ANYONE with half an interest in sport will remember the fantastic last few holes of the Ryder Cup in 1997 when Colin Montgomery played the best round of his life.
That was at Valderrama, which is now viewed as one of the ‘must-play’ golf courses in Europe, beautifully maintained, but sometimes thought to be a touch too hard at times.
So popular is the stunning course that the so called ‘Great White Shark’ Greg Norman was last week reported to have acquired the title to the course for a record 35 million euros. It is essential to book ahead and forget trying to play in August when only members are allowed to play.
There are four other golf courses around Sotogrande, the first being Real Club de Golf de Sotogrande, also known as the Old Course, which was the first course built.
Well maintained, it is said to be a dream to play after its trickier sister Valderrama.
It was here that the so-called Bermuda grass was first introduced into Spain.
The sustainable blend of grass uses less water and leaves an incredible springy feel to the greens and fairways.
The others include La Canada and La Reserve, as well as Almenara, which is up in the hills and where celebrities Glenn Hoddle and Glen Johnson have homes.
La Reserva, in particular, is a stunning spot with breathtaking views of both the Med and inland towards the Sierras de Grazalema and Bermeja.
Still very low density in terms of construction, it is unsurprisingly not cheap to join at 33,000 euros and members must pay an annual fee of 3000 euros to keep up their membership.
“But what you are getting for your money is unlimited golf, whenever you want, plus use of our exclusive beach club through the summer,” explains director Lucas de la Puente.
Soto has a fabulous tennis and polo club and no less than 11 golf courses
“And on top of that we are even giving members the first 500 euros off their annual drinks bill.”
“There are few places with such a high concentration of golf courses,” says Ian Bateman, of Holmes estate agents.
“When you add the fabulous tennis facilities and polo club, with its 11 full size courses, the facilities here are second to none.”
Apart from the fabulous facilities, there is a range of good golf shops scattered around the resort.
By far the best of these is the excellent Golfino shop next to the new Terra Sana in the CC Sotogrande.
The German company has a huge selection of own-brand knits and shirts, and for this winter’s season there is a range of stylish fluffy fleece jackets with elegant velvet details.
Even better are the shirts which have high funnel collars that even have UV protection integrated into them.