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Los Naranjos Golf Club, Marbella – not a bad “office”  for Kesselmark and Strongert. Photo: Aleksandra Olejnik
Los Naranjos Golf Club, Marbella – not a bad “office” for Kesselmark and Strongert. Photo: Aleksandra Olejnik

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Costa del golf

Swedish golf pros Karl-Johan “Kalle” Kesselmark and Rickard Strongert both moved to the south of Spain in the 1990s and have never looked back. Here they reveal their favorite golf courses on the Costa del Sol.

With its great climate and wide range of golf courses, Karl-Johan ­Kesselmark says Spain is the obvious choice for golfers who want the ­opportunity to play all year round. 

“As a golf coach, there’s even more reason to live here, as we have clients for twelve months of the year, instead of just working like a madman during the summer months back home in Sweden,” says Kesselmark, who went to Spain in 1994 to study Spanish and play golf at the Swedish golf school in Fuengirola, and moved over permanently in 2002.

Los Naranjos Golf Club. Photo: Aleksandra Olejnik

Both Kesselmark and his compatriot Rickard Strongert work as trainers at Los Naranjos Golf Club, which has been under ­Swedish ownership since the late 1980s. ­Strongert first visited Marbella in the ­winter of 1992 to train and prepare for the Asian golf tour that began in February.

‘The club has a unique ­atmosphere that people love ­being part of’

He moved to Spainand became a trainer at Los Naranjos in 1997 and became head pro there five years later. He says the club, which is easy to get to with plenty of ­daily flights from across Scandinavia to ­nearby ­Malaga, has become a meeting point for Northern ­Europeans on the Costa del Sol.

“The club has a unique atmosphere that people love being part of, and the course itself is one of the best on the Costa del Sol,” he adds. “About 90% of Los Naranjos members are Swedish, Norwegian, Danish or Finnish, but the club also attracts a fair share of people from Spain and across Europe, as well as quite a few celebrities and professional sportsmen.”

Photo: Aleksandra Olejnik

Los Naranjos Golf Club

Located just outside the exclusive resort town of Marbella, this Robert Trent Jones-designed golf course, which welcomes guests all year round, is famous for its fantastic layout and welcoming atmosphere.“The course offers a very interesting contrast between the first nine holes and the last nine, making it one of the few courses you never get tired of playing on,” Strongert says. “With continual investments, the quality of the course gets better and better every year. Los Naranjos also has an excellent clubhouse, where guests can enjoy food and drink with a fabulous view of the 18th green.”

Los Naranjos Golf Club

Plaza de Cibeles, s/n, Marbella

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Real Club de Golf Sotogrande

The first Robert Trent Jones design in Europe has been blessed with his philosophy, creating a course that’s perfectly integrated with its natural surroundings.“Superb layout and always in excellent condition.A wonderful experience with holes positioned between cork oak trees, palms and pine trees,” says Strongert.

Real Club de Golf Sotogrande

Paseo del Parque, Sotogrande, Cádiz

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Valderrama Royal Golf Club

Consistently listed as one of Europe’s premier golf courses, the Valderrama Golf Course has played host to four Volvo Masters, two Amex Championships and the 1997 Ryder Cup.“Probably the toughest course in Spain. The nature here is very beautiful, with the holes expertly positioned between the cork oak trees,” Kesselmark says.

Valderrama Royal Golf Club

Avda. Los Cortijos s/n, Sotogrande, Cádiz

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Real Club de Golf Las Brisas

A private golf course (non-members welcome) located in the Nueva Andalucia area that has played host to multiple major professional tournaments over the years.“The course has been extensively rebuilt and improved in recent years. Lovely layout and beautiful surroundings, filled with trees and plants from all five continents of the world,” Kesselmark says.

Real Club de Golf Las Brisas

Calle Londres, 1, Marbella

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Marbella Club Resort

Designed by Dave Thomas, this golf course forms part of the jaw-droppingly luxurious Marbella Club Resort and is located in the hills overlooking the coast.“It’s never easy to build a golf course in the mountains but they really succeeded with this one. Playing here is a wonderful ¬experience with incredibly beautiful views of the Mediterranean, Gibraltar and the Moroccan mountains,” Strongert says.

Marbella Club Resort

Carreterra de Benahavis, Benahavis, Marbella

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