The jewel of Spain's Costa Del Sol, Valderrama Golf Club is the region's most prestigious golf club and dubbed the "Augusta National of Europe." A bold assertion, but one with some backing. In 1997 it became the first golf course in continental Europe to host the Ryder Cup Matches, and it is a host to the European Tour's Volvo Masters and World Golf Championships as well. Valderrama features course conditions as good as it gets, with fairways like carpet and aprons smooth as glass.
Valderrama's course design has seen its share of tweaks and overhauls. It was originally a municipal course before new ownership bought the club and saw potential in it as Europe's finest course. Robert Trent Jones Jr. returned to turn it into a championship test - and today the course is defended by its tiny, lightening fast greens and narrow fairways framed by cork trees. The par-5 17th hole may be the course's most famous, a result of Tiger's ire - but the signature is the par-5 fourth hole, "La Cascada," for its rocky waterfall tumbling off the tiny, elevated green.
For the traveling golfer, Valderrama has one advantage to Augusta: The club offers limited public play between noon and 2 p.m. daily for 275-300 euros a head. This grants you access to the club and practice grounds 45 minutes prior to your tee time.