Real Sotogrande - Southern Spain - Spain

Real Club de Golf Sotogrande,
Paseo del Parque,
11310 Sotogrande,
Cádiz,
Spain


  • +34 (0)956 785 014

  • Agustin Mazarrasa

  • Robert Trent Jones

  • Manuel Ocaña


Visit Golfbreaks.com for a golf holiday at Sotogrande

It is very rare to find a golf course on the Spanish Costa del Sol that was constructed 40 years ago and even rarer, that after four decades, it still provides a stern test to even the best golfers. Both are true of the Real Club de Golf Sotogrande.

Back in 1964, Sotogrande was a largely uninhabited area just north of Gibraltar, with only a few pockets of population located in a few country estates. An American citizen, Joseph McMicking, who lived in the Philippines, visited the area and could see the land's great potential, with its excellent weather, wonderful mix of countryside and proximity to the stunning coastline. In that same year he initiated what is now regarded as one of the best developed residential and tourism areas in Europe and its first golf course: Real Club de Golf Sotogrande.

Opened in 1964, the course was designed by Robert Trent Jones. It was his first European course, and it is a credit to the man and his design that the par 72, 6,224-metre layout is still enthralling players after all these years. Sotogrande is a private members' club, which maintains an air of calm and restrained sophistication, whilst at the same time providing a warm welcome to visitors. The clubhouse is well designed and elegant, the food and drink excellent and well presented, and the changing rooms large with showers to die for.

Between 1998 and 2001, Sotogrande was used for European Tour Qualifying Finals and its class, quality and reputation are recognised globally. In Sotogrande's 30th year, it was awarded royal status. The challenge that awaits every golfer at Sotogrande was well summed up by the designer, Trent Jones, when he once described a golf course as a battleground: players attack the course and it is the architect's obligation to defend it. This he has achieved wonderfully at this Spanish masterpiece.

Every hole requires the player to plan his attack with care and execute the shots successfully to escape the many strategically placed bunkers and water hazards. The fairways appear wide and the semi-rough is Augusta-like in its appearance, but stray from the short stuff and the wonderful cork, eucalyptus, pine, oak and palm trees – which line almost every fairway – will make life and making par very difficult. Only when the ball drops into the hole will the golfer be able to relax. The putting surfaces are expertly shaped and contoured and they are all wonderfully maintained, making them fast and true all year round.

Holes to look out for include the 4th, a wonderfully difficult 202-metre par three with a wickedly sloping green. The 7th is a cracking par four measuring 381 metres with a narrow green and water guarding the right side so it's a tough proposition. Holes 12 to 14 and 16 to 18 are all tough, featuring well-placed water hazards. It's quite a finishing stretch.

To help the golfer at Sotogrande, always remember that most of the greens are elevated and that a lot of the slopes in the fairways are very subtle but not insignificant, so make sure to take enough club for the distance, and then take one more.

The course underwent a massive upgrade in 2015-16 which was completed by Roger Rulewich and David Fleury in two stages to allow members the use of one nine at all times. Putting surfaces had grown by up to 40% of their original size over time so green shapes were fully recovered, with sub air systems installed to ensure their optimum performance. Fairways and tees were also reconstructed, using 41,000 kilometres of drainage, 71,000 tonnes of sand and 37 hectares of Bermuda grass.


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Reviews for Real Sotogrande

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Description: Sotogrande was designed by Robert Trent Jones. It was his first European course, and it is a credit that the par 72, 6,224-metre layout is still enthralling players... Rating: 5.2 out of 6 Reviews: 14

As it was the first European design of Robert Trent Jones back in the mid-1960s, Sotogrande enjoys an undeniable architectural significance. The course is laid out on a massive scale, with fairways routed in an old-fashioned out and back style and water in play at most of the holes on the back nine – indeed, there’s more than a hint of Florida on these palm-fringed holes which occupy rather uninspiring, flatter terrain.

Real Sotogrande Golf Course - Photo by reviewer

The recurring raised green theme with bunkers either side of the putting surface might wear you down after a while, especially if you find yourself in the greenside sand too often, because recovery shots from these hazards to greens stimping around the 12 mark certainly test your short game to the very limits.

The downhill par four 7th is probably the best hole on the front nine, the approach shot played downhill to a green that’s protected by a pond all along its right side, with bunkers in front and to the left of the putting surface. Trees also circle the back left portion of the greensite, making this one of the most photogenic holes on the card (pictured here).

The short par four 11th was my favourite on the back nine, playing sharply uphill to a back to front tilted green, before the routing drops holes down to level ground at the 12th, where water then dominates on half a dozen of the remaining holes, bringing a cape tee shot (at the 14th) and peninsula greens (at the 13th and 17th) right into play.

There’s no doubt the recent multi-million-euro renovation of this course has breathed new life into a layout that should now be fit for purpose for another fifty years. With nearby Valderamma also undergoing a recent Kyle Phillips upgrade and a second course planned for that particular venue, these are exciting times for upmarket golf facilities in this part of the Costa del Sol.

Jim McCann

5 / 6
Real Sotogrande
April 02, 2017


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I had the pleasure of playing this course a few times over the last couple of years with a friend who is a overseas member. This is very much a members club with the staff being very efficient & helpful, the practice rage is first class with either matt or grass to hit off. The course has been having major work done to it over the last year but in my mind it was top notch before that with fairways & greens to rival any top club in the land. The holes are laid out over a great piece of land with the course winding its way through trees & some fantastic homes, I know that some people don’t like this kind of thing when playing golf but I like to see how the other half live!The 7th holes is a real gem with a tee shot that should be hit with a draw to a fairway which drops down steeply then your 2nd shot is to a green with water on the right & bunkers on the left and no real bale out. The par 3’s are very tough with the 17th being an island green if you make par on all of them then you have played very well. You must be hitting the ball well to score here as the ball will not roll out for yards as this place is kept green & lush. All in all if you get the chance to play here I would say give it a go. (Handicap 1)
5 / 6
Real Sotogrande
November 23, 2015


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Wonderful course. Played there in September 2014 and even though unfortunately half of the fairways were completely burned as they were planting new grass, I really enjoyed the experience (even though a little discount would have been appreciated rather than a not really needed complimentary buggy). Definitely more enjoyable than the more famous Valderrama. Many beautiful holes with great villas overlooking the fairways. Don't miss it if you are in the area.
5 / 6
Real Sotogrande
December 29, 2014


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In my top 10 of courses played - old style design but that makes it better. A must play course.
6 / 6
Real Sotogrande
August 07, 2013


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Real Sotogrande is maybe the best Club in the area. Some will say Valderrama, San Roque or Finca cortesin are better courses, I would not surely agree on that. Valderrama has maybe some of the best maintenance in the world, Finca has great views and fantastic greens while San Roque has great tradition, but as a golf course in my opinion this Sotogrande Golf Course - Photo by reviewerjewel from RTJ is the best of all of them, ormaybe the one I like most to play. The Club is set just meters away from the Sotogrande Bay and shows maybe the highest end members of the country. Once you arrive, despite not being a member, you are treated like one of them, as the Club values its visitors very much. The practice facility ... ufff, some great grass, fast putting green and very wide chipping areas. The course is that course that good golfers will really enjoy: strategy, cleverness, ball striking and good decisions are needed to score, but it is not an impossible course to post a decent round. Some great golf holes like 5th, 7th (my favourite), 11th, 14th, 15th and 18th. But once you finish the round is not over, a good lunch and take a shot at the par 3 course, excellent kept and a lot of fun, with 2 long holes (220 and 250yds) and some great 110-140yds par 3s. A visit that will pay every euro from the minute you arrive. and take a good look at the proshop, the already have the apparel for the 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles.
6 / 6
Real Sotogrande
June 11, 2013


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Real Sotogrande is one of those Golf Clubs that when visited show you not only a great golf course, a very charming Club House but also a lot of tradition, honor, respect and all those things that make this sport so special. Once in the Club, I was able to see in the boards along the path very famous winners such as Rory, Gonzalo F.Castaño, Sergio Garcia and a lot more that show you what space this Club occupies in the History of golf in Spain. Sotogrande Golf Course - Photo by reviewerI was invited by the General Manager and after a short meeting I played the venue with a former Club Champion, which is a real priviledge. The course reminds me a lot of Valderrama, taking into account the piece of land is quite similar and the features RT Jones used to have are also shown in this course. There are many great golf holes, strategic shots and a lot of brain to be used if you want to score. Maintenance is at the highest level, fairways were like carpets and greens were rolling really very fast despite having had aireation 2 weeks before. I believe it is a course that if played a second time in the same trip, will give you a really good option to score well. In some holes the unkowledge makes you pay with some strokes, you have to carry the yardage book and think very well before every shot. One more thing: missing the green in the wrong side can cause really high numbers. When thinking of the best holes I have to say 7 and 10 are excellent and challenging, long and with a very tough approach shot ( I bogeyed both of them from the centre of the fairway!). So, if planning a trip to Spain, make sure you dont miss this one!
6 / 6
Real Sotogrande
June 18, 2012


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for me Sotogrande is a very special course and i play it as often as i possibly can. It is the perfect antidote to modern 7500+yd course where the only subtlety is what sort of driver you use. This was a work of genius by Trent Jones and has stood the test of time amazingly well. one reviewer here talks about ordinary holes including the !st. at 340m or so it looks easy enough but i have watched the European Amateur team championships that are played here and seen players practically reach the green and take 5 to get down. TJ understood that there are lots of different ways to get to a golfer and its not just length or double dogs legs or 230 yard carries. by far the most beautiful course i have ever played (and i have played many of the top 100 in the world) it is also a test of good golf. you may not lose many balls (although the possibility is there) but you have to hit the ball very well to score. few people very play to there handicap here. if you get the opportunity to play here, jump at it.
6 / 6
Real Sotogrande
September 17, 2010


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Played in Oct.2009. Very nice scenery with some mix of open holes and narrow holes, long holes and short holes. Enjoyed very much.
4 / 6
Real Sotogrande
June 21, 2010


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I am consistently amazed at how highly ranked Sotogrande is in this as well as other surveys (having played it now four times) - it may have something to do with the fact that it's one of the oldest courses on this busy golfing coast (founded in 1964), with a huge membership compared to the other courses (1,000+ vs 100s). It's also unusual in terms of having a large Spanish membership rather than merely ex-pats. Put simply the flat holes around the various lakes on the course are incredibly ordinary holes (numbers 1, 12, 13, 16, 17, 18). To have two par threes at 200 yards + ranked stroke index 1 & 3 respectively does'nt work either (why not shorten them and move the yellows forward?!). The other two par threes are so similar as to be be unmemorable. In between there are some cracking holes - but not enough to make this course No 3 in Spain. I suggest the reviewers who rate it, try some others that should rate more highly in my opinion eg San Roque old, Finca Cortesin, La Reserva etc etc etc.
4 / 6
Real Sotogrande
February 21, 2010


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Sotogrande definitely feels mature compared to some other courses in the area. RTJ design, yes of course, but much fewer fairway bunkers than many of his other creations. Greens were very good to putt on. Don't know if that's usual, but the surrounds of the greens had no grass on them, or rather they had dead brown grass, that as a result didn't hold the ball at all, enhancing the necessity to be precise on approach shots. As most of the greens are elevated, you are likely to find your ball a good distance below it if your strike is not perfect. Again, I don't know if it is a normal look for this course, and the not too friendly staff was gone by the time I had finished my round to enquire about that. All of the holes were quite memorable, especially from the 4th on, apart from the opening par 4 which is in my opinion a bit weak. The big surrounding houses are never too close to the course, which is good. Definitely a great course, liked La Reserva better though, in a totally different style. Cedric
5 / 6
Real Sotogrande
June 10, 2009


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