The UK is home to some of the finest golf courses in the world. However, there is very good golf to be played elsewhere, including Spain. Over the years, the sport has become very popular across most regions of the country, resulting in some very good golf course development. You might consider a golf holiday in Spain if you are looking to try something a little bit different.
Here are 10 of the best golf courses in Spain for your consideration:
1. Golf Club de Valderamma
Avda Los Cortijos, 11310 Sotogrande, Cadiz, Spain
Valderamma is often referred to as the ‘Augusta of Europe’, thanks to a playability on par with the annual Masters tournament held in the US. It hosted the 1997 Ryder Cup, the first Ryder Cup tournament to be held on the European mainland, despite only being 22 years old at the time.
The nicest thing about Valderamma is that it is not heavily played. It is a private club, but it welcomes any players willing to pay the substantial greens fees. You are likely to find the course very playable without being rushed any time of the year. You will also find the holes to be more challenging as you progress. By the time you finish, your skills will have definitely been tested.
2. PGA Catalunya Resort – Stadium Course
Carretera N-II km 701, 17455 Caldes de Malavella. Girona, Spain
The PGA Catalunya Resort was recently recognised as the IAGTO Awards’ European Golf Resort of the Year for 2015. The resort’s Stadium course near Costa Brava is one of the reasons why. Costa Brava is a golfer’s paradise located near the Pyrenees Mountains along the north-east coast of the country. The near-perfect weather guarantees lush greens and spectacular flora and fauna no matter when you play.
What many people do not know is that the resort was specifically designed and built to be the home of the Players Championship for the European tour. Every detail was considered with that in mind. When you play here, you will be challenged according to your skill level as evidenced by the five separate tee locations on every hole. PGA Catalunya Resort is a great place to learn or to improve your game.
3. Finca Cortesin
Carretera de Casares, s/n E29690 Casares, Malaga, Spain
In the Costa del Sol region of Spain there are more than 50 golf courses offering varying levels of play. Despite only having opened in 2007, Finca Cortesin is clearly one of the favourites. Its 7,000 metres makes it one of the longest playing courses in Europe.
Finca Cortesin is a luxury resort with a hotel and residential housing. However, designers were careful to limit development in the general vicinity of the course so as to give an open and unimposing feel. You will appreciate the wide-open spaces that include plenty of rolling hills, peaceful water elements, and mature trees. However, do not let the beauty fool you. Bunkers and water hazards are strategically placed in order to tempt you to play dangerously near the tree line.
4. Golf Son Gual
Ma 15 – Palma – Manacor, Km 11,5 07199 Palma de Majorca
Majorca is a common holiday destination for British holidaymakers of all kinds. When golfers visit the island, one of the courses they like to play is Son Gual. The course is at the centre of the island, nearly equidistant from all of the resorts on the coast. What makes Son Gual unique is that it was specifically designed to draw British golfers to Majorca.
To start with, Son Gual measures more than 7,200 yards from the back tees. There are only a few straight fairways across the 18 holes, with most twisting and turning around bunkers and tree lines. The par 5 18th hole is especially dramatic as you approach the green from the bent grass fairway. Some say this hole might be the best par 5 in Spain and one of the best in Europe.
5. Real Club de Sotogrande
Paseo del Parque, 11310 Sotogrande, Cádiz, Spain
Old golf courses are not the norm in the Costa del Sol region. Real Club de Sotogrande is somewhat unique in that it was first opened more than 40 years ago. However, over the decades it has withstood the test of time and a lot of competition. Designer Robert Trent Jones says it is one of his five most favourite courses in the world.
Sotogrande is a par-72 course with a total distance of just over 6,200 metres. The quality of the course is such that it was used for three straight years as the location of the European Tour Qualifying Finals. What sets it apart is a unique layout requiring the player to plan how he or she will play each hole before teeing off. There is no room for just hitting the ball and seeing where it goes.
6. Real Club de Golf El Prat – Open Course
Plans de Bonvilar 17, 08227 Terrassa, Barcelona, Spain
Just outside of Barcelona is a golf club known locally as El Prat. Real Club de Golf El Prat was originally established in 1954 on a course sitting just to the south end of Barcelona airport. When the airport was extended, the new course was built on the city’s north side. The new El Prat was designed by Greg Norman.
El Prat is a relatively flat, 45-hole course consisting of two groups of 18 holes and a single nine-hole layout. The holes of the Open course are big and bold, having been built to USPGA Stadium standards. If you prefer wide-open fairways with plenty of trees and deceptive drop-offs, El Prat Open is a course to play.
7. Real Club de Golf Las Brisas
Las Brisas is a Robert Trent Jones masterpiece built in 1968. It was one of the first courses in Europe to utilise bent grass, which, at the time, was considered a foolish decision for Jones. Looking back at it now, we all know it was the right way to go. The course is meticulously maintained to the same high standards under which it first opened more than 40 years ago.
The challenge of Las Brisas is not distance off the tee or accuracy on approach. It is all about ball position. The hazards are placed in various locations that require the player to think before hitting the ball. This is definitely a thinking player’s course.
8. Campo de Golf El Saler
Known locally as El Saler, this Javier Arana designed course is part of a large luxury resort that includes a hotel, residential housing, and restaurants. You can stay at the resort or just play the course as you see fit. In either case, the 6,300 metres par-72 course is a long and challenging affair.
Bernhard Langer set the course record of 62 during the 1984 Spanish Open. However, such low scores are rare here. This course includes 91 bunkers and some of the most complex greens in all of Spain. If you are not a good putter, practice before you play.
9. Club de Golf Bonmount
There is a noticeable lack of quality golfing opportunities on Spain’s eastern coast, south of Barcelona. One exception is the Club de Golf Bonmount near Tarragona. The course and surrounding resort are owned and operated by the Swiss Bonmount Group.
Bonmount is a classic, 18-hole links configuration with a par of 36 on both front and back. Both sides offer two par 3s, two par 5s, and five par 4s, challenging you with more than 90 bunkers and strategically placed water hazards. This course is definitely more favourable to long hitters.
10. Las Colinas Golf & Country Club
Avenida de las Colinas 2, 03189 Orihuela, Costa Blanca, Spain
Las Colinas is a relatively new golf course and country club, having been opened in 2010. It sits along the east coast of Spain, just north of Cartagena. Its relatively young age is such that it does not get a lot of press, but that also means it is not highly trafficked despite the high quality.
If you like the seclusion of a heavily forested course combined with a quiet residential environment, Las Colinas is a good option. It is a twisting and turning course with a number of small lakes and open, easy-to-hit fairways. This is a great course for beginners.
Golf is as popular in Spain as it has ever been. We hope that we have given you enough ideas to pique your interest. Perhaps a golf holiday to Spain is in your future.