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Prices for golf courses on the Costa del Sol

I do not make money by trying to sell you rounds of golf. This site is completely independent. I get no commission for giving a course a more favourable review, or recommending someone to help you organise your golf. For each course I review, I offer a rough price guideline between one dollar $ and four dollars $$$$. The average prices these mean (cost per player including shared buggy) and descriptions I use are below. These are average prices throughout the year. Add about 15% for high-season pricing. Deduct about 15% for low-season pricing.

$ =
up to €65
Inexpensive. About 15 courses fall into this category.
$$ =
€65 to €85
Mid-priced - Low end. About 20 courses fall into this category.
$$$ =
€85 to €120
Mid-priced - High end. About 5 courses fall into this category.
$$$$ =
More than €120   
Expensive. About 5 courses fall into this category.

Price guidelines

Prices for courses down here on the Costa del Sol vary widely – depending on the course naturally. A full 18-hole round on a really top-end course can cost you €200 or more. An 18-hole round on a low-end course can cost you as little as €30. Most golf courses are in the €60-€90 range for 18 holes. I never play 9-hole golf courses so am not really familiar with their prices – I suspect around €25 for 9 holes, a bit more if you play the 9 holes twice to make it up to 18. Typically I play mid-priced golf courses (under €100, usually around €75 per round), with occasional visits to more expensive courses in the €100-€150 range. But then I play a lot of golf down here - about 70 rounds per year - so am quite conscious of the average cost of my golf.

Most courses will charge extra for using a buggy (a 'cart' if you are not European). Typically around €30 total cost for 2 golfers sharing the buggy. That is, about €15 each. Many courses have "buggy included" prices for special offers. Some courses have buggy prices around €40-€45. I think that expensive and simply bad business. Those clubs are trying to load buggy prices with profit margin they can not add in to the basic cost of the golf. A bit like low-cost airlines that charge you irritatingly high prices for 'extras' like luggage and food. If you phone up a club to get prices, make sure you get the buggy price as well. Negotiate hard if the price is more than €35. This ripoff pricing trend for buggies needs to be stopped. Trolley rental is usually only about €5 and should never be more than €10.

Seasonal pricing

Based on a representative sample of golf courses, standard publicised prices (rack rate for 2 players with a buggy) over the year can be calculated as follows:

Months of year
Season pricing
Low. 20% less than high season.
Medium. 15% less than high season.
March to Mid-May
Mid-May to end-May
Medium. 10% less than high season.
June to mid-September
Low. 20% less than high season.
Mid-September to End-September
Medium. 15% less than high season.
November first half
Medium. 5% less than high season.
November second half
Medium. 15% less than high season.
Low. 20% less than high season.

In summary, high season is March to mid-May and the month of October. Low season is December/January and June to mid-September. Other months are in-between.

June to mid-September are cheaper because it is too hot for many regular golfers and the Costa del Sol is full of people on their main Summer holidays, who are here for the sea-side activities and evening entertainment rather than golf. So that period are top months for short-term property rentals and hotels but less costly for golf. Similarly December and January are lower cost because golfers are away visiting family and friends over the Xmas holiday period, and some golf courses may not be in good condition over mid-Winter.

Golf deals

Virtually all golf courses have Web sites where they show 'normal' rates for the course, and details of any special deals they are offering. If you call them up and let them know the dates/times you are looking to play and the number of players in your group, they can offer you standard rates and will often suggest special deal rates and conditions. Courses also have rates that vary during the day e.g. 'early bird' or 'twilight' rates if you are happy to avoid peak tee-off times between about 9:30 and 11:30. Most clubs on the Costa del Sol hollow-tine (aerate) and sand their greens twice a year – in May and September. If you are playing a course at around that time of year, ask the club or booking agent about the condition of the greens. If the greens are in poor condition you should definitely be told in advance and the club should offer you some sort of discount to play.

Golf on the Costa del Sol is big business, so there are a lot of people trying to make money as intermediaries. They try to negotiate special prices from the clubs, then pass some of those savings on to you if you organise your golf through them. Golf shops down here offer special rates on some courses. There are 'discount card' schemes you can buy into for typically around €75 per annum e.g. you pay the annual cost of the card then produce the card when you check in to get a discount around 20%. All sorts of tour operators offer golf break holidays. Local golf societies are active with groups going out regularly with between 20 and 50 players. A lot of this is organised on a European basis e.g. British and Irish golfers end up playing together because they are served by those nationals speaking English well, other groups like Germans and Scandinavians tend to have their own golf groups etc. There are no real barriers here – it is just that European golf visitors to the Costa del Sol tend to look first to organisers from their own country.

Broadly speaking, you can get good deals with all but top-end courses if you organise correctly. If you are a single player trying to get a discount out of Valderrama during absolute peak season, good luck to you ! If you are a group of 4-8 players prepared to go out at a reasonable time (say before 9AM or after 11AM) on a mid-priced course during a not very busy time of the year, the club should readily offer you a discount – even if that is only including the buggies at no extra charge.

Price descriptions on this Web site

There is really no such thing as a standard price. As someone playing a lot of golf on the Costa del Sol and an active member of a few societies down here, I reckon I am paying on average about two-thirds (approx. 65%) of the typical advertised standard rate including buggy. I avoid the months July and August particularly (too hot for me), and mostly play over mid-Winter (November through February).

Prices go up and down all the time. For example a course may offer a reduced rate for a few weeks if they are fixing up some fairways or greens that slightly inconvenience your round. Keeping up with how every course is changing its prices over time is impossible given all the factors (seasonal, special offers, change of management, Internet-only deals etc.) that the individual clubs are thinking about all the time. Therefore this Web site only talks about prices for particular courses in general relative terms – 'mid-priced', 'reasonably expensive', 'quite cheap' etc.

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