PGA Catalunya (Stadium) - North East Spain - Spain

PGA Catalunya Resort,
701 Caldes de Malavella,
17455 Girona,
Spain


  • +34 (0)972 47 25 77

  • David Bataller

  • Angel Gallardo and Neil Coles

  • Enric Lopez


The Costa Brava is the jewel in the crown of the Eastern Spanish coastline, nestling at the foothills of the Pyrenees and escaping the intense summer heat that burns the more southern parts of Spain. Catalonia (Catalunya), of which the Costa Brava is part, feels at times like a completely different country. The local food is very different - heartier than more southern Spanish fare – and the local Catalonian language has more of a French feel.

A visit to this area of Spain is a must for any golfer as there are a number of excellent courses that all offer thoughtful design in great surroundings. The various designers have created excellent challenges that are usually in superb condition due to the cooler northern climate. The best of these has to be the Stadium (formerly called Green) course at PGA de Catalunya, ranked in Europe's Top 100 ever since it opened at the end of 1998.

The Stadium course is the culmination of more than a decade of planning and design by the European Tour. They wanted to build their own Players Championship course to rival the PGA Tour's Sawgrass course. It has to be said that it was a decade well spent. The PGA is so good that within months of opening, it hosted the 1999 Gene Sarazen World Open and the Spanish Open in 2000. The Spanish Open returned to the Stadium course in 2009 (won by Thomas Levet) and 2014 when veteran Miguel Angel Jiménez extended his own record as the oldest winner in European Tour history winning a three-man play-off.

PGA Catalunya Resort is located 45 minutes north of the wonderful city of Barcelona and only a few kilometres from the regional airport at Girona, although this is never apparent as the course nestles in the Girona mountains just outside the quiet town of Caldes de Malvella. Utilising their combined 25-plus years of European Tour experience, the designers, Angel Gallardo and Neil Coles, have created a wonderful course that is a test for all standards due to the fact that every hole can be played from five different tees. Which is lucky as the course measures more than 6,500 metres from the championship tees.

Once on the first tee, the true majesty of the PGA de Catalunya is immediately apparent with an elevated drive to a dogleg left par four. Trouble waits in front of the tee and only a good, solid shot will provide the ability to reach the green with anything less than a long iron or fairway wood. For the handicap golfer, leaving this green with a bogey must be viewed as an acceptable result. From here on in, the course just gets better and better as it winds its way through the hills. Beautiful green fir trees, lush vegetation, scrub and an abundance of purple heather, frame each hole. The greens are well bunkered, undulating and always in excellent condition. Additionally, there are a number of large lakes on the course, which blend perfectly with the landscape and on some holes, the water is used creatively to form semi-island greens.

There are many "must-see" places in the world and the Stadium course at PGA de Catalunya should be on any serious golfer's "must-play" list. It's an absolute cracker. And their second course, called the Tour, is pretty special too.

In November 2014 the PGA Catalunya Resort was appointed as candidate venue for Spain’s bid to host the 2022 Ryder Cup. Spain was one of six countries bidding to stage the tournament – the Stadium Course was originally developed with a view to hosting such a major event. Unfortunately the Catalonian bid was unsuccessful with Italy's capital city of Rome winning the right to stage the 2022 Ryder Cup.

PGA Catalunya is one of our Top 100 Golf Resorts of the World

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Reviews for PGA Catalunya (Stadium)

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Description: The Stadium course at the PGA Catalunya Resort is the culmination of more than a decade of planning by the European Tour. They wanted to build their own Players Championship course to rival the PGA's TPC Sawgrass. Rating: 8.2 out of 10 Reviews: 43
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Hamish Wilson
This is a top class course in great condition. The facilities match or better than any club I have played at. The other reviews will tell you all you need to know about the course however i am writing this from the perspective of 16 handicap and a senior. It was too difficult and even with buggies exhausting! There isn't a flat hole on the course. By all means if you are in my category play it once for the experience!
September 10, 2014
10 / 10
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MARIO BULER
We played some of the best courses in Spain a few weeks ago. PGA was fantastic. Despite the bad weather it was a great experience. Nice lay out, decent condition and good service. I have to say that I cannot undertand how this course can be rated higher than Valderrama though. We also played it during our trip and it is just a different league. I would even say that Real Sotogrande is also a much better course than PGA.
April 07, 2014
6 / 10
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James
I played here 3 weeks ago and since then I have been giving it some thought. I really enjoyed the lay out. We played it twice. It is well routed and there is pressure on every shot. A technical masterpiece that is a joy to play. You must make strategic decisions throughout. you must negotiate the undulations, hazards, plentiful lakes and tree lined fairways from tees that offer numerous options, depending on how hard you want to push yourself. We were denied the back tees, which was probably a good thing as I played pretty poorly. I didn't get away with it either. With The Q school here this week I suspect the good players will rise to the top. I felt the condition is a work in progress and they are nearly there in terms of renovating certain areas. The facilities here are world class and I would recommend a visit. Considering the cost of the Golf and Hotel package it really is very good value. I would give it 6 balls if the condition matched Finca Cortesin or Valderrama but they charge much, much more and the proposition is completely different. They pamper you beyond requirement at Finca which is great but I'm hoping PGA doesn't take that route and doesn't exclude you and I from accessing this course on a regular basis which, currently seems very doable. It must also be said the Tour Course gave us much more enjoyment given how we were playing. Fun golf and less of an examination, less punishing but no pushover. I look forward to returning here and enjoying the excellent hospitality, friendly staff and world class Stadium course from the back tees. Golf game or no golf game in attendance. JCB LAY
November 09, 2013
8 / 10
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Jamie Hill
We played Stadium as a fourball on 21 October and again on 23 rd staying at the complex on a 3 day package. My first thoughts were that they had a lot of work to do to accommodate the Tour School in November and how disappointing it was to be denied the white and tiger tees on both days. In 2007 I had played it off the whites and remembered it as fierce. It is not off the tee of the day so I would check what tees will be available to you before travel. On our final day we were 2 h 45 m to the 8th with the course stacked. We had to cut and run for our plane. They did apologise in the clubhouse, blaming a tournament on the Tour course, but they are clearly "stacking them high" and the condition of the course reflected this. It is pleasant enough but I was left scratching my head as to how this course can be rated ahead of Valderrama, which quite frankly, as an experience and in terms of condition is in a completely different league.
October 30, 2013
4 / 10
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Hugh
October 30, 2013
It seems unreasonable to mark the Stadium course down largely based on pace of play and being unable to play from the back tees as many top clubs protect the tips for competition play. Something must have changed at PGA Catalunya as the review of 14 October suggests the course was empty and now it’s stacked out which is rather weird. As I’ve mentioned on a previous post on this site, I think that Spain has a number of courses that are superior to Valderrama, including its next door neighbor Royal Sotogrande and the underrated RSHE North and the Arriba at Royal Puerta de Hierro. I’ve not yet played the Stadium course but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s a better design than Valderrama.
Jamie Hill
November 04, 2013
In response to Hugh's comments. Thank you for your keen interest in a course you've yet to play. Valderrama, Sotogrande play tough off tee of the day whereas Stadium could be Stockley Park off the tee of the day. (no offence Stockley Park I actually used to enjoy the course before the driving range was inserted!) Furthermore, being there personally! on the day in question, the management were embarrassed about the problem they had created by putting so many groups out so close together. It was not a slow play problem it was an overbooking problem; they accepted the point. I just got the overall impression that the business was more important than the guests and that is never a great way to run a business.
Owen mills
Group of 6 of us played 36 holes august last year, the course was deserted and felt like it was closing down, fair enough it was low season but it was bizarre how quiet it was. The condition of the course was really poor, such a shame as many of the holes were real signature level, but i dont understand how it can be top 5 in europe, it really isnt that amazing... If you make sure to book into dinner at el cellar de can roca, down the road in girona, now that is an amazing place....
October 14, 2013
6 / 10
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David
This is a beautiful course laid out through the forests outside of Girona. The condition of the tees, fairways, greens and rough are unsurpassed for a public course. The course is very highly rated, but it is not for the over 18 handicapper. In my book, a great course should also be walkable and playable for all levels and this course isn't. The architecture makes the course very penal with many forced carries, even if they are not long. I never saw a yardage guide in the pro shop unfortunately as this would be a great addition, especially on the second hole where the fairway runs out at 250 yards.I advise you to take a cart as its is long, very undulating and with most tees being elevated to enhance the views, you are climbing on nearly every hole. The whole set up is superb, with one of the best practice areas and short game practice facilities that I have ever seen. Club house is laid back and the pro shop excellent. Bring plenty of balls and hope that the wind doesn't blow....
April 22, 2013
8 / 10
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Maciej Nachtlicht
The course itself is great - no doubt about it. However, the biggest problem was the NOISE. Some holes border the national road. The highway AP-7 is on the other side of the resort (touching the Stadium Course). There are planes taking off from the Girona Airport every few minutes and when I played the course there was a motorbike competition in the vicinity. Not a very nice mixture!
March 25, 2013
6 / 10
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Aidan Healey
Cracking course, visited here in October 2012 and was unfortunate to have some wet and windy weather. However it is simply an awesome course, very very long but the special thing about this course is that there is 8 or 9 world class holes! The condition of it wasn't as good as the tour course maybe because of the weather or the fact it is used more but for €50 euros playing the 2nd best course in Europe is unbelievable. The hole round atmosphere of the place was incredible, the pro was fantastic and gave us some very handy lessons, the practice facilities and range are mind blowing and as for the shop well don't forget your credit card! Every golf fan should play here and I wouldn't be surprised with the recent changes to the course seeing it host the Ryder Cup in the coming years!
November 24, 2012
10 / 10
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Thum
Played in August 2012 for the 2nd time. Fantastic course, every hole seems to be a great hole. Course really has a wow factor. Played twilight rate at 59 euros, including rental clubs (new Taylor made) incredible value. Challenging, beautiful simply a great golf course and a great o play. Course was very empty in the aft noon quite amazing considering the course, no 1 rating in Spain and the value. Course worth every trip no matter from where. Deserves its rating.
September 01, 2012
10 / 10
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Denis
September 25, 2012
I can only agree with everything said in the previous review, an absolute stunning course and super value for money.The Tour course is not bad either.
Andy Newmarch
I visited the Costa Brava for some golf in April 2011 and the Stadium course at PGA Catalunya was the highlight – in fact of the many hundreds of courses I have played around the world, this is one of the easiest 6-ball rankings that I have given. There is an obvious WOW factor here - this is a first class resort that is doing everything correctly on and off the course. The Stadium is a fantastically good looking course and each hole in its own right is a joy to play and the opening hole sets the scene early; elevated tee, dog-legging left and water protecting short and left of the green, just brilliant. PGA de Catalunya (Stadium) Golf Course - photo by reviewerThe 3rd is the first par-5 and with the green butting up against the lake, approach shot accuracy is needed. Another elevated drive is at the 4th and then an approach to a green not unlike the 17th at Valderrama. The 9th hole is the longest par-4 and also SI-1 – the approach is played across a valley to the trickiest green on the course; it doesn’t look that severe but trust me, the slope from right to left is there and with the greens running at 11.5, watch out. The par 5 12th hole has a very tough drive but if you get a decent shot away, then par is a comfortable score. Hole 13 is what maybe called the signature hole…another elevated tee on this par 4 but it is all about the approach; not quite an island green but water front, right and behind gives the hole a very daunting look. The last hole is a tough par 4, most will need a long approach and with five bunkers at the green, this is not easy but a nice finishing hole. The future for the resort should be bright as customer care is high, attention to detail is normal and the constant drive to keep improving the course is second nature. Some people are talking the course up and saying, Europe’s Augusta – well I am not sure about that but what I will say is that of all of the GB&I modern tree-lined courses that I have played, the Stadium course is in a different league – I cannot wait for the next set of Spanish and European rankings to be published as I think this will be pushing Valderrama now as the country’s best.
April 20, 2011
10 / 10
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