Top 100 Golf Courses of Spain 2016
We present the 5th edition of our Spanish Top 100 rankings
Once again, it’s time to present the biennial revision of our Top 100 rankings for mainland Spain, the Balearic and Canary Islands, but before we reveal the new chart, we’ll take a quick look at some the highlights. Some may feel that there aren’t too many exciting manoeuvres within the revised standings, though it could be argued that’s a good thing because it might just mean that we’re now aligning Spanish courses correctly.
First and foremost, the Stadium layout at PGA Catalunya remains in the top spot. The course ousted Real Valderrama from the number 1 slot four years ago and it’ll retain pole position in our Iberian chart for at least another two years. Owner Denis O’Brien might not be best pleased that his resort didn’t succeed in its recent bid to host the 2022 Ryder Cup but life goes on regardless and it was possibly the correct decision to award the matches to a European country that had yet to hold the event.
Inching up a single place to number 2, Real Sotogrande returns to the runner-up spot in our new table, a position that it last held in 2008 when we first established our Spanish Top 100. The course also climbs eight places to number 7 in our Continental Europe chart so a “profound restoration” of the layout by former RTJ associate Roger Rulewich to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the club in 2014 has not gone unnoticed.
A couple of courses reclaim Top 10 positions, with both rising seven places to do so. The first layout is Robert Trent Jones Snr’s Real Las Brisas in Marbella, which now occupies the number 6 position. The course began its stint in the inaugural Spanish chart at number 5 eight years ago so it has now regained ground that had been lost, largely due to its recent Kyle Phillips renovation.
One spot behind, at number 7, comes Real Sevilla, which started out at number 8 in 2008 so this José María Olazábal design has more than made up for a short term dip in its ranking performance. Coincidentally, both of these tracks have previously hosted the once-prestigious World Cup of Golf in years gone by so perhaps they now have visions of recapturing some of their former glory.
Neguri climbs five places to number 13 and it also re-enters our Continental Europe Top 100 after a six-year absence. Located close to the Cantabrian coastline, just 20 kilometres north of Bilbao city centre, the Javier Arana-designer masterpiece at Campo La Galea is a fitting testament to the skills of a much underrated architect who set out the course for the club’s members when it moved to its present location in 1961.
The Top 100 Team visited La Manga a while back and we were very impressed by what we experienced. We’ve since listened to a number of well-travelled golfers who all told us we had the resort’s three courses ranked too low in the listings so we’ve taken corrective action, resulting in each of the three courses improving their position on the chart. The newest course, the West, leaps nineteen places to number 17 whilst the South, which hosted the Spanish Open five times during the 1970s, climbs ten places to number 27. The shortest layout on the property, the North, soars an incredible twenty-four places to number 39.
That’s a sensational jump but it’s not the biggest upward movement on the new chart as that’s reserved for Alhama, which was a new entry last time around at number 78. This Jack Nicklaus Signature course is one of half a dozen belonging to the “IRM Golf Experience” (formerly titled “The Nicklaus Golf Trail”) which offers golfers the opportunity to play at any of the six Nicklaus courses in its Murcia consortium for a discounted green fee rate. It rockets thirty-five places up the new Top 100 to number 43.
A total of 13 new entries are incorporated into our latest Spanish listings, two of which appear in the top half of the chart. La Moraleja (3) and La Moraleja (4) are exciting new additions to the Golf Moraleja brand in Madrid, with both tracks laid out in the municipality of Algete, some 20 kilometres northwest of the two old established courses close to the international airport. Number 3 course, a Jack Nicklaus Signature layout, debuts at number 19 whilst the number 4 track, by Nicklaus Design, enters at number 44.
In the bottom half of the table, the 18-hole Azul course at Escorpion Golf Club, near Valencia, comes in at number 58 and the resort course at Oliva Nova on the Costa Blanca muscles in at number 61. The spectacular New (North) course at Salobre in Gran Canaria tucks in just behind this Seve Ballesteros design at number 63 and it’s followed by another debutant at 79, Mar Menor in Murcia, which is a rather unique hybrid layout from Dave Thomas and Nicklaus Design, where two nines were fashioned independently.
One of the oldest clubs in Catalonia, Llavaneras, was established in 1945, when Fred Hawtree laid out the original 9-hole course for the founding members. Subsequently extended to an 18-hole layout, the course has served golfers to the north of Barcelona for over seventy years now and it breaks into our new chart at number 82. Three places further on, at number 85, we have another new entry and this time it’s an unheralded Mallorcan tracked called Maioris, which has only been in play for around ten years. Such was the impression it made on a recent Top 100 visit to the Balearic Islands, it now finds itself quoted within the Spanish national listings.
We always welcome comments when we publish updated national rankings, so please feel free to let us know what you think of our new Top 100 for Spain. Have we left out a layout that really should be listed or have we included a course which doesn’t deserve recognition? Perhaps there’s a particular track sitting too high in the chart or there’s one lying too low? Please click the “Respond to this article” link at the top or at the bottom of the page if you’d like to give us your opinion.
To view the complete detailed list of the Top 100 Golf Courses in Spain click the link.
28 December 2015 Respond to this article