Villa Francesca is in a prominent position on the Santa Clara golf course. As well as presenting a true golfing challenge for players of all levels, this magnificent club offers a range of facilities. These include an excellent pro-shop and an open terrace to watch play. The fully air conditioned interior has a large relaxing environment where you can enjoy a drink, an informal snack or excellent dining.
Santa Clara is just 30 minutes drive from Malaga airport which is conveniently served by a range of airlines including BA, EasyJet, flybe, Monarch and Iberia. There are many car rental companies to choose from with keen price competition.
The nearest beach is a few minutes drive away and is part of the 23km sandy cove which surrounds Marbella. From here there are outstanding views of the Rock of Gibraltar and across the Mediterranean to North Africa. The town of Elviria is close by with a full range of shops and restaurants. There is also a huge shopping mall, la Cañada, within 10 minutes.
A similar journey will take you to the centre of Marbella with its vast array of designer stores and restaurants. The historic old town is a must with its cobbled streets and famous "orange tree square". A further 10 minutes will bring you to the millionaires' marina at Puerto Banus.
Marbella itself is set against impressive Andalucian hills where there are ample opportunities for exhilarating walks in the national park.
Apart from all the coastal towns and villages, other excursion opportunities include:
- Malaga with its old castle (45 minutes)
- Ronda - the picturesque city in the hills (1 hour)
- Gibraltar (90 minutes)
- Cadiz and Algerciras day-trip ferries to North Africa (2 hours)
- Granada (90 Minutes)
- Sierra Nevada ski slopes (2 hours)
- Seville (2 hours)
Villa Francesca sits on the championship Santa Clara golf course. Additionally this is the "Costa del Golf" and there are many other challenging courses to choose from. Neighbouring golf courses include Marbella Golf and Rio Real.
Santa Clara, with its superb location, exhilarating layout and good sea and mountain views, was always destined to do well. But who could have imagined that it would become a star of the Costa del Golf in just three years, including hosting the Spanish PGA in just two?
Somewhere in the handsome clubhouse you might find the designer, local legend Enrique Canales, who crafted a course with appealing fairways and good, big greens. As head pro Angel Jimenez says, it was designed for amateurs while having back tees that will give low-handicappers a chance to test their mettle. Jimenez, 29, is the youngest head pro on the Costa del Sol and the latest in a great pro golfing family that includes brothers Andreas at Aloha and Miguel at Los Arqueros. Santa Clara is walkable, but the green fee includes your choice of a buggy or power trolley. Since opening, the course has been lengthened to 5,940 metres, daunting back tees have been built at 16 and 18, and more rough introduced by shaping the fairways.
The first is an easy par 4, a kind effort by Señor Canales as we all need a forgiving start. But his goodwill doesn't last for long, for what follows is a par 3 almost 200 metres from the back tee. The next three are good par 4 holes followed by another tough par 3. No 8 is the number two stroke hole (it was number one) and here you have 498 metres from the yellows but a plateau tee where you can flourish your driver and let rip for a shot like a runaway train. No 9 is Angel's favourite, a testing par 4 with the green guarded by cork oaks. The tenth has a big hazard in front of the green; you'll like this one. At 12 it's into Santa Clara Corner, starting with an epic plateau tee shot, a 182-metre (off the yellow) par 3 and then a 524-metre monster (also off the yellow). However this hole, like several others, is kind to faders. Number 14 is the longest hole on the course and the number one stroke hole on the new card.
The new back tees at 16 and 18 are so attractive that Santa Clara should be played from the white markers if you possibly can. Number 17 is a cracker from any tee, and bold hearts might try the tiger line for the green at this sharp dogleg.