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Top 100 Golf Courses of Spain 2023

20 February, 2023
Jim McCann

Welcome to our latest Continental European chart release as we revise our national and regional rankings for Spain. We’ve taken steps to assemble an enlarged panel so it’s fair to say this latest edition of our Iberian listings is the amalgamation of quite a few new perspectives.

With one or two notable exceptions, the composition of courses in the top half of the table is largely as expected but the bottom half has undergone a radical transformation, with no less than twenty-five courses dropping out, replaced by twenty-four new entries or re-entries.

Real Valderrama

The course at Real Club Valderrama in Sotogrande rose one position to become our new #1 when we last updated our Spanish Top 100 chart and it remains firmly lodged in the top spot in this revision. Venue for the never to be forgotten Ryder Cup matches in 1997, the Robert Trent Jones Sr-designed layout recently staged the 2022 Andalucía Masters on the DP World Tour so it remains more than capable of hosting top professional events in the modern era.

A few months ago, we received this post from a reviewer: “Real Valderrama is the course I most expected to let me down and be considered over-rated and it won me over completely… it is balanced, reasonably fair, it is challenging without being stupid hard, it uses elevated, tiered and water-fronted green sites to near perfection and (the) sequencing is superb.”

Real Neguri

The 18-hole layout at Real Sociedad de Golf de Neguri rises three places to number 11, falling just short of a first-time Top 10 position in our new national standings. Javier Arana, a club member, was asked to set out the course when Neguri moved to its La Galea location on the clifftops outside Bilbao in the mid-1950s and it’s turned out to be one of the architect’s finest designs.

We visited a while back, provoking the following comments: “there are plenty of gentle elevation changes encountered on a site that gently slopes away from the clubhouse towards the sea… more than 2,000 trees were removed during construction but stands of tall Atlantic pines still proliferate around the property, affording it a stately quality and a majestic ambience that just oozes class.”

Real Pedreña

The Harry Colt-designed course at Real Golf de Pedreña fluctuated between #20 and #28 in the previous seven editions of our Spanish chart but it now moves up six places to number 15. David Williams has recently finished a 12-year renovation of this property which is situated in a gorgeous spot overlooking the Bay of Santander and a large part of the project involved rebuilding greens, refurbishing bunkers and opening out views by removing trees.

Again, we were here a number of years ago to appraise the work being carried out and we were surprised by how undulating the landscape is on the course, with few (if any) level lies on many of the fairways as they twist and turn across undulating terrain. As we said at the time: “no golf trip to the north of Spain would be complete without a visit to Seve’s old stomping ground at Pedreña.”

San Roque

The San Roque Golf Club has operated as a 36-hole golf facility for almost two decades now and the club’s original layout, the Old course, leaps nine places up the new chart to number 17 (one place off its #16 highest ranking in 2014). The layout has just gone through a total makeover – with bunkers refurbished, tees and greens rebuilt using bent grass and fairways converted to Bermuda – which also included the addition of a new clubhouse, driving range and practice facilities.

Comments over the last twelve months include: “they have made amazing improvements to provide all types of golfers (with) an awesome experience… the Old has been brought up to date and is now a seriously good test of one’s game… trees have been cut back to restore the natural vistas and the well bunkered green complexes are now much tougher.”

T Golf Calvia

Previously known as Golf de Poniente, the 18-hole layout at T Golf Calvia in Mallorca is our highest new entry, bursting into the Spanish listings at number 30. Designed by John Harris in the late 1970s, the course was acquired by German businessman Heiner Tamsen in 2015 and his multi-million-euro investment was rewarded with the club hosting the season-ending Challenge Tour Grand Final in 2020 and 2021 on the European Challenge Tour.

Back in March, Tamsen bought the golf facility at Golf Parc Mallorca Puntiro, on the east side of Palma, renaming it T Golf Palma. It’s an early new millennium track from Nicklaus Design that’s in real need of a renovation and if the new owner can achieve even half of what was accomplished at T Golf Calvia then this place will be another one to watch out for when we next reappraise the Top 100 for Spain.

La Hacienda Alcaidesa Links Golf Resort

The cliff top Links course at La Hacienda Alcaidsea Links Golf Resort first appeared on the San Roque golf scene in 1990 and it now soars an incredible forty-two places up our new listings to number 42. The layout has been entirely upgraded by former Nicklaus Design architect Kurtis Bowman who redesigned every green site, rebuilt all the bunkers, and shifted a fair amount of soil on several holes to greatly improve their playability.

Our correspondent Javier Pintos mentioned in his July 2022 review that the Ailsa at Turnberry was described in publicity material as having been ‘reborn’ after it had undergone an extensive renovation a few years back and it’s the same with the Links, which Javier thinks will now offer “a higher consideration among golfers travelling to play the very best at Marbella and Sotogrande”.

La Zagaleta

Another layout on the Costa del Sol hurtling up the chart is the Old course at the 36-hole Club de Campo La Zagaleta golf complex near Benahavis which rockets up to number 47 from #88. Designed by Brad Benz in the early 1990s and renovated recently by Marc Westenborg, the course lies within a mountain retreat that was once the private hunting ground of Saudi businessman Adnan Khashoggi.

The clubhouse overlooks the 1st and 18th holes which are separated by a newly reconstructed lake, and the course’s irrigation and drainage systems were also replaced. Former bent grass playing surfaces on tees and fairways are now carpeted in Bermuda, while bunkers have been restyled with more shape and flair to reflect the surrounding topography.


Rising thirteen places to number 49, the Links course at the 36-hole Empordà Golf Club in Girona was actually rated higher than the Forest course at the same venue in 2010 but the order has since been reversed. Both courses have enjoyed significant investment – including a tree clearance programme and bunker reconstruction using the Better Billy Bunker method – to improve their conditioning.

The Empordà clubhouse and on-site accommodation – rebranded as Hotel Terraverda – have also been modernised, complementing the on-course enhancements that have taken place. The Links hosted the Empordà Challenge tournament on the Challenge Tour in October 2021 and June last year and there’s no doubt it will be ready for the return of the second-tier men’s professional tour in 2023.


In the bottom half of the table, the Stirling & Martin-designed course at Aguilón Golf in Almeria is the first of our remaining newcomers to appear at number 51. Opened for play in 2008 and located close to San Juan de Los Terreros, the most easterly coastal village in Andalusia, this desert-style course occupies a spectacular site in the shadow of the Aguilan Mountains.

Son Muntaner

Currently one of eighteen venues in continental Europe accredited to the European Tour Destination collection, Arabella Golf Mallorca boasts three 18-hole layouts and a 9-hole track, with Son Muntaner (up fourteen to #76) one of the more recent golfing options at this progressive facility, debuting here at the start of the new millennium when Kurt Rossknecht set out the course.

It’s five years since the club made the ambitious decision to convert tees and fairways to Celebration Bermuda grass and replace the greens with V8 Creeping Bent grass which, along with a renovation of the clubhouse, has absolutely rejuvenated the playing experience at Son Muntaner (where the second edition of the Mallorca Golf Open was staged in October 2022).

To view the entire detailed list of our latest Top 100 Golf Courses of Spain click the link. View list here.

If you have any comment to make on the above chart then please use the “Respond to this article” link at the top or bottom of this page.

Jim McCann


Top 100 Golf Courses


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