RACE- Real Automóvil Club de España - Central Spain - Spain

Club de Golf Race,
RACE Sports Complex,
Avenida de Guadalix,
28707 Ciudalcampo,
San Sebastián de los Reyes,

  • +353 91 657 00 11

The Real Automóvil Club de España sports club (RACE) is situated on the outskirts of Madrid, in the foothills of Sierra Norte, where a large campus boasts an 18-hole golf course and a 9-hole practice layout, twenty-four tennis courts (eight of them floodlit), four swimming pools (one indoor), twelve padel courts, a football pitch, a basketball court, a hockey field and one of Europe’s best horse riding rings.

As if all that sporting activity wasn’t enough, the Jarama motor racing circuit sits to the south of the property, first opening for business in 1967, which was the same year that the Javier Arana-designed 18-hole course debuted. The former home of the Spanish Grand Prix, with the race held here on nine occasions between 1968 and 1981, the Jarama track remains an iconic motor racing venue.

The Marquis of Jura Real sold six hundred hectares of the Pasadilla property to RACE in the early 1960s, with the club intending to build houses as a means to funding the development of a major country club and motor racing circuit. Designer Arana drew up plans for two 18-hole layouts, though he eventually staked out twenty-seven holes, eighteen of which were actually built, despite a reputed last minute bid by architect John Harris to take over the project.

The following edited extract is from “The golf courses of Javier Arana” by Alfonso Erhardt Ybarra and is reproduced here with kind permission by the author:

Originally, the layout stood in the middle of the countryside, within beautiful rolling open woodland – known as dehesa – adorned by scattered holm oaks and giving a sense of immense spaciousness. Many of the holes were visible from the upper vantage points of the course and the Guadarrama mountain range provided an enveloping scenic backdrop. Since it first opened, the routing has remained unchanged, but the character of the place has changed through the gradual disappearance of the holm oaks on the fairways and their edges.

RACE possessed another valuable strategic trait, which has been eroded by the progress of watering techniques: the effect of fairway tilt after the drive has hit the ground. Maintenance in the 1960s was far more primitive than it is now. Fairways were far less watered, which made them much firmer and faster, so the folds of the ground amplified the bounce and roll of the ball. Arana used the rolling terrain to lay a number of holes on hillsides tilting left, favouring a fade from the tee. Curiously, this preference for a specific shape of shot is not present in other Arana designs.

The greens are not particularly complicated in shape, and exhibit the tiers that Arana was so fond of. The main difficulty offered by the greens at RACE is that twelve of them are perched higher than the fairway and only the pin is visible. The gradients are not particularly severe but approach shots are afflicted by the additional uncertainty that surrounds an elevated target. In keeping with the Arana style, sand traps are generally large, but around the greens they have lost their sand faces, which makes them less visible from afar and so undermines their forbidding aspect.

In general, it would be true to assert that the RACE golf course is less subtle than other Arana designs, particularly when compared to El Saler, which he was creating at the same time. However, the course exhibits all of Javier’s hallmarks: par 72, dogleg holes, fairways defended by trees rather than sand traps, a par three at the 17th, two mid-length par threes and two long par threes. Even today RACE holds undisputed appeal, particularly for long hitters who can enjoy what by contemporary standards are unusually wide fairways.

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Description: The Real Automóvil Club de España sports club (RACE) is situated on the outskirts of Madrid, in the foothills of Sierra Norte, where a large campus boasts an 18-hole golf course and a 9-hole practice layout... Rating: 7.5 out of 10 Reviews: 2

As a member, I may not be very impartial.

18 holes designed by Javier Arana, stunning sierra de Guadarrama views.

Very pleasent to play but challenging as well.

Worth to be played.

July 17, 2022
8 / 10
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Javier Pintos

The Course at Jarama just by the former F1 track was the final leg of this demanding Tour where my friends Brian and Jim also added before my arrival Real Hípica (both Courses) and Club de Campo Villa de Madrid which also included a visit to Santiago Bernabeu to watch a fantastic comeback from the local team against PSG and some very good food in some fine Restaurants around the area.

It was not as cold as the previous days but rain was there almost for the entire round and this of course took some quality off the ride and of the picture I took but certainly not from the course which is one of Javier Arana’s finest creations. A very nice Club House which gave us a nice lunch and chill out time before taking the train back completed a fantast stretch of courses which certainly deserve a higher ranking and consideration.

As of all the other venues played, it is not flat and would have not been the easiest walk if not raining even with tees being quite close from the previous green in a classic feature from old school designs.

Have to say that there was balance in toughness of both loops, with front 9 having some good birdie chances on 1st, 2nd, 7th (but a short approach could roll back 40yds) and 8th finishing with a par 3 which has some trees in the line of the shot but not certainly in play.

After a gentle 10th, 11th is definitely the best chance on the back 9 before tough 12th and 13th and again a good chance on par 5 14th. I found quite strange 16th to be stroke index 1 as it is not long but an uphill approach with bunkers in front will be a tough test for medium and short hitter which then lead to a long tough 17th and uphill 18th where again uphill approach demands a very good and precise shot.

Course maintain in good shape, greens very well kept and even not as quick as Puerta de Hierro or La Moraleja, not easy at all.

Trip over, back home and certainly sure Madrid offers a very nice destination not only in Private Course but also in public ones. There is some good golf out there, grab your clubs and go play!

March 14, 2022
7 / 10
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