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From Veteran Showman John McEnroe to Rising Star Jon Rahm

The Costa del Sol enjoys enduring appeal as a popular playground for sports lovers. Last year, for example, an impressive 530,000 people travelled to Andalucía to play golf, and most of them were based on the Costa del Sol (a.k.a. the “Costa del Golf”), home to 70 of the region’s 100-plus golf courses. This is the largest concentration of golf courses in continental Europe. According to the Andalucian minister for tourism and sport, Francisco Javier Fernández, these half a million golf tourists stayed for an average of 10.2 days and spent €117 a day (compared with €67 for an average tourist). Speaking during the official presentation in Sotogrande of the European Tour’s Andalucía Valderrama Masters (19-22 October), he said visitors’ overall valuation of the experience was 9.2 out of 10. “Andalucía is an international benchmark for tourism,” said the minister, “but also for sports and particularly for golf. Our region is the best choice in Europe for playing golf all year round. Because of its climate, its numerous courses and its rich complementary offer, Andalucía is a privileged venue for top-class sports events." The showpiece event on Spain’s golfing calendar this year, the Andalucía Valderrama Masters will be the 20th regular European Tour event held at the internationally renowned Royal Valderrama Club since it first hosted the Volvo Masters in 1988, in addition to the 1999 and 2000 World Golf Championships and 1997 Ryder Cup. Among those teeing up at Valderrama in October will be current U.S. Masters champion Sergio García, young Spanish star Jon Rahm, veteran stalwart José María Olazábal, Andrew “Beef” Johnston, who won the Spanish Open at Valderrama last year, and around 60 other European Tour winners. In the meantime, it was the turn of the Ladies European Tour in Marbella where – last weekend – large galleries enjoyed exquisite autumn weather and top international golf when the Andalucía Costa del Sol Spanish Ladies Open was played at Royal Guadalmina Golf Club. Apart from the weather, the spectators could hardly have wished for a more pleasant and gripping finale, especially local fans and club members following Marbella-born Azahara Muñoz. The defending champion after winning last year at Aloha (nearby in Nueva Andalucía’s “Golf Valley”), 29-year-old Azahara had won several tournaments as a junior at the club, and is now an honorary member. So she had local knowledge in her favour, but she was still facing a strong field that included several other Ladies European Tour champions and a former world number two. In the end, she played solidly all week, carded rounds of 68-64-67-69 for a 19-under total, and finished two strokes ahead of compatriot Carlota Ciganda and South African Lee-Anne Pace, as another Costa del Sol-born global star, Miguel Ángel Jiménez, puffed on one of his trademark Cuban cigars and watched her progress among the spectators. “I couldn’t be any happier, defending my title on my home course and where I grew up,” said Azahara as she held the trophy. “It’s been an amazing week and all the fans were here supporting me, so I’m happy I did it for them.” This weekend, the spotlight moves on to another sport that also enjoys great popularity on the Costa del Sol – tennis – with excellent amenities along the length and breadth of the coast. For a second consecutive year, the Senior Masters Cup is being held at Puente Romano Resort’s tennis club. Taking part in the exhibition-style (albeit still fiercely competitive) competition, until tomorrow (Saturday), are John McEnroe, Carlos Moyá, Mats Wilander, Yannick Noah, Albert Costa, Pat Cash and Sebastien Grosjean. http://www.villamarbellanow.com/en/listing/spain/costa-del-sol/guadalmina-baja/villa/449257/Luxury Living We return to the Guadalmina coastal area for our featured home of the week: a sumptuous six-bedroom villa priced at an excellent €6,950,000. Outstanding Homes We appreciate your taking the time to read about this exceptional property, but perhaps it is not exactly right for you? If not, we invite you to have a look at our other stunning selections for: Luxury Villas, Apartments, Golf Properties, Seafront Properties, La Zagaleta and Special Offers. Simply click on the category of your choice and follow the link. Also please feel free to roam around our website: www.villamarbellanow.com