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Sotogrande Region – where golfing quality runs deep

21 June, 2017
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Sotogrande Region – where golfing quality runs deep

Golf in Spain has a strong history and the sport has been incredibly popular for many years now. When I’m asked which part of the country has the best collection of courses, I find it’s always a very difficult question to respond to. However, after my recent visit to the Sotogrande region of the country, arranged through GMSGolf, I think I now have my answer, based on the quality courses found within this area.

Established as a golfing destination in Andalucía during the early 1960s, Sotogrande now boasts some of the very best courses and resort destinations that Spain has to offer. There are six courses currently ranked within the Spanish Top 25 so, if your plan is to tick off some of the best tracks near the top of the table, then flying into Malaga (or, better still, into Gibraltar) brings you right to the heart of the action.

I stayed at the ideal base for a golf holiday in the region at Almenara, which is just a perfect location with everything you might expect at a top golf resort; a great atmosphere, plenty of different dining options and a whole range of off-course leisure facilities to keep you occupied when you’re not out on the course.

The golf at Almenara is good too, with three loops of nine holes, named Pinos, Alcornoques and Lagos. Almenara certainly flies a little under the golfing radar, and it might not be a top ranked course, but it’s guaranteed to keep you engaged all the way round, leaving you with a big smile on your face as you walk off the 18th green.

During my stay, the Pinos nine holes were closed for maintenance, so the 18-hole configuration in play comprised the Lagos (Lakes) nine and the Alcornoques (Cork) nine. The Lakes nine was a real surprise, with some very technical holes and the best putting surfaces I’ve played on for a long while. The Cork nine was also good; different in character to the Lakes but with great hole variety.

I was also lucky enough to play at the great La Reserva Club, which is a mere 5-minute transfer from Almenara. Here, we have one of the big hitting courses in Sotogrande, currently ranked as the Spanish #15, and one of the elite Top 100 tracks in Continental Europe.

Having first played here around seven years ago, it was great to return to see what had changed and I’m happy to report that improvements on and off the course are rather impressive. The old terracotta clubhouse has had a major facelift and it’s now a beautiful white building, with a clean and fresh feel throughout the interior. The course has had its two nines switched around and this bold move now provides a brilliant doglegging, downhill opening hole and an exciting par five, par three, par four finish to the round.

La Reserva is without doubt a very good golf course (as the rankings indicate) but what I really liked here was the much-improved visitor welcome and the understated elegance and sophistication around the club, which was a real joy to experience.

For downtime away from the courses – and for non-golfers who might be interested in other activities – there are a host of other sporting alternatives to choose from at the various local polo clubs, racquet clubs and beach clubs. Puerto Sotogrande and Real Club Maritimo marinas are delightful places to spend a few hours relaxing in the evening.

Thanks to the GMS Golf team and to SotograndeSA for the invitation to experience some of the golf opportunities in the area. As mentioned earlier, flying into Gibraltar airport is the best option when traveling from the UK. Flight times are generally around three hours with only a short 20-minute transfer on arrival to Almenara. It’s time to pack your clubs into their travel bag and head here for some golf in the sun…

Andy Newmarch
Top 100 Golf Courses

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