This course sucks, it deserves a half ball mark. Now, seriously, - the course is the best I have ever been happy enough to play and here is WHY (in no special order): The course is beautiful: yes, it looks like a magic forest from a fairy tale in sun light. The perfect, emerald green fairways are outlined by olive and cork trees which look 100s year old, and in fact I suppose they are. The atmosphere on the course can be described by two words - peace and serenity. - the piece of land on which the course was built is a perfect example of extraordinary golfing terrain. Look at your typical golf course - it is (depending on the location) either hilly/mountainous or flat. Not so at Valderrama - the terrain is perfectly undulated and ideal for golf, the way golf should be. Most guys nowadays tend to forget that a golf course shouldn't look like a lawn tennis court, nor should it resemble the FIS ski piste (ok, I am exaggerating it here but a ski piste anyway). What should it be like then?,- will you ask. The answer is go to Valderrama and have a look. - the course layout/architecture. The masterpiece of Trent Jones Sr. - and this says it all.
Want more details - here you are. Every hole has a strategical merit to it, every hole is fair and true (more on this later), every hole is at least a VERY GOOD golf hole and some are perfect (no.4, 17 to name a couple). Risk and reward - you have it here, accuracy on every shot - check up. - conditioning of the course. Great. The tee-boxes and rough are just good but the fairways are better than greens at most resorts and the greens are flat out perfect (more on that later).
The first thing you'll notice is that there are no divots on the fairways. Every flight is accompanied by a group of staffers who are repairing all the damage after each and every shot. The surface of the fairway looks so thick that it is unbelievable, like one meter thick. The fringes are like greens, running at about 8 on the stimpmeter, well, seriously. The greens are at about good 10-10,5. - the course is FAIR and TRUE. The fairest course I have ever played - if you make an excellent shot you will be golden, that is you'll have the best position for your next shot, if you hit a good shot - you'll have a good position for your next shot, if you hit an OK shot - your position will be OK, the bad shot will provide you with a bad lie and bad position and the very bad one - figure it out yourself. And this simple rule always works on Valderrama no matter what.
The greens are also FAIR and TRUE- they look flat and have only minor slopes and breaks but they all work. While during my visit the greens were not that lightning quick and were pretty receptive in fact, they were still a big challenge in the best sense of word. Make a good putt and you'll be there, make a bad one and you're missing. All in all, Valderrama is an outstanding golf facility and every true lover of the game should come here and enjoy it.
PS.: Some guys like to speak about "other golf courses" which are almost the same as Valderrama but way cheaper. They also say that Valderrama is not all that different from a course X or Y. Do not listen to those fellows. Comparing the course like Valderrama to ANY ordinary course and talking about minor differences is like comparing a Bentley or Rolls Royce to Hyundai stating that they are pretty similar because they both have four wheels. Golf is all about those peculiarities and tiny things and if you can not understand this and appreciate the outstanding beauty of Valderrama you better choose another sport. If a course is among world's best it is there for a good reason.
Date: October 29, 2009