Real Puerta de Hierro (Abajo) - Central Spain - Spain

Real Club de la Puerta de Hierro,
Avda. de Miraflores s/n,
28035 Madrid,

  • +34 (0) 913 161 745

Established in 1895 in Madrid, Real Club de la Puerta de Hierro is one of the oldest, most traditional and most exclusive golf clubs in Spain. Six years after the club's formation, nine holes were ready for play at the Hippodrome la Castellana.

In 1907, fuelled by golf's growing popularity, a new course was laid out at Cuarenta Fanegasone, one kilometre from the Hippodrome, but the city's expansion forced the club to relocate in 1912 to a much larger site in the neighbourhood of Puerta de Hierro a few kilometres north west of Madrid city centre.

The club commissioned Harry Colt to lay out the first 18 holes, which were ready for play by 1914. Ten years later, Tom Simpson was called in for a remodel and in 1931 Colt was called back to make further changes. Interestingly, Tom Simpson lived at the club between 1946 and 1949, adding nine new holes to the original eighteen. In 1968 John Harris added a fourth nine and re-routed the holes to form today's 36-hole configuration.

The Abajo (Lower) course comprises of three holes (#1, #3 and #4) from Colt's original course, and a selection of others from both Tom Simpson and John Harris. In the late 1990s, Robert Trent Jones Junior (mainly executed by Kyle Phillips) renovated the Abajo, creating a lengthy, strategic and testing layout with trademark Valderrama-like white sand bunker complexes and large contoured greens throughout. In the new millennium, Phillips returned to the club to fashion a standalone 9-hole course called Buena Vista, which opened for play in 2018.

Like the Arriba course, the Abajo starts with a par three (one of four on the course) though a short hole here translates to at least 175 yards to the pin from the back tees at all the par threes. There is a particularly demanding run of six holes around the turn from the 7th to 12th holes. Two holes (8 and 11) are exacting par fives and the others are punishing par fours, each measuring between 440 and 470 yards.

Puerta de Hierro may not open its doors to the general golfing public (unless they are a guest of a member) but it has embraced the professional player over the years, hosting the Madrid Open nineteen times between 1972 and 1993. Incredibly, three men who each won three times – Seve Ballesteros, Manuel Pinero and Howard Clark – claimed almost half of those titles.

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Reviews for Real Puerta de Hierro (Abajo)

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Description: Real Club de la Puerta de Hierro is one of the most private golf clubs in Spain. The Arriba is one of Spain’s oldest courses but the Abajo, on the other hand, is much younger. Rating: 8 out of 10 Reviews: 4
Javier Pintos

There are some very special places and many will point some of the most exclusive like ANGC, Chicago GC, San Francisco GC, Seminole, Pine Valley, Cypress Point and many more in the USA and UK, but outside there some places are as exclusive and special to be even if the courses are not as great or renowned as the mentioned. Madrid has some great golf and I was able to prove it myself last week, of course not at the level as the World Top 20 but the Club House at Real Puerta de Hierro is something very unique and the courses are both very good, different from each other and certain contenders for the Spanish Top 10 or at the most 15.

After an early morning arrive, without hitting balls and in another cold morning (Madrid in winter is not hot at all!), we started the round in the demanding 1st hole playing 210yds to pin … there are for sure easier starts in golf for sure!

Puerta de Hierro (Iron Gate) has 2 different courses and they are named after their geographic location in the land where abajo, an original par 67 course, goes in the lower part of it closer to the highway and Arriba goes a little away from the road and has the highest holes on the course which is certainly not flat at all! And I faced the challenge walking all 36, it was a war!

Abajo is said to be the Championship Course and usually better ranked but I would not be that sharp when making my own point of view, they are both excellent and different from each other and need to absorb the golf a little bit more to say if I feel one was better than the other.

The first thing I need to point is that a course with greens playing firm, 12’ on the Stimp and with almost no flat spots on any green can’t be an easy one even if off the tee the challenge is not huge. This certainly is not an easy course, a layout where approach shots will not be easy at all and when missing there will be magic needed to get good chances of saving pars.

The front 9 don’t offer one single hole where you can say there is a good birdie chance except par 5 8th where your tee shot could roll 60-70yds but you need to avoid the right cross bunker (I didn’t!!). Then back 9 can be a little friendlier to scoring with a couple of short par 4s like 15-16-18, both reachable par 5s and where par 3s are not impossible even long 17th with a drop from the tee to the green of not less than 20m.

A certain Championship Course but a definitely Top Notch Experience which followed by lunch at the terrace facing both 1st tees and a round at Arriba plus a Toured Guide of the Club House that has to be one of the most special in Europe with no doubt!

March 14, 2022
8 / 10
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Golf Holes Spain

It is by far one of the greatest courses in Spain and just 5 minutes away from the city center. Problaby not taken too much into considaration due to its extremely private and members only policy.

Always in perfect shape, with really fast greens. The views to the Madrid mountains, and the new skyscpapers from the 7th tee are wonderful.

February 17, 2017
10 / 10
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3 people found this review helpful

The review below is inaccurate. It’s the Arriba course at Royal Puerta de Hierro that was a Colt design. The Abajo is a completely new design from the late 1990’s and an excellent new course it is too. IMO it’s one of the best courses in Spain with the Arriba equally good. In fact, I would go as far as to say that this the best 36 hole facility in Iberia and an average rating is misleading in the extreme.
November 22, 2010
10 / 10
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4 people found this review helpful

Juan C
November 04, 2021

The Abajo course is a full re-design of RTJ Jr and Kyle Phillips in the late 1990s but keep some holes of Harry Colt and T. Simpson designs. Routing of 36 hole facility was made by Harris. Fully agree is the best 36 hole facility in Iberia.

paul turner
This was once a classic Colt/Simpson course. Why did Kyle Philips (working for Trent Jnr) try and make it look like Valderrama?
August 27, 2007
4 / 10
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2 people found this review helpful