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

VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Life & Style
tech
Arts & Entertainment
Ricky Gervais at a screening of 'Muppets Most Wanted' in London last month
tvRicky Gervais on the return of 'Derek' – and why he still ignores his critics
Sport
Luis Suarez of Liverpool celebrates his goal
sport
Arts & Entertainment
James Franco and Chris O'Dowd in Of Mice and Men on Broadway
theatreReview: Of Mice and Men, Longacre Theatre
Life & Style
Infant child breast-feeding with eyes closed
healthTo stop mummy having any more babies, according to scientists
News
news
Arts & Entertainment
film
Life & Style
Going down: Google's ambition to build an elevator into space isn't likely to be fulfilled any time soon
techTechnology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit
Arts & Entertainment
Homer meets Lego Marge in the 25th anniversary episode of The Simpsons, set to air on 4 May
tv
Life & Style
From long to Jong: Guy Pewsey gets the North Korean leader's look
fashionThe Independent heads to an Ealing hairdressers to try out the North Korean dictator's trademark do
Extras
indybest10 best smartphones
Latest in Sport
Sport
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit
Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics

Is sexual harassment a fact of gay life?

Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics
Moshi Monster creator Michael Acton Smith: The man behind a British success story

Moshi Monster creator Michael Acton Smith

Acton Smith launched a world of virtual creatures who took the real world by storm
Kim Jong-un's haircut: The Independent heads to Ealing to try out the dictator's do

Our journalist tries out Kim Jong-un's haircut

The North Korean embassy in London complained when M&M Hair Academy used Kim Jong-un's image in the window. Curious, Guy Pewsey heads to the hair salon and surrenders to the clippers
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A forgotten naval victory in which even Nature played a part

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A forgotten naval victory in which even Nature played a part
Vespa rides on with launch of Primavera: Iconic Italian scooter still revving up millions of sales

Vespa rides on with launch of the Primavera

The Vespa has been a style icon since the 1950s and the release this month of its latest model confirms it has lost little of its lustre
Record Store Day: Independent music shops can offer a tempting alternative to downloads

Record Store Day celebrates independent music shops

This Saturday sees a host of events around the country to champion the sellers of well-grooved wax
Taunton's policy of putting philosophy at heart of its curriculum is one of secrets of its success

Education: Secret of Taunton's success

Taunton School, in Somerset, is one of the country's leading independent schools, says Richard Garner
10 best smartphones

10 best smartphones

With a number of new smartphones on the market, we round up the best around, including some more established models
Mickey Arthur: Aussie tells ECB to stick with Ashley Giles

Mickey Arthur: Aussie tells ECB to stick with Ashley Giles

The former Australia coach on why England must keep to Plan A, about his shock at their collapse Down Under, why he sent players home from India and the agonies of losing his job
Homelessness: Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Zubairi Sentongo swapped poverty in Uganda for homelessness in Britain. But a YMCA scheme connected him with a couple offering warmth and shelter
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park
The pain of IVF

The pain of IVF

As an Italian woman vows to keep the babies from someone else’s eggs, Julian Baggini ponders how the reality of childbirth is often messier than the natural ideal