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​Top 100 Golf Courses of Spain 2020

18 January, 2020

Top 100 Golf Courses of Spain 2020

According to the KPMG Golf Participation report for Europe 2019, Spain is ranked 4th in the list of continental countries with golf courses (345) and 5th in the table of registered golfers with national governing bodies (269,470) so these relative positions indicate it’s a big player within the sport, even though golf club membership fell considerably by 18% between 2010 and 2017.

Although they’re the latest figures available, the statistics are obviously a couple of years out of date, so hopefully the recent successful exploits of Jon Rahm, Sergio Garcia and Rafa Cabrera Bello on the world stage are now encouraging young Spanish players to take up the game and help their local clubs to develop and prosper as we head into the 2020s.

Another KPMG document entitled Country Snapshot- Spain estimated that the travel and tourism contribution to GDP in 2016 (a large proportion of this income was mainly generated by golfing visitors from England, France and Germany) amounted to €150 billion, three times the EU average, so the economic significance of golf for the country mustn’t be overlooked either.

So much for these background facts and figures, what about the numbers that really matter to us, the Top 100 for Spain? Well, 8 courses remain in the same place, 32 move up at least one position and 13 new entries emerge, with a new No. 1 thrown in for good measure. Let’s have a look at the highlights before revealing the complete standings at the end of this article.

Rising one spot from the runner-up position, Real Club Valderrama regains the #1 status it last held in 2010. Not only that, the course climbed to #4 in our Continental Europe listings just a few days ago and re-entered our World Top 100 last month, so it’s all looking very positive right now for this Andalusian masterpiece from Robert Trent Jones, which has recently been refurbished by Kyle Phillips.

Real Club Valderrama

Described by a reviewer in the last few months as “a step away from heaven… from the moment you arrive you feel as if you are in a golfing paradise,” Valderrama is now the living legacy of the late Jaime Ortiz-Patiño, the club’s founder, who persuaded RTJ to remodel the old Los Aves layout and fashion what would become such an iconic venue for the 32nd edition of Ryder Cup matches in 1997.

It was stuck at #4 in the Spanish chart since 2012 but, after four editions of immobility, the links-like layout at Parador de El Saler in Valencia rises two slots to No.2. Located inside the Albufera Nature Park on the Mediterranean coastline, this glorious Javier Arana design marked half a century of operation in 2018, and a reviewer commented on it last month by saying: “I love the way the architect blended together the inland and seaside holes. This course has so much character, but coupled with a stiff breeze it really offers a challenge to even the top pros.”

El Saler

Two courses make prodigious leaps forward in our revised Spanish rankings and they both belong to the Madrid-based club Real Club La Moraleja, which has four 18-hole layouts in play for its members. Campo 3 (up twelve to #8) and Campo 4 (up twenty to #22) both debuted in 2012 in the municipality of Algete, to the north of the capital, with the former laid out as a signature Jack Nicklaus parkland track and the latter created in the style of an inland links by the Golden Bear’s firm, Nicklaus Design.

Real Club La Moraleja - No.3 course

Further down the standings, another couple of courses in Andalusia also move in the right direction: the Lagos course at Mijas Golf Club (up fourteen to #31) is a Robert Trent Jones layout from the mid-1970s at a superb golf complex outside Fuengirola, and the course at Arcos Golf (up twelve to #64) is a new millennium design from Landmark Golf which anchors a large residential development to the east of Jerez de le Frontera.

Mijas Golf Club - Lagos course

The scale of the following three really big moves eclipses everything we’ve looked at so far.

At No. 46, we have the course at Real Club de Golf La Herreria, jumping twenty-nine places from No. 75. Opened in the late 1960s and upgraded by Pepe Gancedo twenty years ago, this wooded, hilly 18-hole track lies an hour’s drive northwest of Madrid city centre, next to El Escorial Monastery, with a reviewer terming it “a beautiful, old-style parkland course… delightful to play and highly recommended for any visitor.”

Real Club de Golf La Herreria

Soaring thirty-one places to No. 65, the A course at Real Novo Sancti Petri Golf Club, comprising the Sea and Pines nines, is a Seve Ballesteros design from the early 1990s that forms the premier 18-hole layout at an outstanding 36-hole golf facility near Cadiz, with fairways occupying open ground close to the coast on the outward half before weaving inland through avenues of pine trees on the back nine.

Real Novo Sancti Petri Golf Club - A course

The course at Club de Golf La Cañada streaks twenty-six places up the chart to No. 69. Originally established as a 9-hole layout by Robert Trent Jones in 1982, it was expanded to an 18-hole course by Dave Thomas twenty years later and it still operates as a truly public golf facility in the shadows of illustrious near neighbours like La Reserva, Real Sotogrande and Real Valderrama.

The thirteen new courses in our new Spanish table can be broken down into four geographical areas.

In the east, we have the Nicklaus-designed Saurines de La Torre course (new at #39) near San Javier in Murcia, which is a former Polaris World holiday resort development, and the 18-hole layout at Panorámica Golf & Sport Resort (new at #43), where Bernhard Langer teamed up with European Golf Design to market the course when it was built in the mid-1990s.

Panorámica Golf & Sport Resort

From the south, the course at Real Club Pineda de Seville (new at #49) – which has recently been renovated by GTM Golf, the company that built Trump International Dubai for Gil Hanse – and the Old course at Club de Campo La Zagaleta (new at #88) near Benahavis, a Brad Benz design from the early 1990s, make their entrance into our Spanish rankings. Some might ask why it’s taken so long for these two tracks to appear but it’s not always that easy to gain access to continually assess very private facilities. Now they’re listed, it’ll be interesting to see where they go from here.

Real Club Pineda de Seville

In the Canary Islands, Costa Teguise Golf in Lanzarote (new at #71), along with Lopesan Meloneras Golf (new at #78) and the Old course at the Salobre Golf Resort (new at #92) from Gran Canaria, all take the plunge into the national Top 100 for the first time. The latter two tracks are terrific new millennium offerings from Ron Kirby and Roland Favret, respectively, but it’s the Costa Teguise course that really caught the eye on a fact-finding mission to the Canaries last month, when we were delighted to discover this was one of respected architect John Harris’s last designs before he passed away in 1977.

Costa Teguise

The six remaining newcomers are all from the centre and north of Spain. Starting in Galicia, in the northwest corner of the country, the course at Real Club de Golf de La Coruña (new at #35) is a Philip Mackenzie Ross design that was established in 1961 in the Zapateira mountains to the south of La Coruña. Six hundred and twenty kilometres to the east, along the Atlantic coastline towards San Sebastian, the charming 9-hole course at Real Golf Club de Zarauz (new at #85) is reckoned to be the fourth oldest golfing layout in the country, having been inaugurated in 1916.

Real Golf Club de Zarauz

A 90-minute road journey south from here takes you into the Basque interior and the Urturi course at Izki Golf (new at #93), which currently plays host to European Challenge Tour events on a Seve Ballesteros-designed layout. A further 40 kilometres in the same direction leads you to a modern Marco Martin and Blake Stirling production at El Campo de Logroño (new at #97), where the local authority runs a successful golf facility on what was formerly nothing other than the city’s rubbish tip.

Izki Golf - Urturi course

Zaragoza lies 160 kilometres southeast of Logroño, and the course at Club de Golf Los Lagos (new at #87) is located just outside this lovely city. Ramon Espinosa expanded the club’s original layout into an 18-hole course five years after it opened in 1997. Continue 350 kilometres southwest to the outskirts of Madrid and you’ll come across Golf Club Lomas-Bosque (new at #96) and a Robert Dean Putman design from 1973. The Rio Guadarrama meanders close to the tight, tree-lined fairways but it’s never presented as a water hazard on any of the holes.

Golf Club Lomas-Bosque


To view the complete detailed list of the Top 100 Golf Courses of Spain click the link.

Jim McCann
Top 100 Golf Courses


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