Valderrama Golf Club

San Roque, Spain

An hour’s drive from the Rock of Gibraltar on the country’s south coast lies Valderrama, Spain’s best known and top-rated golf course. Robert Trent Jones Snr’s philosophy when designing this course was “hard par, easy bogey” and this becomes apparent early on in your round, although there is little easy about the course. The most obvious characteristic of the place are the old cork oak trees – 2000 of them appear everywhere on the course. Everywhere means: in the middle of the fairway, in the bunkers and overhanging the greens. If your closest experience with cork is the delightful sound it makes when being pulled from a wine bottle, this is just about to change.

Hitting the fairways is not good enough. If you are not on the correct side of the fairway, your approach shot will be blocked by trees or overhanging cork limbs. The decision to play under, around or over a tree is part of Valderrama’s charm; inevitably, the course demands that you fashion some low punch shots or increase the height of your usual wedge chips. The course is visually spectacular and always kept in immaculate condition. Valderrama is a private club but makes tee times available to the public on a daily basis.

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