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

News
Ben Little, right, is a Labour supporter while Jonathan Rogers supports the Green Party
general election 2015
News
The 91st Hakone Ekiden Qualifier at Showa Kinen Park, Tokyo, 2014
news
Life and Style
Former helicopter pilot Major Tim Peake will become the first UK astronaut in space for over 20 years
food + drinkNothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
News
Kim Wilde began gardening in the 1990s when she moved to the countryside
peopleThe singer is leading an appeal for the charity Thrive, which uses the therapy of horticulture
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Alexis Sanchez celebrates scoring a second for Arsenal against Reading
football
Life and Style
health
Voices
An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
News
Japan's population is projected to fall dramatically in the next 50 years (Wikimedia)
news
Life and Style
Buyers of secondhand cars are searching out shades last seen in cop show ‘The Sweeney’
motoringFlares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own