RECOMMENDED COURSES

ST. ANDREWS links

It is one of the oldest courses in the world and maybe the oldest in Scotland.

St. Andrews course forms part of a public park located in the town of St. Andrews.

We don’t exactly know when the first games were played on the Old Course. The oldest document dates from 1522 and is a license authorizing the inhabitants to

“keep rabbits, play golf, football, schuteing and other kinds of past times”.

The course has changed throughout the years. At the beginning, it was played on one path with only a few holes. As interest in golf grew, the course was extended with a second path. Green size increased, and 2 holes were shortened.

The main attraction of the Old Course is its immense double greens, two holes are shared by seven of them. In fact, only holes 1, 9, 17 and 18 have their own green.

Another unique feature is the possibility of doing the course in a clock-wise as well as anti-clock-wise direction. Currently the usual mode of play is anti-clockwise, although one day in the year, play is permitted in the opposite direction.

The last important thing to note about the course is that it is closed on Sundays to allow the course to “rest”. On this day, it is transformed into an enormous park for the enjoyment of the locals, where you can relax, have a picnic or simply admire the landscape.

PEBBLE BEACH

Located on the west coast of the United States in California.

Widely considered one of the most beautiful golf courses in the world, Pebble Beach embraces a rugged coastline and enjoys generous views of Carmel Bay where it meets the Pacific Ocean south of the Monterey Peninsula.

In 2001 it was converted into a public golf course and was selected as the number 1 golf course in the United States.

In the beginning it formed part of the Hotel del Monte resort.

The famous 17 Mile Drive was originally designed as a local tour for visitors to Hotel del Monte and included the main historical sites in Monterey and Pacific Grove. Its landscape would later be Pebble beach.

The course was designed by Jack Neville and the opening date was February 2, 1919. The goal was to have the maximum possible number of holes on the Monterey coastline.

A spectacular hole, the long 17th with par-3 holds a historic position in the golfing world when Jack Nicklaus (1972) and Tom Watson (1982) made strategic shots there to win the US Open.

THE BLUE MONTSER

Trump National Doral Miami is a golf resort in Florida in south-western USA. Today it boasts 90 championship golf holes and its emblem course is the Blue Monster.

Site of the World CA Golf Championship, it has hosted many prestigious events of the PGA tour during the last 55 years. In fact, practically all of the top golf players have enjoyed a moment of personal triumph on this world-class course.

Following Donald Trump’s instructions, Gil Hanse the legendary architect completely redesigned Blue Monster into the course it is today bestowing it with its reputation as one of the most difficult and spectacular ever created. Its 6.957 metres include deep bunkers strategically placed, long streets, rolling greens, deep Bermuda grass and a variety of water hazards, all of which demand both length and acuity for a good score.

Hole 18 is considered one of the best in the world. This is one of the reasons why it is assured a place as a World Championship site.

MISSION HILLS

Mission Hills is the best golf and leisure club in China and the biggest golf club in the world according to the Guinness Book of Records.

Winner of multiple international awards, the area of the complex is 20 sq. kilometres and comprises 12 18-hole courses, designed by the greatest golf legends as well as golf architects.

Mission Hills represents the birthplace of golf in China and hosts the most important tournaments in the region, including the Golf World Cup and the Asian Amateur Championship.

Mission Hills courses:

Nicklaus Course / Faldo Course / Vijay Course / Els Course

Ozaki Course / Zhang Lian Wei Course / Norman Course / Annika Course / Olazábal Course / Leadbetter Course / Rose Poulter Course

SUN CITY

The Sun City resort is a major golf destination in South Africa. It has two 18-hole courses designed by South African golf legend Gary Player: the Lost City golf course and the Gary Player golf course, both engineered to maximise the challenge for each golfer.

Golf addicts will be in their element in Sun City with the option of having two exceptional but very different golf experiences.

The Gary Player course is par-72, walking only. Built over an extinct volcanic crater and with 5km length, this impeccable course complies with strict US PGA specifications and was recently named best golf course in South Africa in the World Golf Awards 2015. It is also home to the Nedbank Challenge with a first prize of $2 million and welcomes some of the most famous golfers in the world.

The intelligent design with bunkers placed imaginatively and multiple tees grants a satisfying game for both novices and experts. Kikuyu paths and grassy greens offer an almost perfect playing surface.

The Lost City Golf Course is a par-72, 18-hole desert style course of 28.000 sq metres. Water features include a water hazard at hole 13: the home of 38 live Nile crocodiles. Also designed by Gary Player, the Lost City Palace Hotel lies nearby. The course covers more than 100 hectares with different themes: desert, mountains, green areas etc.

VALDERRAMA

This is one of the most well-known country clubs in Europe. Located in the residential area of Sotogrande (San Roque) in Andalusia, a few kilometres from Gibraltar, it boasts a unique 18-hole course, with a par-3 on 9 holes.

Valderrama was built in 1974 under the name “Nuevo Sotogrande”, following golf architect Robert Trent Jones’ American designs. The name changed to “Las Aves” in 1981, it was acquired by Jaime-Ortiz Patiño in 1984 and subsequently redesigned and extended by the original architect and renamed “Valderrama”.

In 1999 Valderrama was deemed the best golf course in Continental Europe by Golf World magazine and the driving range was rated as the best in Europe by Nick Faldo.

The fourth hole, known as the Waterfall, is the course hallmark: par-5 with a pond on the right side of the two-level green.

It is a demanding route with the habitual wind often causing difficulty, but with exquisite course maintenance, Valderrama is one of those courses which every golfer should enjoy at least once in a lifetime, despite its price and restrictions.

Deep analysis of each swing is required to avoid the rough, many trees and bunkers. And you need to forget about preserving your handicap here, some of the best golfers in the world have tried without success.

If you get the chance, discover its mostly unknown par-3 beside Casa Cortijo:

As with everything in Valderrama it will not leave you unimpressed.