The 15th hole at Real Club Valderrama.(Real Club Valderrama)
As the 18th edition of the Solheim Cup is underway, and host venue Finca Cortesin in Andalucía, Spain, welcomes the world to its beautiful views, some may want to know what the other best courses in Spain are.
To begin, let's overview the game of golf in Spain. Bordered to the north by France and the Atlantic Ocean, south by the Alboran Sea and the Strait of Gibraltar, to the west by Portugal, and east by the Balearic Sea, Spain boasts some 398 golf courses.
1891 was when golf first found its way to Spain. The Royal Spanish Golf Club El Prat in Barcelona marks the spot where the first round took place. Some of golf's most famous historical figures were Spanish-born: Seve Ballesteros, José María Olazábal, Sergio García, Miguel Ángel Jiménez and Jon Rahm are just a few.
Spain is in the spotlight this month with the ladies of the U.S. Solheim Cup team doing battle with the European Solheim Cup team at Finca Cortesin, one of Spain's most sensational golf resorts. The course is a Cabell B. Robinson design and is one of his finest works. Finca Cortesin has hosted numerous professional events, including three Volvo World Match Play Championships.
The country of Spain, with its natural beauty and its very enjoyable climate, lends itself to be one of golf's best spots in the world.
To help me come up with some notable courses to share, I called on fellow golf professional and native of Spain, Jesús Rodríguez Salvador. Jesús is a performance coach at the Real Federación Española de Golf, a youth golf coach at Real Club de Golf de la Puerta de Hierro and the founder of Gamyplan.
A few of Spain's most notable golf courses, according to Jesús, include the following:
Real Club Valderrama
Valderrama is one of the best-known courses in Spain and is rated by most as the No. 1 golf facility that the country has to offer. Located in Sotogrande, in the southern part of Spain, Valderrama was designed by the great Robert Trent Jones Sr. in 1974. Often called the "Augusta of Europe," Valderrama has been among the top 100 courses in the world for nearly 35 years.
The par-71 Championship Course, which measures just over 7,000 yards from the professional tees, plays to a slope of 147 and a rating of 76.1. Most famously, Valderrama hosted the 1997 Ryder Cup, the first ever held in continental Europe.
Real Club de Golf Sotogrande
The Real Club de Golf Sotogrande opened in 1964. The course was the first that Robert Trent Jones designed in Europe. As was always a design trait of Jones, he aimed to integrate as much of the natural surroundings as possible while making the course challenging to the better players but enjoyable to all ability levels.
From 1996 to 2001, the course, along with the San Roque Club, hosted European Q-School. Notables like major champions Geoff Ogilvy and Justin Rose, as well as Ian Poulter and Nicholas Colsaerts gained their tour cards here.
The course plays to a par of 72, measures roughly 6,800 yards from the back tees, has a slope of 141, and a rating of 73.7.
La Hacienda Links Golf Resort
Two fabulous courses adorn the property at La Hacienda Links Golf Resort: the Links Course and the Heathland Course.
The Links Course was first designed by Peter Ellis and Clive Clark and opened in 1992. In 2021, golf course architect Kurtis Bowman transformed the links-style course into a more modern and sustainable golf course.
Former Ryder Cup player and designer of many renowned courses around the world, Dave Thomas designed the Heathland Course. With the Mediterranean Sea as the backdrop, the course has a uniquely varied terrain with stunning natural landscapes.
The Links Course plays to a par of 72, measures roughly 6,415 yards from the back tees, has a slope of 128, and a rating of 70.8. The Heathland Course plays to a par of 72, measures roughly 6,970 yards from the back tees, has a slope of 130, and a rating of 73.6.
Brendon R. Elliott, PGA
Brendon Elliott is considered by his peers in the industry as one of the top youth golf coaches in the world. He is a multiple, local, state, regional, national and world award winning instructor with a focus on junior golfers ages 3-18. With numerous appearances on Golf Channel's Morning Drive, local TV, nationwide radio and countless publications, Elliott is one of the foremost experts in the youth golf arena. His Little Linksters 501c3 nonprofit is recognized as an example for introducing children as young as three to the game as well as how to help introduce youth with disabilities to our golf. Elliott has been recommended by industry titian's such as Nicklaus, Player, Floyd, Sorenstam, Speith and more. Among his numerous accolades, Elliott was named the PGA of America's 2017 PGA National Youth Player Development Award Winner in 2017.