Formed in 1929, Real Club de Golf Cerdaña approached architect Javier Arana to create a new 9-hole course for the club in 1946, just four years after members had designed and laid out nine holes with sand greens on a newly leased plot of land.
As this was the first course Arana would design from scratch, he consulted with Tom Simpson on the best routing for the layout, drawing sketches of his proposals for every hole and every green which he then sent to his esteemed mentor for review.
The course eventually opened for play in July of 1948 and, incredibly, it hosted the Spanish Open only two years later, an event won by Argentinean professional Antonio Cerdá, who then finished second to Max Faulkner in the Open at Royal Portrush the following year.
Arana’s original layout – comprising the Verde 1st to 3rd, 5th , 6th , 8th , 11th, 12th and 18th – remained in play until 1955, when he was asked to add another three holes (the present 4th, 9th and 10th) and move the tee on the 5th hole.
Four more holes (13 – 16) were added a couple of years later but Arana refused to complete the 18-hole course because there wasn’t enough land in his opinion to build the final two holes (7 and 17) so they were constructed by staff from the club in the summer of 1957.
The following edited extract is from “The golf courses of Javier Arana” by Alfonso Erhardt Ybarra and is reproduced here with kind permission from the author:
The Real Club de Golf Cerdaña bought the freehold of its premises in 1963 and has since undertaken quite a few enlargements – a practice course, nine additional holes and a multipurpose sports area – all of which has entrenched the reputation of one of Spain’s oldest clubs.
It nestles in a beauty spot, amid gently rolling hills with stunning views of the Pyrenees; this lends it a distinctive scenic backdrop of its own that no other course in Spain can match.
In 1982, when King Juan Carlos I was on a visit, he asked the then president of the Royal Spanish Golf Federation, Luis Figueras-Dotti: ‘Why had nobody told me there was such a pretty golf course at Puigcerdà?’
It was sixty years ago that Arana first set foot on the Mas de Aransó property, and the moorland he saw then has, over time, become a lush forest through which his first design threads its way.
The unassuming Javier probably did not imagine that his work was to draw praise from golf players and enthusiasts so long into the future. But, thanks to his thoughtful and sensitive design, the lack of length is more than made up for by the attractive character he bestowed on each hole. The experience of playing this fascinating layout can leave no golfer unmoved.
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