Number 5 – Club de Golf Alcanada
Located in Port d’Alcudia, Mallorca, Spain, Alcanda is genuinely one of the best-designed golf courses with spectacular views over the Mediterranean sea that I have ever had the pleasure of playing.
Designed by Robert Trent Jones Jnr and opened for play in 2003, this challenging but rewarding course blends naturally into the typical Mallorcan landscape. The Opening hole is a good indication of the test that lies ahead. However, this is a relatively short par 5 at just over 500 yards, and there is no room for error from the tee.
A tight fairway awaits, out of bounds left and bunkers capture anything short right from around 200 to 230 yards. Even with your best tee shot down the middle of the fairway, you still face a challenging hole, risk or reward? This second shot is critical. The green is makeable; however, the ditch running like a snake through the fairway just shy of the green will make you think twice.
Moving through the course, you may notice a camera on the tee of the 7th hole, which again is a Par 5, however of a different nature and much longer at over 600 yards. The cameras are recording your drive so you can have live footage of your performance emailed to you. If you happen to hit the perfect drive, it is captured forever. No pressure for the ultimate golfing in Spain memory!
Regarding golf away from mainland Spain, as well as Mallorca there are a lot of quality golf courses in the Canary Islands.
Where to Stay:
Melia Palma Marina
Number 4, Real Club de Golf Sotogrande
Sotogrande, at the western end of the Costa del Sol in Spain, and within sight of Gibraltar, was the first course in Europe to be designed by the great Robert Trent Jones. One of the most celebrated course architects of his time perhaps all time, some of his most celebrated work includes the design of iconic American courses such as Hazeltine, Spyglass Hill, Congressional Golf Club, Firestone and of course the re-design of Augusta’s 11th and 16th Holes.
This par 72 measures some 7,100 yards from the back pegs. Its location is just a mere stone’s throw from the Mediterranean Sea; it has long tee-boxes with wide-open fairways leading it to guarded elevated greens. With numerous tee boxes to choose from this classic golf course is suitable for golfers of all abilities.
The quality of former champions mirrors the quality of the course. Among others, there are Seve Ballesteros, Jose María Olazabal, Roberto de Vicenzo, Sergio García, Padraig Harrington and Rory McIlroy to name but a few.
What I love about Robert Trent Jones designs is that he had a way of tempting you to take on shots that perhaps you would not usually attempt by smart course design with tempting views. All of his courses create an unforgettable experience with a mix of challenging holes and are a credit to Spain Golf.
Where to Stay:
Hotel Enciar de Sotogrande
Number 3 – Las Colinas Golf & country club
Situated in San Miguel de Salinas, Alicante, Spain, Las Colinas golf course, designed by renowned North American landscape architect Cabell B. Robinson. Designer of internationally recognised golf courses such as La Reserva in Sotogrande.
A great mix of challenging holes not only to Spain golfers but all newcomers. You will need to ensure you hit a long, accurate tee-shot at the start of one hole; followed by a shorter, lay-up shot on the next hole. You’ll have to think all the time when playing Las Colinas and planning your shots carefully. Some par-4 and par-5 holes will allow you to unwind with the driver whereas others will see you opting for a shorter club and a more precise shot.
Despite providing golfers with a good test, the course is fair and low scores are achievable. The new facility “Las Colinas Short Game Facility” has been designed by Miguel Ángel Jiménez and is one of the best in continental Europe.
Las Colinas is a real championship course worthy of hosting European Tour events and a truly excellent base for a Costa Blanca Golf Holiday.
Where to Stay:
Las Colinas Golf & Country Club
Number 2, PGA Catalunya Stadium Course
The Stadium Course could have quite easily have made it to my number one position of my best golf courses in Spain, and it was incredibly tough to decide between the two that I had. The Stadium Course at PGA Catalunya is not just one of the best golf courses I have played in Spain but worldwide.
Located in Carretera, Girona on Costa Brava in Spain and nestling at the base of the Pyrenees is where you will find this world-class golf resort. Golfers can experience two fantastic hotel choices, The Tour course, as well as the Stadium course, give you a wide variety over 36 holes. The golf facilities and practice areas at PGA Catalunya are faultless.
It is rare to find so many memorable holes on one course however my pick of the bunch would be the 6th Hole, which is a very challenging hole, a dogleg left with a tight tee shot and a green surrounded by five bunkers and a spectacular hole.
The course has been designed with the European Tour and perhaps even the Ryder Cup in mind and each hole is a combination of tricky, clever, rewarding and beautifully manicured.
I cannot rate the quality of PGA Catalunya any more highly as a golf resort.
Where to Stay:
Hotel Camiral PGA Catalunya
Number 1 – Real Club Valderrama
Located in San Roque, Sotogrande, Cadiz, Valderrama is a real bucket-list golf course and my favourite golf course in Spain. It might seem an obvious pick because it has always been in the top 10 courses in continental Europe. However, without actually experiencing the iconic course in person, you may never truly understand how great this layout is.
Tee-time availability is limited with only a handful of tee-times given to non-members and green fees are very expensive. However, for any golf enthusiast, this course is a must-play course if only once in a lifetime.
In my opinion not only is Valderamma off the best golf in Spain in Spain but quite possibly in the whole of Europe.
All 18 holes are capable of sending shivers down your spine, as amateur golfers try to mimic the great golf shots of past masters from the world’s elite. Who can forget some of the monumental moments from the 1997 Ryder Cup, the first Ryder Cup to be played in continental Europe. Seve Ballesteros lead the Europeans to a 14½-13½ tight victory despite going into the final day of play with a massive 5 point lead.
How about re-creating shots like Graeme McDowell’s astonishing albatross on the 17th in the 2007 Andalusian Masters?
That moment where Seve and Bernhard Langer were tied going down the 18th in the 1994 Spanish Open always jogs memories for me also.
The 4th hole (La Cascada) is one of my favourite and most memorable holes of golf of all time, a fantastic par 5 that requires precision play and Par is an excellent score. That said it is hard to choose your favourite hole at this iconic venue, Sitting outside the clubhouse post-round tallying up scores it is hard to look past 17 and 18 where generally the match is won or lost.
For myself, Valderrama was always in my top 5 bucket list golf courses to play in my lifetime alongside the likes of St. Andrews Old Course and Pebble Beach.
Now that I have experienced Valderrama in all its glory, I regularly desire to visit just one more time; hopefully, one day, I do so again. I play a lot of golf in the Marbella region of the Costa del Sol, of all the courses available, Valderrama will always be my one true love in Spain.
Where to Stay:
Westin La Quinta Golf Resort & Spa
This list could include Finca Cortesin which certainly makes the top ten in terms of Spanish golfing experiences.