Real Valderrama - Southern Spain - Spain

Real Club Valderrama,
11310 Sotogrande,
Prov de Cadiz,
Spain


  • +34 (0) 956 791 200


Valderrama played host to the 1997 Ryder Cup matches between the USA and Europe. Team Captains were Tom Kite (US) and Seve Ballesteros (Europe). The first Ryder Cup to be hosted on mainland Europe was a tale of Europe’s five rookies who produced an impressive performance in the pairs during the first two days, giving Europe a five-point lead going into the singles. The US rallied during the final day, winning the singles 8-4, but it came down to the last match between Colin Montgomerie and Scott Hoch which ended in a halve after Monty sportingly conceded Hoch’s 15-footer on the final green. Europe 14 ½ - USA 13 ½. The Ryder Cup was played at Oak Hill in 1995 and at the Country Club, Brookline in 1999.

Everybody has heard about Valderrama “the Augusta of Europe” but its success is really down to Jaime Ortiz-Patino and a few of his golfing mates. In 1985, the industrialist billionaire bought what was then a fairly average course. He then spent an absolute fortune on it and now it’s one of the best courses in the world.

In 1975 Robert Trent Jones first laid out the course, which was originally known as Los Aves. It is located prominently on a hill above the old Andalucian village of Sotogrande. The layout remained relatively anonymous until 1985 when Jamie and his mates recalled Trent Jones to subtly reshape Valderrama and the club has not looked back since.

Many golfers will be familiar with Valderrama from TV coverage. The club has hosted a plethora of championships, including the Volvo Masters and the legendary 1997 Ryder Cup, which saw a narrow one point European victory under the captaincy of none other than Seve Ballesteros.

The closing holes are always described as tough with a capital “T” but if you choose your tee sensibly from the off, it’s an eminently playable course for golfers of most abilities (the maximum handicap allowed at Valderrama is 24 for men 32 for ladies). The 17th hole is naturally the most memorable. It’s called Los Gabiones and was once just a long par five until the water was installed just in front of the green. Now it’s a question of shall we lay up or should we go for it?

Despite the fact that Valderrama is an elite private members club, visitors can still obtain the key to the first tee. It’s certainly not the cheapest green fee in Europe but, because Valderrama is never overplayed, it’s always in tip-top condition. Valderrama is also completely in tune with nature. Apart from Loch Lomond, it’s is the only other European golf club to be awarded full Audubon status (Audubon's mission is to conserve and restore natural ecosystems). Play Valderrama and prepare to be impressed… very impressed.

Jaime Ortiz-Patino, the owner and honorary president at Valderrama, died in a hospital in Marbella in January 2013. The legendary figure played a key role in bringing the 1997 Ryder Cup to Spain. “Valderrama is his masterpiece, his legacy,” commented Jose-Maria Olazabal. “He wanted to make it a very special place, and he did it. He put Valderrama and that part of Andalucia on the map.”

In June 2014, Ortiz-Patino would have been extremely proud. A few days before his abdication, His Majesty King Juan Carlos of Spain, granted Valderrama the Royal title. Club de golf Valderrama was duly renamed to Real Club Valderrama. Four years later, the club completed an extensive renovation programme which has completely transformed the course.

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Reviews for Real Valderrama

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Description: Most golfers will be familiar with Valderrama from TV coverage. The golf club has hosted a plethora of championships, including the legendary 1997 Ryder Cup. In 2014 the club was granted Royal status. Rating: 9 out of 10 Reviews: 46
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Tim Gorman
I have played round Valderrama 10 times and I always have some difficulty in describing the experience. As with Loch Lomond one has the 'experience' of being a guest who is tolerated and expected to be wowed, both have friendly staff and Derek Brown at Valde is easy-going. Of the two Valde wins hands-down on the golf front.

Everyone who has played here would agree the conditioning of the course is beyond reproach. I have not played on greens that are consistently as quick, frankly they are terrifying. The course has the smallest greens on tour and the surrounding rough is very tough. This coupled with the sloping on the greens, the tight driving lines created by the subtle dog-legs and tree-lined fairways and its length, make this the most unremittingly difficult inland course I have or I am likely to play. 20 points stableford with full allowance is a hell of a good round here. What I need is a solid week playing this course to exorcise the demons, with Dr Bob Rotella on my bag... Tim Gorman
February 27, 2009
10 / 10
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Malcolm Searle
Played Valderrama recently, the staff are helpful to a fault, the greens were fast and slick, the fairways were wider and more forgiving than I expected. I expect it's very different when they're lined with spectators.There were probably more green keepers than golfers on the course the day we played, and so the place was in fantastic condition. It's a beautiful, mature setting, loads of cork oak trees under which I seemed to spend a lot of time looking for my ball, but I had a great day and it's worth the money (once) to have the experience.
July 02, 2008
8 / 10
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Billy

Valderrama is a bit like the "The Emperor's New Clothes", the golfing media seem to rate this as either the best (or second best) course in Continental Europe in fear of being considered stupid and unfit for their job. For those who like, and perhaps follow the Robert Trent Jones Trail, then I am sure they will love the experience and laud it. Personally I am pleased to have played here but there are better courses on mainland Europe and better courses even on the Costa del Sol. Let’s get the positives out of the way before I mention a few of the negatives... the greens were fabulous and putted well and so they should… no more than 50 people usually play the course on any given day. The course is fair and not tricked up (apart from the odd tree in the middle of the fairway) but the majority of holes are only slightly above average and there are at least a couple of weak holes, especially some of the par threes. Sure the 17th is an interesting hole and has seen some action (as has the 18th at the Belfry) but it's out of character with the rest of the course. Frankly there are too few great holes in my humble view. By all means, cough up the €275 per round to play here but don’t expect to play a truly great golf course and perhaps you won’t come away feeling as disappointed as I did.

June 14, 2008
6 / 10
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Max
June 10, 2009
So which are the better courses on the Costa Del Sol...pray tell!!
Billy
June 16, 2009
Think La Reserva is a better compete package and Sotogrande is the best designed course on the Costa del Sol. With some money and a few tweaks to a few holes, Malaga could be a better course than Valderrama too. 
faisal
If you want to play the great golf courses around the world, you have to play this. Its expensive (very), historic (very very) and a great experience. Your golf game is fully tested no doubt.
July 16, 2007
10 / 10
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robert honeyball
I played this great course earlier this year and was not disappointed. The condition was quite unbelievable, there were greenkeepers on their hands and knees manicuring the fairways! It would be hard to pick a favourite hole because there are no weak ones, but the last 4 are pretty special. Pricey, but this aint a dress rehearsal.
November 14, 2006
10 / 10
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Andrew Taylor
I was lucky enough to play Valderrama a couple of years ago when a friend & I had a week's holiday, staying at San Roque. Valderrama is simply stunning and everything we had heard was true. Often we build the great courses up in and minds and they cannot live up to our expectations - Valderrama certainly does and more. During our holiday, we regularly ran into 2 other groups of golfers who were playing similar courses to us, in a different order. So whenever we saw each other, we would compare notes. One group played Valderrama the day before we were due. We asked them "is it as good as they say? What about the condidtion?" One of the group told us a story, where he reached what he thought to be the first green. His caddy asked, "what club would you like?" "Well a putter I should think," our new friend replied, "since I'm on the green - the last thing I want to do is, play a bump and run and risk taking a divot out of a green." "You're not on the green," the cadie advised, "the green is 30 yards that way!!" The day after we played, they were due to dig the greens up, becasue they were not happy with them!! That's how high standards are at Valderrrama.
July 07, 2006
10 / 10
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