. The catering is based around the requirements of the golfing customers and a full breakfast can be obtained an hour before the first tee opens. To suit the requirements of all, there is a full continental breakfast as well so all European tastes are catered for.   

The clubhouse flows from inside to the patio seamlessly, allowing golfers to enjoy this most sunniest of climates whenever they want, and sheltering inside if the sun or breeze insists. A shallow water feature wraps around the clubhouse and the 18th green, with some magnificent carp basking in the warm water. It is a very relaxing setting to contemplate your recent golfing exertions and it is not surprising to see that the course has a vibrant and international membership, with plenty of competitions. The club events are based around participation, more than raw competition, but it is a great place to play club golf and ideal for those wishing to walk as well as the buggy users. 

The course was originally designed by Peter McEvoy who has done a great job other than the last two holes, which, while testing, have been cut too tightly to the properties surrounding the course. The layout is fairly flat, yet set on a slight plateau, so offers thrilling views of the surrounding mountains and rugged desert scenery. Much has been made of the climate on the Costa del Sol, but the area from Almeria to Alicante in the south eastern corner of Spain has a drier and generally more arid climate, married to welcome light breezes in the summertime, this is probably the best climate for golf in Europe - it rarely rains. 

To make sense of the investment required to build a golf complex of this scale, property investments play a major part. For most Spanish developments, property development is often permitted on an area of approximately 15% of the entire estate. This would suggest that an area of 250 acres could yield over 37 acres of property. Add on another 20 plus acres for a cricket academy and there is even more permissible land for the property pay-back. Unfortunately, almost all of the developments built in the late nineties and early 2000’s hit the buffers with the world-wide crash of 2008. Many developments went bust, others were stalled and all have provided great bargains in relation to the initial price of property at such sites. With a fully mature course and a great social life, oven-ready (forgive me), there has rarely been a better time to buy. Prices have risen steadily off their base points, but are still as much as 40% of their peak. With a rising pound, they may look better value than ever. The property development at Desert Springs is mature and elegant. The infrastructure is excellent and it is a great place for an unashamedly up-market Spanish base.

Perhaps the most pleasing (and terrifying) part of the golfing experience at Desert Springs are the greens. Huge and undulating, the surfaces are beautifully prepared and flawless. They are also very, very fast. With speeds of around 12 on the stimpmeter on a normal day, it is vital to be hitting an uphill put, which adds a substantial dimension to the strategy required to play around this excellent course. The other is keeping out of the water and away from the cacti infested waste areas, which can wreck soleplates as well as score cards for the determined golfer. The course is a visual treat and there are lovely touches, such as the cacti tee markers - a charming, themed feature. 

The Desert Springs Cricket Ground has an eighteen wicket square, constructed to ECB standards and specifications, is open all year round. It provides outstanding facilities to practise and play cricket, with a marquee pavilion, sightscreens, scoreboard, sprint strips, as well as an international sized quality grass pitch  with floodlights, shower and changing facilities.

The Cricket Academy training facilities include 24 grass wickets and run ups with nets, an artificial wicket with nets, a full length artificial grass wicket, a Professional Bola Bowling Machine with 28 ball feeder, as well as a specific hard standing area, which provides outside space for facilities such as a free weights gym, stretching mats and a medical area.

Both the Cricket Ground and Academy are conveniently located within the resort, within walking distance from team accommodations.

Desert Springs Golf Academy offers first class practice facilities including a 20 bay covered driving range, target greens, a large grass practice area, fairway and green-side bunkers, putting green and chipping green. There are also two Huxley all-weather practice areas and a GASP studio, equipped with the GASP audio visual and simulation system.

The Academy is a world-renowned centre of excellence for both teaching and learning the game of golf, and is the Spanish home of the Golf Union of Wales, providing practice facilities for its Elite National and County squad members. It also provides training facilities for National squads, English County Golf Union teams, PGA European Tour and LET members.

Desert Springs is a great place to golf and a great place to live. For those who also like cricket, then it is possibly paradise.

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