Real Moraleja (1) - Central Spain - Spain

Real Club La Moraleja,
Paseo Marquesa,
Viuda de Aldana 50,
La Moraleja,

  • +34 (0) 916 500 700

  • Manuel Diego Miguel

  • Jack Nicklaus, Desmond Muirhead

  • Antonio Martín Perdiguero

Real Club La Moraleja in Spain’s capital city is in the very fortunate position of having four very fine 18-hole courses which its exclusive membership can choose to play on. The No. 1 course held the Spanish Open in 1986 and 1997 (won by Howard Clark and Mark James) and the 32nd Madrid Open was played on the No. 2 course in 2006.

Located in an affluent area to the north of Madrid, La Moraleja 1 was created by Jack Nicklaus and Desmond Muirhead, the Golden Bear’s partner on many development projects, ranging from Muirfield Village, Ohio to New St Andrews in Japan. The club opened the course at Moraleja in style back in 1976 with an inaugural match involving its architect, Jack Nicklaus, Sam Snead, Tom Weiskopf and local hero, Valentin Barrios.

Moraleja 1 is not overly long by modern standards at 6,550 yards in length and it features four short par fours, three of which are played between the 13th and 16th holes. No fewer than five of the front nine holes are left doglegs – nine doglegs in total on the course and they all combine to add great interest to the layout.

Water comes into play at three holes on the back nine, the best of which is the 330-yard, par four, 13th (“La Orca”) where the approach is played across a pond to a green running at a 45 degree angle to the fairway – it’s a lovely hole that blends in beautifully to its surroundings.

The No.1 course has been described as quirky, even amusing, but it still gives the more modern number 2 course a run for its money. One piece of golfing trivia as a footnote: one of the entertainment world’s most famous golfing sons, Bing Crosby, died as he came off Moraleja 1 in 1977 – some might call that dying and going to golfing heaven!

Following the sale of 80 acres of land (occupied by the former tennis courts), the club channeled the proceeds into creating two new courses (3 and 4), which are located a few kilometres from courses 1 and 2 and directly over the road from RSHE Club de Campo.

Opened for play in 2012 and fashioned again by Nicklaus Design, Moraleja 3 and 4 are now Spanish Top 100 courses. No.3 course is very much parkland in style and No.4 course has a links-like feel. The new 72-hole Real Club La Moraleja is now positioned in a unique and commanding position from a golfing perspective.

If the above article is inaccurate, please let us know by clicking here

Write a review

Reviews for Real Moraleja (1)

Average Reviewers Score:
Description: Located in an affluent area to the north of Madrid, Real Club La Moraleja 1 was created by Jack Nicklaus and Desmond Muirhead, the Golden Bear’s partner on many golf course development projects... Rating: 7.5 out of 10 Reviews: 2
Javier Pintos

After the ride on 4 and the round on 3, we headed to the Central Club House to meet Golf Director Iñigo for a quick lunch before the round on course 1. During it he explained the differences between 1-2 which are quite older and the newer 3-4 constructed in a much bigger site, with better technology and space to create two much more modern courses which of course for many of us golfers will not necessary mean “better”. Number 1 is surrounded by a neighborhood but this does not mean it is a weaker course. It was created in 1975, it is not long at all but it demands all shots, both effects off the tee and a much more technical game to be played where the Driver will be a lot of times left inside the bag giving space for woods, hybrids and even long irons for those who still carry them inside the bag.

Played the very back and it was a special challenge for me as I am way sharper with the Driver than 3 Wood and the Hybrid with which I don’t feel comfortable but in this course there was no choice as Driver is out of play in at least 4-5 holes apart from the par 3s. This is not a critic on the course at all, it is a limitation I faced and made it a bigger challenge for me, but this old fashioned Poa Annua Greens classic design, with touches in the Alister Mackenzie style was certainly a very good one and as I pointed before, Members here are fortunate to have 4 different courses from each other on site. You can choose which one to play depending on the game you want to play or what you want to practice. With sharper tee shots and smaller greens, this one is a more precision demanding one.

Off the tee you will need both effects starting with draws on 1-3 with 3 wood, another draw on 5th and then a cut on 8th with either 3 wood or ¾ Driver. 10th to 12th will allow you to go on full throttle but then only on 18th you will be able to get driver off the bag again.

As for the approaches, there is a Mackenzie feeling on many greens, a narrow miss can lead to very tough recovery shots like I faced on 15th where a 1m miss to the right led to a nasty lie and no chance of recovery, but then the course gives back (if you are sharp) with quite a bunch of holes where you will be hitting short irons and wedges to the green and there is when you need to get the birdies.

Poa Annua greens were of course not as dramatic nor as fast as on 3-4 but they had the challenge there, tough to get the breaks and also it is necessary to use the slopes with the shots which is quite fun to demand your skills. I found particularly good all four par 3s hitting 6 iron, Hybrid and then 6 iron twice again but asking for 4 different types of shots. Pin position at the three shorter ones could bring 8 iron easy into play.

A different test, a very good course and a certain idea that Madrid has a lot better golf than many people actually know, with courses that can challenge the best ones in the South of the country.

March 14, 2022
7 / 10
Reviewer Score:

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
1 person found this review helpful


Moraleja 1 is a beautiful course surrounded by pine trees and villas in the elegant Moraleja neighbourhood. Although not long it is requiring precise shots and good strategic play. Despite its length scoring is a lot harder than its seems at first sight, as the greens are not easy, there is rough around most greens making chipping more difficult and a lot of the holes are tight. Greens are rather small, in contrast to most of the newer Nicklaus courses (like Moraleja 3+4).

A number of the par 4s are rather short giving the long hitter the chance to attack.

The real difficulty are the par 3s: The 175M 2nd is a slight uphill shot into a severely sloping green with a small opening protected by bunkers and large trees. No 4 is 190M into a narrow green and big bunkers in front and back, No 15 is 155 M again uphill and well bunkered and No 17 over a lake which cuts left to right into the green. The long par 5 No 12 is in my opinion the most difficult hole on the course, over 500 M, dogleg shaping right around large trees while the fairway is sloping to the left and water in front of the narrow green. The par 5 18th has again out of bounds left and right and a big lake in front of the green requiring a good drive and courage for the player wanting to attack the green in 2.

The course is universally liked by players of all abilities, despite its moderate length especially low handicappers enjoy playing it for the strategic options, a lot of them think that Moraleja no 1 is one of the best courses in the Madrid area. It definitely deserves a higher rating in the Spain rankings than currently (51st).

September 29, 2021
8 / 10
Reviewer Score:

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful