In recent years El Paraíso (the name “Paradise” fits perfectly) has been committed to continuous improvements for both its course and its facilities. The result is one of the courses that offers the best value for money on the Costa del Sol.
The design and location (seven minutes from Puerto Banús, between the Atalaya and Villa Padierna courses) are magnificent, so the value of the product is enhanced by quality and service.
This has been a clear objective for director David Ramos, who for more than a decade, together with the club's directors, has implemented a far-reaching improvement program – and we can only congratulate them on the success of their efforts. The improvements are evident in terms of definition, quality of the playing surface and presentation. You can especially note the great work undertaken by head greenkeeper José Luis González.
This work will surely be rewarded when next year marks the 50th anniversary of a superb course designed by the “Black Knight” himself, Gary Player, one of the greatest players of all time and a formidable character who continues to influence generations of golfers. The club is preparing “Gary Player's Corner”, where this veteran global star will be given full recognition.
The club has been able to bring together a group of members, who enjoy an intensive calendar of sporting and social activities, with a course that receives visitors at very reasonable prices and who are invariably so impressed that they recommend the El Paraiso experience to others – without fear of being wrong.
When arriving at the club you will find a large car park, part of which is reserved for members. The car park is attached to the former Andalucian farmhouse where the clubhouse is located.
This is a classic course, in the sense that it can be played perfectly on foot and that the distances from the green to the next tee are very short. Except for unlucky shots that might take the ball into water or (even more difficult on this course) out of bounds, the same ball can be played from beginning to end. It is an excellent course that does not penalise unfairly.
The 1st and 10th tees are in the immediate vicinity of the clubhouse. Next to the 1st tee there is a large putting green and a couple of areas with nets to loosen muscles and warm up before teeing off.
The driving range is a bit further from the clubhouse, behind the green on the 1st, so you have to walk about 400 metres to get there. The mat and net alternative is well appreciated by those who just want to hit a few balls to loosen up
The pro shop has recently been remodelled, and the change is spectacular. The shop is managed by Golfriends, who already – on the same main road, before turning towards El Paraíso – have one of the best-stocked stores on the Costa del Sol, especially for clubs and other equipment. The variety and quality are optimal.
All options are available to players, whether they prefer to use a buggy, electric cart or manual cart.
he restaurant is another of the club's strong points, helping to ensure the whole experience is positive. Having Miguel Ramos in charge is a guarantee of success. His experience looking after golfers (he has masterfully run restaurants at Miraflores, Santana and Santa Clara) is reflected in his strong focus on players. They prepare everything from breakfast (including a “full English”) to takeaway, and they have an excellent post-round menu, complemented by a more than acceptable wine cellar.
As for golf, this magnificent design by Gary Player means that every club in the bag has to be played. All the holes are exceptional and recognisable, and the sequence and variation is perfect. For example, on the back nine, the 12th and 13th are both par-4s, but on the former a big-hitter hitter could take risks with the water at the right of the green and try to reach it with a driver, while for the latter it is necessary to hit a wood for your second shot.
The tee boxes are selected by numbers, not colours, so all players can choose a set of tees based on their stroke or handicap – ensuring fun for everyone, regardless of skill level.
The course can be played perfectly on foot, although there are two uphill holes, the 2nd and 15th, both in the direction of the hotel that overlooks the course. The 2nd is a dog-leg to the right where you have to avoid palm trees that await any shot aiming to shorten the trajectory to the green. The 15th is a par-5, and you will need to hit a good approach to set up a birdie chance, as it is very difficult to reach the green in two. Both holes are classified as the most difficult on the course: the 2nd is handicap 2 and the 15th is handicap 1. Without a doubt, this extra point will be appreciated by the vast majority of players..
The front nine begins with a short but technical par-4 and ends with a long and hugely challenging par-4, where a creek before the green commands respect.
The corner around the 6th and 7th – par-5 and par-3, respectively – is one of the most attractive areas on the course.
The second nine offers many birdie options, and the finish is memorable, with a downhill par-5 16th that invites you to attack for birdie, a long par-3 17th and a spectacular par-4 18th hole with a dog-leg to the right and a high green from where you can view the remodelled clubhouse terrace that beckons you to enjoy a fantastic 19th hole.
The course is highly enjoyable to play, thanks to its lack of monotony and the many options to achieve a good result. It is one of the courses you will want to return to whenever possible.