Valderrama has played host to many European Tour events and the 1997 Ryder Cup. It’s consistently rated as the No. 1 course in Continental Europe.
Warm breezes, the fresh aroma of eucalyptus and beautiful scenery make the Mediterranean a desirable destination for golfers any day of the year. PerryGolf offers a variety of Cruises and Custom Tours to the region, enabling travelers to enjoy the arts, architecture and gastronomic delights so readily available. These five golf courses are certain to challenge and enchant all golfers.
Considered the top course in Continental Europe, the demanding layout at Valderrama has been the home for many European Tour events and the 1997 Ryder Cup, which Europe won in thrilling fashion, 14.5-13.5 over the United States. It’s the only time the matches have been held in Spain and is remembered best for the fiery leadership of captain Seve Ballesteros, the nation’s finest golfer. Another native son, Sergio Garcia, claimed the 2011 Andalucia Masters title at Valderrama.
Located in the southern tip of Spain, near Gibraltar, Valderrama enjoys a rich history, opening in 1974 as Las Aves, and taking its current name in 1985. Three-time Open Champion Henry Cotton served as the first golf professional at Valderrama. Tiger Woods played in his first Ryder Cup here in ’97 and was No. 1 in the world when he won the 1999 WGC-American Golf Express tournament on the venerable layout two years later, defeating Miguel Angel Jimenez in a sudden-death playoff.
The signature hole on the Robert Trent Jones Sr. design is the 17th, a 540-yard, par-5 featuring a steep-banked pond that defends the green. Many matches were settled in this dramatic amphitheater during the ’97 Ryder Cup as the world’s best golfers accepted the risk and attempted to reach the green in two shots. The course has earned the reputation for immaculate conditioning year-round.
Robert Trent Jones Jr., a legendary architect as well, designed Alcanada, which opened in 2003. This sparkling gem on the Mediterranean Island of Mallorca winds through pine and olive groves, measuring more than 7,000 yards from the championship tees and delivering sparkling views of the nearby island Alcanada and its iconic lighthouse.
In general, internet reviews describe Alcanada as a tough but fair golf course. Perhaps the stunning beauty of the sea offsets the challenge. Regardless, a round on this hidden gem is certain to be memorable.
Down in the southwest corner of Portugal, 30 miles west of Lisbon along the shore of the Atlantic Ocean lies a breathtaking golf course designed by renowned American architect Arthur Hills. Oitavos Dunes, which opened in 2001, was ranked No. 55 in Golf Magazine’s 2017 World Top 100.
Hills’ natural links rolls and flows through the sand dunes, umbrella pines and coastal transition areas. The course measures 7,010 yards from the tips as a par-71.
“We disturbed little of the environment as we routed the golf course in harmony with a piece of property sculpted by nature,” the architect said.
How pure is Finca Cortesin?
So pure it wrested the Volvo World Match Play away from Wentworth in England after a 45-year run, and played host three times (2009, 2011, 2012) in four years.
Ross Fisher, Ian Poulter and Nicolas Colsaerts earned titles in the prestigious event which routinely includes many of the world’s top-ranked golfers. Sergio Garcia and Lee Westwood praised the immaculate condition of the course, which is located in southern Spain. Garcia even compared the greens to Augusta National’s, which he conquered in dramatic fashion last April.
Cabell Robinson’s design is not for the weary or weak-spirited. The beast measures nearly 7,500 yards from the back tees and features 102 bunkers!
In the Central Algarve region of Portugal, the six-time major champion Nick Faldo designed a fair, yet demanding par-72, that registers more than 7,100 yards and features a slope of 138 from the championship tees.
“I like my courses to be challenging to whoever plays them,” said Faldo, who has more than 50 golf course projects completed or in progress around the world. “There might be easy holes in some places, but they are a challenge because you have to think about them, and that is what I am after. The best compliment you can get in the design business is when players come off the course and say ‘wow, that was a challenge.'”
The resort also features a floodlit par-3 course – just in case there’s not enough daylight to get your fill of golf.