Sotogrande Finest Golf Courses

Real Club Valderrama
A Review by Trevor Ledger

Valderrama takes the best of Finca Cortesin, La Reserva and Sotogrande, shapes it beautifully and adds even greater use of the Alcornoques trees to complete the near perfect test of golf.

With Ryder Cup pedigree and many PGA Tour events, the fame of Valderrama precedes it everywhere. The actual playing of it exceeds expectations.
Real Club ValderramaWidely regarded as the best conditioned course in Europe, a divot often feels like a criminal act – even in November it was in superb condition.

But Valderrama is far more than a well-tended turf nursery – the strategy required to get around this golf course is phenomenal.

Like Finca Cortesin, the different tee options really do offer up different golfing experiences.

From the yellow ‘Executive’ tees the course is eminently playable yet by no means a pushover and strategy is everything; from the whites, ‘Championship’, the task is more vexing – still strategic but a good deal more penal; the black tees, ‘Pro’ (positively illegitimate to most of us) retains the strategy, increases the penal element and often demands the heroic.

Thus Valderrama takes the best of Finca Cortesin, La Reserva and Sotogrande, shapes it beautifully and adds even greater use of the Alcornoques trees to complete the near perfect test of golf.

Real Club ValderramaThe challenge that Valderrama presents is immediate: the very first hole demands a strategy to be decided upon the tee and this depends on pin position some 350 metres away.

If it placed front right then the bunker protecting it will need to be negotiated and thus a long drive to the left of the fairway is required. If the pin is to the left then a shorter drive to the right is needed in order to avoid the encroaching cork oak forty metres or so short of the left edge.

Real Club ValderramaIt is the flow of fairways and the encroaching trees that provide the sternest challenge – what might be thought a perfect drive while standing on the tee can end up stymied by a tree that was not even considered with driver in hand.

If new age, Zen thought has any place in golf then Valderrama is the place for it – somehow the need to become immersed in the entire experience seems necessary if a good score is to be made. Thankfully the award-winning flora and fauna make such immersion eminently more possible.

Valderrama is magical and the ease with which it can be walked rather than driven, makes it even more of a pleasure.

Real Club Valderrama

Real Club Valderrama – 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:
  • La Reserva 6th tee
    Sotogrande Golf Courses - 6 of the best reviewed
    READ MORE ...
  • Sotogrande 7th approach
    Real Club Sotogrande - a review
    READ MORE ...
  • Valderrama
    Real Club Valderrama - a review
    READ MORE ...
  • Finca Cortesin
    Finca Cortesin Golf Club - a review
    READ MORE ...
  • La Reserva Golf Club Sotogrande - a review
    READ MORE ...
  • San Roque Old Course flag
    San Roque Old Course - a review
    READ MORE ...
  • San Roque New 9th green bunkers
    San Roque New Course - a review
    READ MORE ...

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Trevor LedgerTrevor 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.