Real Sotogrande - Southern Spain - Spain

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


  • +34 (0)956 785 014


It is very rare to find a golf course on the Spanish Costa del Sol that was constructed more than 50 years ago and even rarer, that after five 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 more than 50 years after it first opened. Rating: 8.4 out of 10 Reviews: 18
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BRIAN MOSS
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.
September 17, 2010
10 / 10
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Alex Westenfield
Played in Oct.2009. Very nice scenery with some mix of open holes and narrow holes, long holes and short holes. Enjoyed very much.
June 21, 2010
6 / 10
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Reg Hoare
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.
February 21, 2010
6 / 10
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Cédric
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
June 09, 2009
8 / 10
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Phil Bonsall
A good course, but surely not the 2nd best course in Spain. Always in good condition, but relatively easy and not that challenging. I am a pro, but I played here with a mate of mine who has been off 16 handicap forever, and he knocked it round in 77 gross from the white tees. Too easy to be a truly great course. There are so many good courses in Spain, and many, especially PGA Catalunya are a lot better in many ways.
September 25, 2008
6 / 10
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Martin
Excellent course in magnificent condition. A pleasure to play for all golfers. Pros may find it a little easy as not a long course, with quite generous driving areas and little rough. But a real thinking course, where each hole takes consideration and shot shaping, Approaches to greens require extra care.3 putts are inevitable, on some of the best greens you are likely to play.
February 05, 2008
10 / 10
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robert honeyball
I loved this course and found it as enjoyable to play as nearby Valderrama. Due to its age it had a more established feel than most courses on the Sol, with the wide inviting fairways firm and immaculate underfoot. A wonderfully inviting driving course that is not too intimidating off the tee,however it is the fast sloping greens that present the courses biggest defence,easily the toughest i have putted on. There were two really strong par 3's on the front nine and two exciting par5's around a lake on the back nine that stick in my mind ,these being characteristics that i've seen on other Trent Jones courses built during the sixties and seventies.This course has a wonderfull feel to it,if you can secure a tee time it is a must play.
November 14, 2006
10 / 10
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Simon Haines
Flat (Unusual for this part of the world) and always in excellent condition, Soto is a pleasure to play. Not that difficult, even off the back tees, it's a fair test of golf.
July 17, 2006
8 / 10
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