Desert Golf


We have our own morning rush hour – breakfast, check the weather, decide our next destination, check out of the hotel and hit the road by 9am. Wasn’t used to the routine until the third day. Thought this was a relaxing holiday but it feels like a packaged tour except there is no itinerary.

Anyway the sun is out, a promising new day. We’re definitely playing golf. Tried a couple courses nearby but they are fully booked. Found a course two hours away with slots available. Don’t know where. It doesn’t matter. We’ll find our way there.

As we leave the coast,  the terrain changes rapidly, like round the corner. Spain has three main climatic zones – Mediterranean, oceanic and semi-arid; and alpine in the mountains.

Moving south, the lush green fields and lovely cottages give way to dry bare land surrounded by rocky hills against a brilliant blue sky. Inland the roads wind along a barren landscape with sandstone cliffs and clumps of earth looking like anthills. We are in an area in southern Spain well known for its cave houses or casas cuevas

The place we were looking for is the Desert Springs golf club and for most part of the way, I can only think of Lone Ranger and the American Wild West. How on earth is there going to be a golf course up here? I’m sure the rest are having their doubts.

Just follow the good old GPS and we’ll be alright. How true! We arrive at last to this Arizona style golf course with its dry river beds, springs and watercourses, carpet green fairways and rugged desert terrain with winds packed to blow anyone away if you’re not anchored properly. We must be on some sort of a plateau. It’s pretty amazing.

Satisfied after the game and seriously need a good rest especially for the drivers, we checked into this 3-bedroom apartment in Almeria for only 70 euros with a new fully-equipped kitchen. It’s unbelievably cheap and we know why when we got there. The town is deserted and looks like it’s seen better days. Empty buildings around with shutters down.

Perhaps it will get busy in the summer. No, said the proprietor who only had us to serve in the whole restaurant. It’s catastrophic! The holiday makers are not coming in the past year. It’s going to get tougher.  the businesses lamented. The restaurant serves great food, the resorts all look immaculate, streets well maintained, the sea is within walking distance, fantastic kayaking along the coast in pristine clear water. What a shame. This is such a nice vacation place.

Each city, each little town has its story. We’re guests passing through enjoying the best of the country, understanding their culture, learning about their heritage, sharing experiences.

Joan Yap


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