Sotogrande, Spain

Real Club Valderrama has been consistently ranked as the number 1 golf club in continental Europe since the late 80s, and has been described by top pros and leading golf writers as the best in Europe, if not the world. It is not an easy course – nor was it intended to be – and was designed so as to call forth thought and precision for every shot.

The course was designed in 1974 by Robert Trent Jones – one of the great golf course architects of his era – and was originally known as Las Aves, or Sotogrande New. In 1984, Jaime Ortiz-Patiño acquired the golf course and committed to bringing the course to an extraordinary level, never before seen in Europe, with Trent Jones agreeing to redesign his original layout of ten years earlier. The pair shared a common aim to create a course that would present a test of golf to the everyday golfer and the first-class player alike.

The course was renamed Valderrama after the ancient estate on which the land is situated, and in 1988, began hosting the Volvo Masters, the flagship tournament of the PGA European Tour. In 1997 Valderrama famously hosted the 32nd Ryder Cup – won by Europe and captained by Severiano Ballesteros – and went on to host the first two editions of the World Golf Championships which were won by Tiger Woods and Mike Weir respectively. Since 2010, Valderrama has hosted the Andalucía Masters, one of the European Tour’s most prestigious tournaments. Located in Sotogrande, just a few miles north of Gibraltar, Valderrama is a private members’ club with a limited number of tee times offered for visitors.

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