Rio Real Golf course stands out among golf courses on the Costa del Sol as one of the oldest and one designed by the legendary Javier Arana. It’s also a challenging course that appeals to all levels of play. In this blog post, we take a look at the main characteristics of Rio Real Golf course and offer some tips and tricks to achieving the perfect score card.

Rio Real Golf course design

This is one of the longest-established golf courses on the Costa del Sol. Built in 1965 when the Marbella tourist industry was just beginning, Rio Real Golf course is the masterpiece of Javier Arana. Many consider him to be the best Spanish golf course designer and certainly his course at Rio Real Golf more than lives up to this reputation.

Trees on the Rio Real Golf course

Created to follow the Rio Real River, the course takes in different landscapes from mountain to Mediterranean. This is one of the leafiest courses with trees along the entire 18 holes. As you make your way around the course, you’ll discover pines, olives, palms and carob trees, some of which are over a century old. And many of them provide natural obstacles to your shots.

Top tip – this is one of the few golf courses on the Costa del Sol with frontline beach views. Don’t forget to admire them when you’re at the 4th!

Mixing the changes

A defining characteristic of a good golf course is variety. Changes in landscape, elevation and obstacles provide challenges for all golfers and make every round different. Rio Real Golf does just that.

Length: Rio Real golf course also ranks as one of the longest golf courses in Marbella. At over 6,000 metres long, this is a course to savour as you walk or take the buggy round it.

Sea views at Rio Real Golf course

Elevation: The 18 holes include different elevations too so you’ll find yourself aiming up and down hill. Take the 11th for example, it stands a full 80m above the fairway.  

Challenges: Rio Real Golf course comes with its fair share of bunkers, trees and the occasional dogleg. But the biggest challenge? The river itself, especially at the start of the course.

All your clubs: This is a course where you’ll need all the clubs in your bag. Perfect for improving your game.

Top tip – several fairways have trees in the way. Check out the pro tips to find out if you should left or right of the trunks or even right over the top of them.

Highlights at Rio Real Golf course

Each of the 18 holes comes with its own characteristics and none of them is easy. Our pick of the highlights are:

The river: You need to get over it at the 1st. How’s that for a start to a course?

The sea breezes: If it’s blowy at the beach, you’ll need to allow for this at the 4th.

The longest: The 13th comes in at the longest. And the most spectacular.

The longest hole at Rio Real Golf course

Triple obstacle: You have to avoid a bunker, pine trees and a dogleg left at the 15th.

Uphill: Playing uphill comes into its own at the 7th where there’s also a tricky bunker.

Top tipcheck out our YouTube channel for pro tips for getting the best score out of every hole at Rio Real Golf course. 

Improving your game at Rio Real Golf course

The 18-hole course has a par of 72. How did you do? If you want to improve your scorecard, feel your drive could have been better at the 10th or need some practice at that final shot, Rio Real Golf Academy is for you. Offering a range of courses from beginner to practiced, our Academy helps all golfers up their game.

Top tip – if you’re short on time or want to improve a particular skill, take a course that’s personalised to fit you.