Sotogrande Finest Golf Courses
La Reserva Golf Club Sotogrande
A Review by Trevor Ledger
All of the courses we played in the Western Costa del Sol had fantastic greens but La Reserva probably shades it for difficulty.
A part of the Sotogrande club, La Reserva is another Cabell Robinson design – this time from 2003. Comparisons to Finca Cortesin finish there though, this is a very different course altogether. No less classy or testing but a completely different style.
The vistas are much more open and glimpses of other holes abound, making it a less claustrophobic but slightly less photogenic experience.
The course management required to get around La Reserva is mentally exhausting; almost every hole presents a strategic question.
For example the long, par five, second provides an opportunity to cut the corner from the tee but take too much and you will be bitten hard.
Even if successful with a drive, the second shot presents a ‘make it or die’ conundrum (although laying up is perfectly feasible).
For the record: big drive, five wood to 10 feet, missed the eagle putt.
If niggles are looked for they can be found, but only by the most picky: a lot of the holes travel in the same or 180 degree direction meaning that, with the prevailing wind, holes are mostly either into or with the wind. Such design was necessitated by the fact that the course is played in two valleys – the option for meandering in different directions simply was not there.
In fact the ‘with or against the wind’ element makes the yardage of the course interesting – some holes play much shorter, others much longer. Thus the ubiquitous touch-screen GPS in the buggy was often to be mistrusted.
Where La Reserva scores very highly is the bunkering. The ‘cookie-cutter’ placement of fairway bunkers that plague so many lesser courses is not to be found here.
The distance of traps from the tee vary according to the wind, the slope and, above all, the strategy that the golf course architect had in mind.
The same is true of greenside bunkering – pin positions can be absolutely crucial to a good or indifferent round. More so than in most other courses in the area.
The bunkering is such that almost all styles of golf course design are represented throughout the course: there are penal bunkers, strategic bunkers and heroic bunkers – Robinson clearly knows his trade.
All of the courses we played in the Western Costa del Sol had fantastic greens but La Reserva probably shades it for difficulty. These are not hugely breaking surfaces, they are much more subtle and difficult to read.
It is probably because the bunkering is so good that the greens did not need to have deflecting or gathering slopes built into them to protect the pin; thus the greens are able to throw up their own challenges to even the best of putters.
La Reserva, Sotogrande – see a comprehensive overview of Course data, Offers to play & Club facilites
This is part of a series of reviews showcasing a collection of Sotogrande’s finest golf courses:
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Trevor has worked as an editor and contributor to many golf industry publications. In the past he has held the position of Editor at ‘Golf Course News International’ and ‘The Golf Course Magazine’, as well as Contributing Editor of ‘Golf Inc.’.
In a freelance capacity he has contributed to publications such as Golf Punk, Golf World and Golf Monthly.