Javier Arana

Full Name
Francisco Javier Arana Ybarra
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Year of Birth
Year of Death
1975 (aged 70)
Place Born
Las Arenas, Getxo, Spain
Place Died
San Pedro de Ribas, Barcelona, Spain

“One of the standout features of Arana’s designs is their deceptive simplicity: they harbour complex situations for the game, none of which is visible at first glance. This, again, reflects [Tom] Simpson’s influence." Alfonso Erhardt Ybarra

Javier Arana, nicknamed ‘Cisco’ within the family, was the eldest of three sons born to Luis Arana Urigüen and Maria Dolores Ybarra López de Calle. His parents – Luisón and Lola as they were known – were from wealthy Basque Country families which had amassed fortunes from mining activities in the Bilbao region.

Luisón was a keen sportsman, playing in goal for Vizcaya FC when the team won the Copa del Rey cup final against FC Barcelona in 1902, and he was a leading sailor, representing Spain (along with Javier) in the yachting event at the 1928 Olympic Games in Amsterdam. A founding member of Neguri Golf Club in 1911, he became the first president of the Royal Spanish Golf Federation in 1934.

His son Javier began playing the game around the age of ten, practicing on the old Neguri course which was an 11-hole affair that had been laid out close to the family home on the banks of the Gobelas River by two Englishmen; Forrest the first club captain, and Cunningham, the first club professional.

Javier and his younger brother Luis Ignacio developed into very good, competitive players, displaying a keen rivalry both on and off the course. Javier was ebullient and cheerful, with a style of play reflecting his outgoing personality while Luis Ignacio was more reserved and even-headed and his calm temperament probably went a long way towards him enjoying a longer and more successful playing career than his older brother.

Still, Javier was capable of beating anybody on his day. In 1926, he finished runner-up in his first elite competition at the Puerta de Hierro Championships in Madrid (while in the capital to complete his studies in law and phi...

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Featured courses designed, remodelled and added to by Javier Arana


7th Southern Spain - Best in Area 24th Spain Ranking

Created in 1975 at the start of the Spanish golf course development boom, Club de Golf Aloha has remained one of Spain’s top tracks for more than forty years...


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El Saler

1st South East Spain - Best in Area 2nd Spain Ranking 5th Continental Europe Ranking

Javier Arana designed El Saler and it opened for play in 1968 to a rapturous standing ovation. In fact, shortly afterwards, it was voted the No.1 golf course in Continental Europe.


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1st Northern Spain - Best in Area 14th Spain Ranking 77th Continental Europe Ranking

Neguri, or Real Sociedad de Golf de Neguri to give the club its full title, was originally founded way back in 1911 but today’s course was laid out in 1961 and it’s located in Getxo, a few kilometres north west of Bilbao.


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Real Cerdaña (Verde)

12th North East Spain - Best in Area 70th Spain Ranking

The course at Real Club de Golf Cerdaña was the first layout Javier Arana designed from scratch, consulting with his esteemed mentor, Tom Simpson, on the best routing...


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Rio Real

12th Southern Spain - Best in Area 37th Spain Ranking

The oldest course in the Marbella area, Rio Real was built on a compact site back in 1965 when Javier Arana laid out an 18-hole course on the banks of the Real River...


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Sant Cugat

16th North East Spain - Best in Area

It all started in 1914 with Canadian Frederick Stark Pearson and his Barcelona Traction Company which had the contract to electrify the local railway line. He built a course for his workers, calling in none other than Harry Colt to design the layout.


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4th Northern Spain - Best in Area 36th Spain Ranking

Originally designed by Javier Arana in 1966, Ulzama lies in the Navarrese Valley of the same name, within an old oak forest.


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Javier Arana Leaderboard

Rank Name Courses Played
1 Eduardo Ruiz Courses Played 8
= Rudy Zonno Courses Played 8
3 Alfredo Caparros Blanes Courses Played 7
= Rafa Courses Played 7
5 Jose Manuel Clavaguera Courses Played 6
= Jorge Courses Played 6
= Dr. Michael J. Noack Courses Played 6
= Legolas_bilbao Courses Played 6
= Jim McCann Courses Played 6
= Walter Resch Courses Played 6