Finca Cortesin is rightly considered to be one of the best golf courses in Europe. Located in a picturesque stretch in Spain between Marbella and Sotogrande, Finca Cortesin has attracted some of the world’s best golfers in 2009, 2011 and 2012 as host of The Volvo World Match Play Championship.
This tournament pedigree is matched by a luxury five-star service that is evident throughout your experience at Finca Cortesin. As home to one of Spain’s most luxurious hotels, the golf experience mirrors this perfectly with an arrival service and collection of golf bags that would match the likes of Loch Lomond or Queenwood. Whilst many will know Finca for its golf course, the service and everything around it is something that will surprise and impress you at every turn.
This must play is brought to you by Oliver from YGT’s Marketing department, he plays off a handicap of 1 at Kingswood Golf & Country Club in Surrey.
What did you know about Finca Cortesin prior to your trip and your thoughts about playing it for the first time?
I’d watched the Volvo World Matchplay there on TV and was well aware of it as a must play in Spain, we always had great reviews from customers.
One of the things that pops into my head about Finca Cortesin was Ian Poulter playing a shot from a tricky lie next to cart path and him falling over on his follow through.
I played it as part of The #Greatest18 filming that Rory and I did with Mark Crossfield and Coach Lockey. Once we knew it was part of the itinerary it was definitely going to be one of the highlights of the trip, I was just hoping that my golf could do it justice!
What were your first impressions of Finca Cortesin?
The welcome and service on arrival were far higher than I expected, I was aware of the hotel but the meet and greet by the reception and collection of bags in preparation for our tee time was an unexpected surprise and something I’ve only ever experienced at the likes of Queenwood or a high end resort / course in the USA.
The clubhouse was light and airy and perhaps the best thing about it is the location of the driving range which is literally feet from the proshop, as small a thing as this sounds it really is a treat and you feel guilty not hitting a few balls away before you play – plus from the elevated position even an offline shot is made to feel pretty good as you watch the ball hang in the air, framed perfectly by the hills that provide an impressive backdrop to this luxury golfing experience.
— Your Golf Travel (@yourgolftravel) November 1, 2017
What was your favourite hole at Finca Cortesin?
There are a lot of great holes at Finca but I’d have to say the one we played as part of The #Greatest18 was great due to the design. The 13th hole is a 420 yard par-4 with a large fairway with a bunker in play for anything fading to the right. With a large green, protected by sand again, a tree short and right as well as a small creek short it really is picture perfect and not like anything we’d played before as part of the trip. I think this hole is pretty typical of most of Finca Cortesin, it isn’t a course where you’d simply hit driver on every hole, instead it requires you to plot your way round, putting the ball into position as you navigate your way round.
What is your tip for anyone playing Finca Cortesin for the first time?
Firstly I’d say pick the tees suitable for your group. We were fortunate enough to play off the back tees but that won’t be the best option for everyone, some of the holes have large carries and do require accurate tee shots. Whilst the accuracy will remain regardless of your tee choice, the carry will certainly be shortened by playing off the normal tees of the day.
Some holes really do require some planning as you play them, the par-5 11th hole is testament to this, whilst it is very obvious off the tee where you need to hit it, avoiding the bunker on the left hand side, the second requires a lot more thought. Thankfully this is provided by the excellent GPS buggies that allow you to fix distances on bunkers and other parts of the hole. Whilst this might seem like a bit of overkill I guarantee you that planning your shots at Finca will save you countless shots.
Off the course, what should we do around Finca Cortesin?
I’d probably say stay there! It is an amazing spot and was a real highlight for us. It is well located for people staying in Sotogrande so as part of that I’d head to the Marina which has plenty of good dining options. If you head out to Marbella you have some great seafood restaurants as well as plenty of nightlife options – although I’d certainly recommend playing Finca Cortesin with a clear head!
Where does Finca Cortesin rank in your own personal Top 100 Golf Courses?
I’d say that Finca Cortesin is the best golf course I’ve played in Spain. We were lucky to play a lot on this trip but it was Finca and La Reserva that I enjoyed the most. It might not take the top position in my own world rankings, which is going to include the likes of Sunningdale Old and Cape Kidnappers but it’d certainly be up there. Monte Rei, for me, is a similar proposition to Finca Cortesin, the service and layout were alike but the views at Finca might just edge it. I’m really looking forward to returning and would certainly recommend it to anyone looking for a fantastic golfing experience.
Want to follow in Oliver’s footsteps and take a golf holiday to Finca Cortesin? Whilst the summer months will provide the best temperatures in the part of Spain, there are plenty of fantastic deals and sunshine to be enjoyed in the winter / autumn months. Our recommended experience includes 3 Nights at Hotel Almenara with 2 rounds of golf (1 x Almenara & 1 x Finca Cortesin) – see this and more Finca Cortesin golf holiday deals here