There is a dearth of good golf courses in the 220-mile stretch between Valencia and Barcelona on the eastern seaboard of Spain but one that stands out (confirming the fact that it plays way better than it first looks) is Mediterraneo, in the province of Castellón.
The 18-hole layout at the Club de Campo del Mediterráneo embodies all that is good about parkland Spanish golf. Designed by Ramón Espinosa – the respected architect of two other eastern Spanish courses at Fontanals and Golf d’Aro – the course has been in play since 1978, maturing into a modern day golfing gem that receives real appreciation from the more discerning golfer.
Laid out amongst olive, poplar and carob trees in a wide, secluded valley slightly inland from the coast, Mediterráneo is blessed with a fine mix of testing holes, interspersed with some that are more subtly demanding. The three holes around the turn – starting at the 9th – are particularly strong (the short par four 10th plays uphill to a tiered putting surface with out of bounds to the left and back of the green) and the 18th is a great closing hole that doglegs left to a green protected by two sentinel bunkers in front of the clubhouse.
Club de Campo del Mediterráneo is where Sergio Garcia played as a junior and it was fitting that he won the 2008 Castelló Masters by three shots from Peter Hedblom. “Just getting the tournament here was extremely special for me – and my family – and to come out on top playing like I did was awesome," Garcia commented after the tournament. Sweden’s Michael Jonzon birdied the last hole to win the 2009 event which also provided the added bonus of allowing him to keep his European Tour card. The Castelló Masters returned to Club de Campo del Mediterráneo in October 2010 and 17-year-old Italian Matteo Manassero won the event by four shots becoming the youngest ever European Tour winner.