Whilst the area close to Malaga is well known for its golf courses that offer terrific value for money, the area further west towards Gibraltar has some of the best golf courses in Europe. Take the Toll road and go past Estepona and you are on the way towards golfing heaven. Head for the coastal town of Sotogrande and you have so many good golf courses its hard to decide which one to play.
The jewel in the crown is the world famous Valderrama course home of the 1997 Ryder Cup and 4 Volvo Masters tournaments. Consistently ranked in the worlds top 20 golf courses and its either the number 1 or the number 2 course in Spain depending on which magazines ranking you believe. In my opinion it’s definitely number one. From the moment you arrive at the guarded entrance you cant help but appreciate the special atmosphere that prevails . You know you are walking in the shadows of the golfing greats and although it is not for the budget traveler, it is an unforgettable golfing experience and should be on every bodies must play list.
Just a few minutes away is the La Reserva Golf designed by Cabel Robinson it’s a spectacular course with skilfully designed holes winding their way through cork trees and set in two valleys. From the back tees its nearly 7400 yards but the generously wide fairways mean you can open your shoulders. The greens are large and represent a challenge if you are not close to the pins. Although only opened in 2004 the course is now a mature test of golf and well worth a visit.
The Real club de Golf Sotogrande is one of the Coasts oldest courses having opened in 1964 and it is one of Robert Trent Jones first European projects. Its age doesn’t impair it from being a very relevant course today and it is truly one of the gems of golf in southern Spain. The fairways wind through cork trees and there are several other strategically placed hazards to provide a stern test for even the best golfers.
Another great course on the Sotogrande estate is Almenara which was designed by Dave Thomas Here there are 27 holes with narrow rolling fairways winding through the trees. There are a series of water hazards on two of the loops of 9 and it’s not the easiest of courses in the world but presents a good challenge and is always in excellent condition. There are many strategically placed hazards to keep you guessing!
San Roque boasts two courses the Old and the New. The Old course was designed by Dave Thomas and Tony Jacklin and opened in 1990 and some of the holes were later remodeled by Seve Ballesteros. The par 72 course has been used as a venue for several professional events including the qualifying school for the PGA Tour. The second nine is a bit more forgiving then the front nine as there are not so many trees lining the fairways but there are strategically placed hazards to trap the unwary. The New Course opened in 2005 was designed by Perry Dye and takes full advantage of the natural landscape. Its more American in design with large greens and steep bunkers and waste areas and the fairways do open out to offer larger targets then at first appears.
Sotogrande itself has a marina that is constantly being improved and now has bars and restaurants surrounding the mooring berths. It has much to offer and with the development of the marina to complement some of Spain’s best golf courses it really is a must place to visit!
Have you been to Sotogrande? What did you think? Let us know in the comments below!