Valderrama & Finca Cortesin Resort: A golf holiday as good as it gets on Spain's Costa Del Sol
SOTOGRANDE, SPAIN – As stated in my previous blog entry, there is a Costa Del Sol golf trip for every budget in Spain.
The following is not an itinerary for every budget:
As my guide for the majority of the trip, tour operator Jonathan Snell (who has lived in Marbella going on seven years specializing in Costa Del Sol golf packages and partners with the gentlemen over at London Golf Tours) explained to me upon arrival, the golf courses get more and more posh as you head west from Malaga along the Costa Del Sol, and once you get to Sotogrande, you’re in the heart of the area’s top golf courses and resorts. I had the chance to play three of them and see the others a few days ago and they make for as good of a golf trip as you’ll find.
The anchor, of course, is the prestigious Valderrama Golf Club. As you may remember from it’s Ryder Cup and Volvo Masters glory (or on Sega Genesis’ PGA European Tour video game of course), it’s a tight layout with tiny greens that will eat you alive if you don’t have a confident tee ball and wedge play. But even if your scorecard is shredded, you’ll still find plenty of joy in the beautiful shaping of the holes through cork trees and hitting your approach to the infamous 17th peninsula green (perhaps my only good shot of the day…). Personally that wasn’t my favorite hole on the course, that goes to the par-5 4th hole with the narrow, hour glass green perched over a waterfall - or No. 2 where if you don’t hit left of a large tree in the middle of the fairway on the drive, you’re forced to hit over trees on your approach.
Just a short drive from Valderrama is the new Finca Cortesin Golf Resort. The golf course has been open for a couple years but the hotel just opened last October and both will take your breath away. When you envision that exclusive, Spanish resort getaway, this exceeds the picture in your mind. They hit it right on all the details here, from the complimentary beverage and snacks upon arrival, to the spa that’s out of this world (it even has an ice cold snow room next to the the sauna and steam room if you want to let out your inner polar bear). Few stay-and-plays in the world rival a round on both Valderrama and Finca Cortesin (which will host the Volvo Match Play later this fall), plus a night at Finca Cortesin.
There are other golf courses you can package along with Finca Cortesin and Valderrama: San Roque’s Old and New Course, plus the new La Reserva are all backed up against one another next to Valderrama, but all look and play entirely different. Add the 27 holes at Almanara, and you’ve got a week worth of Costa Del Sol’s best golf. Even if you don’t want to pay the 300 Euro for Valderrama, the surrounding courses, all about 80-150 Euros each, offer a more-than-worthy collection if you’re after the best of Spain’s coast.
Stay tuned for a full feature on Costa Del Sol’s top shelf plus full reviews of every golf course - as well as gastronomy and off-course features.
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