The 9-hole course at Real Golf Club de Zarauz was inaugurated in 1916 with the visit of King Alfonso XIII and Queen Maria Cristina on 31st July of that year, making it the fourth oldest golfing layout in the country.
According to Roland Machenaud’s book Pays Basque Terre de Golf , the club operates this 9-hole track on a tiny parcel of links land that extends to no more than 35 acres next to the Playa de Zarauz beach on the Cantabrian coast.
The author calls it “a little gem carved by an unknown between sea and mountain… the sandy soil allows you to play it all year round without any problem.” He describes it as “an arid desert of sand and grass [with] a total absence of water obstacles [on] a minimalist architectural site rarely encountered.”
In order to fit nine holes into this sandy enclosure, the par three 1st plays across the par four 6th and the left doglegged 9th requires a tee shot over both the 7th and 8th fairway before an approach shot can be made to the home green in front of the clubhouse.
It really is a delightful place to play golf, where nothing much has changed in over a hundred years, and the old-fashioned crossing fairways – which are obviously frowned upon as health and safety hazards in these modern times – merely add to the charm of Zarauz.