On March 3, Novo Sancti Petri opened a new, nine-hole addition to their golf club. Early birds will be able to get in a quick game before breakfast, and at this very popular resort, the prospect is an appealing one.
The extension to the existent 27 holes is motivated primarily by Andalucia's presence in the world of golf. Designed by Seve Ballesteros (who also designed the latest addition), and opened in 1990, Novo Sancti Petri's golf course stimulated investment by hoteliers to the tune of the construction of nine four and five star hotels offering a total of 5,000 hotel beds. No one has ever looked back on this one: two additional courses are under construction, hotels keep on rising and new homes are underway in all directions. Fortunately, Urbanization Novo Sancti Petri has an abundance of room, as expansion shows no signs of diminishing.
Novo Sancti Petri's success owes a great deal to a) location and b) expert, efficient management. As for location: the first nine holes are situated seaside.
When you find yourself (by design, not accident) on the 6th green, you will appreciate the credo 'Location, location, location' as applied to real estate, for you are exposed to a view of La Barrosa beach, a nine-kilometre expanse of clean, Atlantic sand and the gleaming ocean beyond.
Location in terms of practicality is also favourable. Less than two hours from Seville, three hours from Málaga and minutes from Cádiz, Novo Sancti Petri allows visitors easy access from airports and cruise ships. Last but not least, the resort does lie in an area known as 'authentic' Spain - meaning the land of wine-makers, horses, flamenco and white villages.
On to b): expert, efficient management. Novo Sancti Petri is owned by a German company; ardent golfers from Germany make February, March and April the high season here.
Understandably, getting away from 'winter' is as avidly sought after in northern Europe as in the USA. When I stood at the club's Reception desk a few days ago, I could not help being impressed by the system of assigning start times. Juggling a variety of languages, the man in charge keyed in times, sought approval or rejection and issued cards to a queue of golfers on their way to enjoyment of the course.
Efficiency is the order of the day here - if only 10% of arrivals to the resort complex make for the course upon arrival, chaos would ensue without effective management. As it is, there is still the sense of incipient conflict at peak times.
On the course itself, it is possible to attain serenity under a clear sky and surrounded by the numerous pine trees that mount most of the course's challenges.
Among several outstanding (and difficult) holes is 'Augusta', the 26th, a par-4 with a dogleg to the right and a copse of pines to negotiate your entrance to the green. To add fillip, the green itself is very fast and there are slopes all round it. Misjudge your approach shot at your peril. 'Seve', hole 18 and named for its designer, offers good spectators' viewing, bunkers to the right, pines to the left.
'Golf Academy Novo Sancti Petri' comprises Courses A through D, ranging from Beginners Golf (no previous experience) to Novo-Special for the Advanced Player (for golfers who have a handicap and who wish to improve it).
Tennis courses from Beginners to Advanced tournament players are available and complement the complete resort sports complex theme.
Facilities are extensive. From the 280m long driving range (covered area for 50 players) to four pitch and putting greens, to a 9-hole pitch and putt, paddle and tennis courts, soccer pitch and training soccer pitch, this complex has faced the challenge of offering a full range of sports activities to an increasingly demanding public.
The clubhouse offers café bar, full restaurant, pro-shop, golfer's bar, changing rooms with showers and sauna. In the immediate area, an abundance of restaurants specialises in a potpourri of international choices, including German, Italian and Chinese.
For a special occasion, eating lunch or dinner outside the comlex, try the renowned 'El Santuario' in nearby Chiclana. In the two-century year old building, the offerings are superb. Specialities include steaks, lamb, port and game dishes. From homemade pork paté to the house dessert, all is recommended.
Chiclana is a village proud of its heritage - they prepare their olives in a particular way and still bake brown bread in wood-fired ovens. The restaurant above is observant of these customs - great way to acquaint yourself with this bit of Spanish tradition.
Chiclana also has strong and lasting ties to flamenco and other music. The town is a rather bizarrely attractive melange of ancient and modern with a friendly population open to foreigners and eager to adapt.
Novo Sancti Petri is not only about 'golf'. It is about prime property development whose momentum has not slowed in the slightest since the early '90s.
The good, the bad and the ugly are all in plentiful supply, with tasteful complexes - houses detached and semi-detached and apartments set alongside some pretty awful architecture. Developers of all tastes have vied for front line space along the length and breadth of the golf course - who wouldn't want their front lawn to consist of an expansive green swathe nurtured and maintained at someone else's expense?
Thus far, the majority of constructed properties have been purchased as holiday homes and are occupied primarily during the summer.
These make viable rentals and may well find a US market for golfers in search of winter rounds. Interested investors will find no dearth of new developments underway at present.Club de Golf Novo Sancti Petri
11139 Chiclana de la Frontera
Phone: 956 494 005
Fax: 956 494 350
Simply select where you want to play, find a tee time deal, and golf now!