Sotogrande Finest Golf Courses

Real Club de Golf Sotogrande A Review by Trevor Ledger

The trick of Sotogrande lies in the narrow entrances to greens and the very subtle contours once you are on ‘the dance floor’.

Sotogrande 7th approach

When Robert Trent Jones Senior touched down in Spain with a couple of sacks of Bermuda Grass sprigs in the early 1960s, a golfing revolution was started.

The subsequent turf nursery lead, in turn, to the Real Club de Golf Sotogrande being designed and built on the Costa del Sol in 1964 and, just like RTJ’s Bermuda sprigs, something wonderful had taken root.

Sotogrande is very much an American style golf course – long, linear tees; penal bunkering and artificial water hazards abound. To consider the course as being an artificial imposition on the landscape would, however, be a mistake. Just as Augusta National looks as though it has always been there, so does Sotogrande.

Sotogrande - Hole 12

The natural landscape is one of arid, rocky outcrops interspersed with ancient olive groves and orchards; Sotogrande has taken that blueprint and made it suitable for golf.

And how.

Sotogrande  greens

The tree-lined fairways present both a beautiful aesthetic and a punishing hazard. It is unlikely that you will lose a ball in the trees but, again like Augusta, escaping without dropping a shot is far from straightforward.

The golf course manages to be both inviting and challenging at the same time.

For the mid-handicap golfer Sotogrande would be a great place to start a trip.

The fairways are wider than many neighbouring courses, the greens are not quite so icy slick and the round builds to a grand crescendo as you come down the stretch.

The trick of Sotogrande lies in the narrow entrances to greens and the very subtle contours once you are on ‘the dance floor’.

From the moment that you arrive at the private members’ club you are taken care of. From car park to clubhouse to first tee, the attention to detail is noticeable yet not overbearing.

The immense height of the palm trees and the classy (somehow less brash) nature of the ubiquitous real estate lets you know that this place was the original.

At Sotogrande, ‘old money’ is in charge. The Club, the course, the strategy required – everything – can be summed up simply: mature and classy.

Sotogrande 16th green

Real Club 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:

Trevor Ledger, Golf Collections Project Cataloguer, Special Collections Division, St Andrews University, Scotland.
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.

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