Golf abroad is an experience unlike any other, complete with the greatest golf courses in the world, historic sites, vintage pubs, and charming hotels. For over 25 years, golfers have been depending on our knowledge & expertise to select the most memorable courses, accommodations & scenic touring options.
Courses in Spain
- Valderrama Golf Club
- Alcaidesa Golf Links
- Almenara Golf Club
- Finca Cortesin Golf Club
- La Cala Golf Club - Compo Asia
- La Cala Golf Resort - Compo America
- La Cala Golf Resort - Compo Europa
- La Quinta Golf Resort
- La Reserva Golf Club, Sotogrande
- Los Flamingos Golf Club
- Los Naranjos Golf Club
- Marbella Club
- Montecastillo Golf Course
- Real Club de Golf Sotogrande
- San Roque Golf Club - New
- San Roque Golf Club - Old
Valderrama Golf Club
For a number of reasons, this is probably the most famous golf course in Continental Europe. First of all, Valderrama was the site of the 1997 Ryder Cup matches, won by the Europeans (Spaniard Seve Ballesteros was the captain). Secondly, it was the annual site of the Volvo Masters tournament on the European PGA Tour from 1988 - 1996 and then 2002 - 2008. Valderrama's conditioning is also always pristine and often compared to that of Augusta National, site of the Masters Tournament. It measures 6,951 yards from the back tees and was designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr. Plus, it's so challenging (even for the pros) that it rarely gives up an under-par round. For those reasons and more, Valderrama has been rated the #1 course in continental Europe since 1988.
Special Note: Valderrama has very limited tee time availability and handicap restrictions of 24 for men and 30 for ladies. In addition, a forecaddie is supplied with each foursome.
Alcaidesa Golf Links
Opened in 1992, Alcaidesa is the Costa del Sol's westernmost golf course. A result of this prime location in the south of Spain are stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean, the Rock of Gibraltar and (on a clear day) the Atlas Mountains of Northern Africa. Designed by Clive Clark and ABC golf commentator Peter Alliss, Alcaidesa is considered to be Spain's only "true" links. Due to its modest length (6,306 yards from the back tees), this golf course can be enjoyed by high handicappers and even new players. Because it is set along the beach, however, the frequent winds off the ocean can make it a good challenge for better players as well.
Almenara Golf Club
The facility at the luxurious Almenara Golf Hotel & Spa has become one of the most popular in the Sotogrande area. The original 18 holes here were designed by Dave Thomas and opened in 1998. Nine holes are played around a lake; the other nine meanders over rolling terrain that's bordered by cork and oak trees. The original layout measures 6,745 yards from the tips. Since adding a third nine in 2001, Almenara now offers golfers three courses in one. The beautiful, 148-room hotel has recently been refurbished, and most of the rooms are equipped with balconies that overlook the lovely countryside. A number of invigorating treatments are available at the elegant spa, plus there are indoor and outdoor pools and a fitness center.
Finca Cortesin Golf Club
Designed by Cabell Robinson and landscaped by Herald Huggan, Finca Cortesin Golf Club ranks among the best courses in Spain. It is a perfect balance of over 300 varieties of flora, the Mediterranean forrest and the well manicured turf. Home to the VOLVO World Match Play, one of the most historic and important golf tournaments, this par 72 course measures over 7000 yards from the back tees and has over 100 bunkers to navigate around. With a climate that allows year round play it was designed to be in full harmony with nature and the environment.
La Cala Golf Club - Compo Asia
Compo Asia (previously known as the South course) was the first to be built here, opening in 1991. Due to the extremely hilly terrain, flat lies are rare and the course often plays much longer than its back-tee measurement of 6,518 yards. The fairways and greens are well bunkered, and the putting surfaces are relatively small and fast. The use of a cart is strongly recommended on all of La Cala's courses.
La Cala Golf Resort - Compo America
Formerly known as the North course at La Cala, Compo America opened in 1992. Even though it is longer than Compo Asia (6,745 yards from the tips), Compo America is considered a wee bit easier. This is partly due to wider fairways and partly due to fewer bunkers and the fact that there are no water hazards on the course. Like the other two layouts here, Compo America is a hilly course that offers spectacular views of the countryside. Unlike the other two, it features five par fives and a par of 73.
La Cala Golf Resort - Compo Europa
Depending on who you talk to, the new Compo Europa (open since March 2005) is either the easiest or hardest course at La Cala. In the architect's opinion, it's easier for the average golfer because the greens are larger. Several guests, however, have commented that Compo Europa is the tougher of the three. By all accounts, though — like its sister courses — it is a beautiful and enjoyable layout. Thanks to the Ojen River, water is a factor on eight of the holes. By far, the sturdiest of the 18 holes are the 6th and the 14th. No.6 is a par three that measures 254 yards from the back tee, the fourteenth is a monster par five of 573 yards.
La Quinta Golf Resort
Located in the Benahavis Valley near Marbella, the Westin La Quinta Golf Resort is a 27-hole facility that offers spectacular views of the Mediterranean Sea and nearby mountains. Opened in 1989, the three nine-hole layouts here (San Pedro, Ronda and Guadaiza) were designed by former Ryder Cup team members Manuel Pinero and Antonio Garcia Garrido. None of the three combinations are lengthy, but each is challenging and well conditioned. San Pedro/Ronda measures 6,126 yards from the back tees, San Pedro/Guadaiza tips out at 6,467 yards, and Ronda/Guardaiza is 6,287 yards.
La Reserva Golf Club, Sotogrande
No doubt with an eye on hosting a European PGA Tour event some day, La Reserva was built to withstand today's big hitters. At 7,350 yards from the tips, it is the longest course on the Costa del Sol and possibly all of Spain. Designed by Cabell Robinson and opened in 2003, La Reserva has matured much faster than expected for a course of this size and caliber. Thankfully, in addition to the back tees, there are two sets of men's tees and a pair of forward tees. Walking is quite manageable from any of the shorter tees, and the views of the Mediterranean Sea are gorgeous.
Los Flamingos Golf Club
This beautiful and beautifully-conditioned golf course opened in 2001. Designed by Antonio Garcia Garrido, former member of the 1979 European Ryder Cup team, Los Flamingos features a fairly tight front nine and a more open back nine. Bordering many of the holes are cypress, orange, olive, pine, carob and chestnut trees. A lovely stream meanders through the property as well, ultimately emptying into a lake near the first and 10th holes. While not a long golf course at 6,460 yards from the back tees, Los Flamingos is considered a good test for even low handicap players. Less skilled golfers will also enjoy their trip around Los Flamingos, however, particularly the spectacular views of the Mediterranean Sea and North Africa.
Los Naranjos Golf Club
Having designed hundreds of golf courses around the world — many of them famous — it is quite a compliment to this layout that Robert Trent Jones Sr. considered it one of his best works. Opened in 1977, Los Naranjos measures nearly 7,100 yards from the back tees. Among Jones's trademarks to be found here are long, terraced tees, challenging bunkers, and large, multi-tiered putting surfaces. The greens, as expected, are well protected by sand and/or water. The two nines; however, offer distinctly different types of terrain. The gently rolling front nine is fairly open, while the back nine is much flatter as it weaves its way through orange groves.
The Marbella Club is for the exclusive guest use of both the Marbella Club Golf Resort & Spa and Puente Romano Hotel. The challenging golf course here was designed by veteran English architect Dave Thomas. It measures 6,832 yards from the back tees, features waterfalls and lakes, and offers sensational views of the Mediterranean Sea, the Rock of Gibraltar, North Africa the surrounding Sierra Mountains, and the nearby Benhavis hills. Marbella's unusual par of 73 is due to the three consecutive par fives that golfers face on the front nine.
Montecastillo Golf Course
Located about 2 hours west of Marbella, in Jerez de la Frontera, is the Montecastillo Golf Course. Home of the Volvo Masters from 1997 - 2001, Montecastillo is Jack Nicklaus's only golf course design in Andalucia. A tough, testing course with considerable distances from green to tee Montecastillo keeps to Nicklaus's family held belief that, "a golfer should see what he's getting". There are some spectacular holes with water coming into play often. The 18th is the most famous and most photographed hole. From the very high tee one looks down on the Montecastillo Hotel and the lake just before the final green. From this spot Sandy Lyle hit a driver in the 1994 Turespana Masters. His ball disappeared into the hotel swimming pool but he didn't have the heart to ask his caddie to dive in — there were three balls at the bottom of the deep end — so he took a drop under penalty. Later his ball was fished out. It transpired that had he done this within the five minutes permissible search time he'd have had a free drop.
Real Club de Golf Sotogrande
Opened in 1964, Real Club de Golf Sotogrande (Royal Sotogrande) is the very first course that Robert Trent Jones Sr. designed in Europe. Known by the locals as the "Old Course" it is still one of the best. In fact, the golf publications annually rank the club as one of the top 5 courese in Spain and one of the "100 Best Courses Outside the United States." Typical of Mr. Jones, Sotogrande's greens are large, slick, and well guarded by sand. The fairways are generously wide; however, many of them are bordered by eucalyptus, olive, palm and pine trees, and there's very little rough to contend with. Water, though, is in play on eight holes; all of it is on the right side. From the tips, this challenging but very playable golf course measures 6,879 yards.
Please Note: Real Club de Golf Sotogrande has handicap restrictions of 24 or lower for men and 30 or lower for women.
San Roque Golf Club - New
The New course at San Roque debuted in 2003 and was designed by Perry Dye, son of renowned American architect Pete Dye. At 7,246 yards from the tips, it's a bit longer than the Old course. However, it's also considered to be less demanding and more enjoyable for average players. This is partly because the fairways are much wider than on the Old course and partly because there are fewer water hazards in play (only four). In addition, there are four forward tees to choose from. For these reasons — and because the Old course is tough enough for tour players — it's probably a good idea to play the New course first.
San Roque Golf Club - Old
The annual site of the Spanish Open, San Roque's Old Course is a favorite on the European PGA Tour. Golf Digest likes it, too, ranking it the 10th best course in Spain. Opened in 1990, the Old course was designed by English architect Dave Thomas. Since it opened; however, the course's numerous bunkers were reworked by five-time major championship winner and home-country hero Seve Ballesteros. Seve's brother Vincente, by the way, is the head professional at San Roque. Several holes here have water in play, many are bordered by cork trees, and the course measures 7,140 yards from the back tees. When the 1997 Ryder Cup matches where held at nearby Valderrama Golf Club, the members of both teams stayed at San Roque's luxurious hotel.