Valderrama – Continental Europe’s Most Famous Golf Course

When you think of the great golf courses of the World, the UK and the USA have the majority. There is one course in Spain that can compete with the biggest names in the world though, it’s Real Club Valderrama. One of the most notorious and difficult courses on the European Tour schedule that should be on everyone’s oist and this is why.

The course was originally designed by Robert Trent Jones and is one of his greatest creations. When it was first opened, the course was called the Las Aves. Trent Jones had built another course previously, Real Club de Golf Sotogrande, and this was his second project in the area. After a redesign in 1984, again by Trent Jones, the course gained the name that it has to this day.

Valderrama is all about strategy and patience. With six teeing options on every hole, the course has been intelligently designed to be equally challenging to all level of golfers.

A Constantly Improving Challenge

In 2015, a €3 million renovation project was completed. Yes, even the great Valderrama is still being improved all of the time. This work focussed mainly on the front-nine and the irrigation system in particular. The team at Valderrama hold the course to the highest environmental standards. After these recent changes it is now the only course in Europe to have Audobon Certification, other than Loch Lomond.

Like many top tour venues, Valderrama is often changed to maintain its challenge. After the Andalucia Valderrama Masters, the back-nine will be refurbished too. One of the unique characteristics of this fine championship venue is that it is not a super-long course. In fact, the challenge at Valderrama is that it is tight and requires pinpoint accuracy.

This is a course for the purest ball-strikers and tacticians. The par-5 4th hole ‘Cascada’ is the signature hole and, not only is it a beautiful challenge but it has a world record to its name too. In 2016 a French team of Raphael Jaquelin, Alexander Levy, Gregory Havret and Romain Wattel played the hole in relay-style and finished it in an incredible 34.87 seconds with a birdie.

The closing stretch is one of the hardest finishes in the world and takes great concentration to successfully navigate. It makes for a great championship venue and tense finishes to tournaments.


1997 Ryder Cup and the Volvo Masters

Many will remember the fantastic Ryder Cup that was held here in 1997. In what was the first Ryder Cup played on Continental European soil, a dramatic final round created a memorable match.

The late and great Seve Ballesteros was the captain of Team Europe. In a fine match that showed off the course beautifully, his team faced-up against Tom Kite and his American cohort. This was an event that truly put the great course on the map and into the history books.

From 1988 until 2008, Valderrama was also a regular stop on the European Tour with the Volvo Masters. This truly great international tournament always attracted one of the best fields of the year and was sorely missed when it was removed from the tour schedule. There is, fortunately, exciting news on that front though.

Spanish Open becoming Andalucia Valderrama Masters

In 2016, Valderrama played host to the Spanish Open, where Andrew ‘Beef’ Johnson was victorious. In 2017, however, the Spanish Open has not been scheduled and the tour will stop in Spain for the Andalucia Valderrama Masters instead. This tournament, which returns after a six year hiatus will be co-hosted by the Sergio Garcia Foundation.

With Garcia as host you can rest assured that he will be leaning on his friends and a fantastic field of golfers will assemble for this event. Rising Spanish star, Jon Rahm, is just one of the names that could be there to play this truly great golf course!

The top tour players of the world will be lining up to play in this event as Valderrama is a course that they all talk highly of. One of the reasons for the praise given to this course is the attention to detail and care taken in its maintenance.

In fact, Robert Trent Jones himself once remarked, “I believe Valderrama is a classic championship course. It’s like Augusta…in a better state than any other course could possibly be.

Andalucia Valderrama Masters

Other Nearby Courses

Andalucia is a part of the world known for great golfing facilities. Valderrama is the number one name in this region and deservedly so, however there are also some other great options to try. In the Sotogrande-region you also have La Reserva Club. A newer offering that has rightly gained critical acclaim for golfers around the world.

Another great course to play is Finca Cortesin, which like Valderrama, has recently undergone some refurbishment. Andalucia is a region with an unfair amount of great golf courses. Take advantage of the great climate and go play some of Europe’s finest courses!

Follow Real Club Valderrama on All Square: click here.

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Related articles