Tag Archives: Valderrama

In Search of Perfection

Valderrama has consistently been rated the best course in Europe, so why has the club intiated a three-year review of its layout by Kyle Phillips?

The fairway of the 385-yard 2nd at Valderrama arcs left-to-right between 30ft high cork oaks – apart, that is, from the one in the middle of the fairway that invites a lay-up and gives the hole its name of El Arbol. The velvety sward is trimmed to lOmm, the same length as the tees, and at its widest point stretches to 30 yards across a subtle camber. It is so smooth that, with even a shortish stroke, you can quite easily putt the ball from one side to the other.

In many ways, the second sums up Valderrama. Wide-yet-narrow, short-yet-long, it is a hole you’ll do better to sweet talk than yell at; pull driver out on the tee and you can just about hear the tree limbs whisper “Go ahead, make my day”. As the course unfolds, more sweeping angled fairways and cork oaks – some 5,000 – reveal a layout that will not be overpowered. In a golf world where power has become the new superbug, this track, at a little under 7,000 yards, is the perfect antidote.
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A Polished Diamond

Golf Monthly – March 2009

From Sotogrande New to Las Aves and now Valderrama, Malcolm
Campbell celebrates just how far Europe’s finest course has come.

“Rumours are rife of an announcement coming shortly on a new event for Valderrama”

Athough it does not seem like it,it is a quarter of a century since I took my first step onto the opening tee of a golf course that was then called Las Aves. At that time the course was barely known, other than to a fortunate few. It had not long changed its name from Sotogrande New. My old pal Derek Brown had decided to swap the decidedly chilly Perthshire winters of Gleneagles for a move to the Costa del Sol to join Tony Jacklin at what was then a fine, but rather remote, golfing outpost lying within earshot of the screams of Gibraltar’s Barbary apes.

I still recall the perilous journeys from Malaga airport along the road they called “Suicide Alley”. The fear was only overcome by the anticipation of playing the course where Jacklin held court. Even then, it was a beautiful place to play among the cork and pine trees.
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