The Hacker: Heaven on earth as lack of pressure helps me to reign in Spain

After all the hell we suffer on earth there must be a heaven for hackers and I think I've just found it.

Imagine a stunningly beautiful course on a hot sunny day with a gentle breeze cooling the lush, rolling fairways high in the hills with distant glimpses of the Mediterranean. And not a soul in sight.

No one in front to hold you up and, more importantly, no clamour from those behind to get a move on.

A man could cock-up a shot and feel no need to look furtively around for mocking witnesses. It was the most relaxing, unhurried round of golf I've ever played and certainly one of the most pleasurable. Yet, I felt guilty. This happened last Sunday on a Bank Holiday weekend in which courses all over Europe were swarming with golfers.

In my selfless pursuit of experiences I can pass on to readers, I'd been invited by the Marbella Club Hotel and Golf Resort to sample some of their facilities and I couldn't believe their course was so deserted on the morning I'd played.

I expressed my concern to their sales and marketing director Carlos Quereda and he looked puzzled when I asked if the credit crunch was the cause. "But it is always like this," he said. "The course is open only to the hotel guests and the residents of the villas around the course. It is never crowded and that's why it is in such good condition."

The course was built in 1999 under the supervision of renowned designer Dave Thomas and was created out of the most unlikely terrain amid the rugged Benahavis hills. It added another dimension to the Marbella Club which from the 1950s helped to establish the Costa del Sol as a high-class playground.

Founded by Prince Alfonso von Hohenlohe, the Marbella Club attracted the titled heads of Europe, deposed kings and other assorted aristocracy, playboys and top film stars from Bridget Bardot onward.

It has been under new management for 15 years but still retains the glamorous touch with three great restaurants, and two swimming pools and its accommodation ranges from luxury villas to apartments dotted around acres of mature gardens leading down to the sea.

The golf course is a 15-minute shuttle-bus ride up a precipitous road into the hills. There's another course further on called Monte Mayor which is also carved out of steep and rocky valleys but is a far more ferocious and less fair test. The Marbella Club course is no push-over, and it would take a Ranulph Fiennes to tackle it without a buggy, but with wide fairways meandering through the tree-lined slopes and with staggering views from elevated tees even the toughest holes are a delight.

I didn't do too badly and chipped in for a birdie at the 180-yard par-3 ninth. The total lack of pressure helped me to start hitting the ball well.

Afterwards, at the hotel's sumptuous Thalasso spa, I had been booked in for a relaxing massage by Raquel and what better after a round of golf than to lie back and reflect on all the shots you'd made.

Unfortunately, the massage lasted only an hour and I still had plenty of shots left to think about.

p.corrigan@independent.co.uk

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage