With a Mediterranean climate that can’t be beat, and over 40 courses dotting its coastline, golfing in Costa del Sol is all about having fun in a Spanish destination worth adding to your athletic itinerary.
Some of its most impressive courses can be found in the resort town of Sotogrande. And of those golf-worthy tracks, private members’ club Valderrama is undoubtedly the region’s (if not Spain’s) most famous. Originally opened and designed by Robert Trent Jones in 1974 as Las Aves, it wasn’t until 1985 that it became today’s Valderrama, thanks to a facelift. Now it’s become a celebrity golf course in its own right, appearing on TV over the years during various tournaments, such as AMEX World Championships, the Volvo Masters and, most notably, the 1997 Ryder Cup.
Valderrama’s not the only luxury links worth hitting up in Sotogrande either, there’s also the Real Club de Golf. Another Trent Jones creation, the course opened for business in 1965, and went on to host multiple high-profile tournaments – from the Spanish Open to European Tour Qualifying School – ultimately earning itself “Royal” status by the King of Spain in 1994.
Another course not to miss in the area is La Almenara, created by Dave Thomas. It offers 27 pay-and-play holes, and then an additional 18 for members only. Speckled with pine and cork trees, you can scope out views of the sea while contemplating your next shot.
Finally, Trent Jones is the mastermind behind yet another Costa del Sol favorite: Las Brisas. Created in 1968, the course has been home to many famous tournaments, including the 1973 World Cup of Golf (as well as in 1989), which brought with it greats like Jack Nicklaus and Johnny Miller to walk its 18 holes.
If you seek a less formal golfing experience in this southern part of Spain, opt for a shorter 9-hole course instead. The region offers plenty of options, including courses such as El Candado, La Siesta and La Noria, among many others. Wherever you end up, golf expectations should be, well, generally par for the course: club rentals are usually available, no metal-spiked shoes allowed (if you happen to be toting around an antique pair), and etiquette is as you’d expect it to be anywhere else around the globe.
- Contributed by Erin Ridley