Spain is the original and arguably the best package holiday destination. It’s synonymous with Europeans who are hell bent on sun, sangria and holiday homes, yet Spain has so much more to offer with wonderful architecture, food and wine.
With more than 50 million visitors each year, it is no surprise to hear that Spain is still one of Europe’s premier golfing destinations and also one of the first European countries to successfully market the “package golf holiday” making life so very pleasant and easy for foreign visitors.
We divide Spain into seven regions, allowing us to feature more than 150 of the nation’s top tracks. Five of these regions are located on the mainland, with the other two situated in the Balearic Islands and Canary Islands. It’s fair to say a large number of these courses are modern, resort-style layouts that have been created in the last fifty years but golf in Spain goes back quite a lot further, in fact.
The oldest club in Spain is Real Club de Golf de Las Palmas in Gran Canaria, founded in 1891, though the club moved to a new site in the mid-1950s so the current course isn’t that old. Real Club de la Puerta de Hierro in Madrid, founded in 1896, owns arguably the best 36-hole golf facility in the country but, like many of the golf facilities around the capital, it’s a very private club and non-member access isn’t easy to arrange.
Architect Javier Arana is not well known outside (or even inside) Spain but he’s one of the most important golfing figures to emerge in the country after World War II. He only ever built ten courses during a 30-year design career but those layouts have collectively hosted more than 100 elite amateur and professional competitions since the mid-1950s, including more than 20 Spanish Opens and 60 national and international amateur events.
American Robert Trent Jones Sr. has had an even greater influence on golf design in the country, certainly in Andalusia, where he fashioned an iconic course at Real Sotogrande in the early 1960s. Real Las Brisas and Los Naranjos soon followed, together with another layout named Los Aves, which later became Real Valderrama. Dozens of modern courses have been unveiled along the southern coastline in the decades since then, attracting both golfing tourists and big professional tournaments.
According to KPMG’s Golf Participation Report for Europe 2019, Spain had 269,470 people registered with the Royal Spanish Golf Federation in 2018, comprising 63% male, 24% female and 13% junior golfers. They play on 345 courses on the mainland, the Balearic and Canary Islands, with a quarter of these layouts configured as 9-hole courses and two thirds laid out as 18-hole courses.
We last updated our Top 100 Golf Courses of Spain rankings in January 2020. Click the link to read the story.