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If you’ve ever seen the horror film The Fly – the one where Jeff Goldblum does some complex scientific body transportation experiment and a fly gets into the chamber - then you’ll understand the irrepressible pull of golf!
In that classic 80s movie, the lead character’s DNA is combined with the insect and slowly but surely he starts to transform into a fly/man hybrid. And once golf has got you in its grasp you will begin the metamorphosis into ‘Golfman’. You’ll start practicing your swing in the loos at work, you’ll get excited by pictures of putters in magazines and begin buying baseball caps for the first time in your life.
And while it may be years before you reach the stage of thinking that an Argyle sweater is attractive or it could be acceptable to wear some cerise tartan trousers, or, perish the thought, some plus-fours, if golf has got you then you’re in big trouble. (I know because I am a golf-aholic and it’s been 10 days since my last round!)
Hopeless fellow addicts will now be nodding sagely in recognition of their own condition before their mind wanders to smashing a driver down the fifth fairway. So before any non-believers consider finding out how to discover this wonderfully infuriating game in Malta, wait … this is possibly your last chance to save yourself from a lifetime of woes!
You see, the problem is heightened if you lay your eyes on the Royal Malta Golf Club. Though it is the only golf course on the island, it has vast history and happens also to be one of the oldest in Europe (outside the UK).
Purists, and those who are quite good at the game, would argue that links golf, played on blustery rolling coastal courses in the British Isles (particularly Scotland) is the truest and best test of golf. And they’re probably right! But then would you rather battle against a howling wind and freezing rain, or would you prefer the almost guaranteed perfect prevailing weather at this course in Marsa, where your biggest concern is the water in your drinks bottle getting too warm on your way round.
RMGC was founded by British servicemen in 1888 but at a different site. It was transferred to the current plot in 1904. The actual site was once the venue for a great battle between the Knights of Malta and the army of the Ottoman Empire during the Great Siege of 1565 but the battles there now are less fierce and far less likely to result in fatalities.
Becoming a member of the club is not straightforward because of a long-standing arrangement, which goes back to the early 1900s. It means that if you want to join then you also need to become a member of the neighbouring Marsa Sports and Country Club first.
That said, this is no massive hardship as the MSCC offers a dozen or so sporting and other facilities, the most popular of which is a very fine outdoor swimming pool, from which you can see the course, but there are also bars and restaurants.
Visitors can and are most welcome to play at RMGC, but avoid Thursdays and Saturday mornings as they are reserved for the members. It’s possible to hire clubs, trolleys and buggies and you can book tee-times on an online form through the club website.
The biggest draw though has to be that it is on Malta. That means you can play all year round without the risk of frost bite, getting soaked or suffering from severe wind burn. Winter golf breaks are a real possibility here.
The biggest hurdle to playing, as you might expect from a course with an island monopoly, is the cost. It will set you back between €60 and €70 for 18 holes at the RMGC depending on the time of year. And if you need to rent clubs, which you probably do, then you’re looking at an additional €18 to €25. Not really a cheap afternoon out but a very enjoyable one!
Marsa is very easy to find as it sits at the base of the Valletta peninsula in the north of the island.
Address: Aldo Moro Street, Marsa, Malta
Phone: +356 2122 3704
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