Golf is a sport that is not only enjoyable, but that is – as most people who have been bitten by the golfing bug will attest to – also rather addictive. Whether you are a regular club player who can’t let a weekend go by without hitting the greens or whether you only manage to get out to enjoy the sport a few times a year, you probably have a bucket list when it comes to different courses around the world.
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Fortunately golf is an international game, and courses have been designed and created in countries all over, with many of them lending themselves perfectly to golf holidays. Spain has several excellent golf clubs, and although many of them may not be as historically intriguing as St Andrew’s in Scotland, for example, or as spectacular as Thracian Cliffs’ stunning scenery, there are some that deserve a second look when you are putting that bucket list together.
One of Europe’s most prestigious golfing experiences has got to be Valderrama in Spain’s Andalucía, which many consider to be one of the finest courses in the world, making it very worthy of a place on any avid golfer’s ‘must play before I die’ list.
History of Valderrama
This high-quality, beautifully conditioned and cleverly designed course wasn’t always the classy collection of holes, greens and fairways it is today. Despite being brought to fruition in 1974 by Robert Trent Jones Sr., the initial course was drastically changed in 1984 when the new owner, Jaime Ortiz Patiño, bought the club and invested generously in its redevelopment, to which he entrusted the original designer.
Now referred to as “The Augusta of Europe”, the club attracts players from all over, many of whom stay in the area on golf holidays. Spain’s Ortiz Patiño devoted time, money and energy into the course, and it shows. In just a few years, the place became the Number 1 Golf Course in mainland Europe, and has held this accolade since. Today it is regarded as one of the top 50 in the world, and that is why there are several specialist companies today that are proud to be using it as the highlight of golf holidays.
Spain’s Valderrama’s Facts and Stats
If you need evidence that a course is worthy of its reputation, take a look at the tournaments it has hosted and you will get an idea of how important it is on the world golfing stage. In 1997, the Ryder Cup was played here, and the Europeans beat the USA by one point, with Seve Ballesteros as Captain of Team Europe. As host to the Volvo Masters from 1988 to 1996 and to the finals of the World Golf Championships in 1999 and 2000, Valderrama’s value and excellence is already affirmed among golfing fans.
If name-dropping tournaments isn’t enough, you might be impressed to discover that none other that His Majesty King Juan Carlos of Spain visited the club in 2014, elevating its status even more.
This wonderful course has a par of 71, along with fairways that allow the 24-handicap man and 32-handicap lady to play it and enjoy every part of it just as much as the professionals do.
What more could you want from a brilliant course and one that is frequented by plenty of players on different golf holidays? Spain’s Valderrama is a fabulous course to play on, and the reception that you receive is second to none. Bear in mind, however, that you may not play to your handicap; it is a tough challenge!
Steve Frewin is the Managing Director of A Golfing Experience, a company with more than 29 years experience organising bespoke golf holidays and escapes throughout Europe for individuals, societies and groups. If you’re looking for truly great golf holidays, Spain is one of our top destinations. We also operate in all the other major European golf destinations and, if you’d like to explore options further afield, we can arrange holidays to the world’s greatest golf courses in The Caribbean, Mauritius, Bermuda and USA.