When looking to play golf in Sotogrande, you really are spoilt for choice. Within a short drive you’ll get to experience the likes of Valderrama, Real Clube de Sotogrande and San Roque but there’s a course that has quickly become recognised as one of the best golf courses in Europe at La Reserva.
With views towards the sea and framed by Andalucian countryside La Reserva feels like a private oasis with a course conditioned for tournament play throughout the year. As a former European Tour host, La Reserva combines 5 star with championship pedigree perfectly. Golfers heading here can expect a warm welcome at the palatial clubhouse as well superb practice facilities that, given its proximity to the first tee, give you a great chance to warm up before your round.
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 La Reserva prior to your trip and your thoughts about playing it for the first time?
A former YGT colleague played here many years ago with his Dad and raved about it for years afterwards so when it was announced as part of The #Greatest18 filming with Rory, Mark Crossfield and Coach Lockey I was pretty pleased that I’d get to have a go on it.
I was expecting a challenging and undulating layout and it didn’t disappoint.
What were your first impressions of La Reserva?
Well I nearly missed it as our sat nav was playing up but the entrance is as grand an entrance to a golf course that you’ll ever see. Making our way up the grand drive way we finally came to the clubhouse which has to be one of the best I’ve been to. Light and airy with an amazing terrace to watch players starting and finishing their rounds, it really was a joy to experience – thankfully we even had time for lunch before our round which was an unexpected treat given the many rounds and miles we did as part of The #Greatest18. The views from the clubhouse were great and gave a sense of the elevation changes that the course would present.
— Your Golf Travel (@yourgolftravel) October 31, 2017
I was also pleased to hit a few balls on the driving range before heading out, there is something about seeing pyramids of golf balls that make practice seem that much better. I was also pleased to have a couple of practice putts on the putting green as they were the quickest / best I’ve played on in memory. Given that it was the end of October this is an incredible feat.
What was your favourite hole at La Reserva?
We played the 17th as part of The #Greatest18 but I’d probably say that the 11th was my favourite, this is simply because of the drive that you are faced with. Off the back tees it was a real test and you felt you had to really place the ball in the fairway with trees on the right and a fairway which went over the hill towards a hidden green. Once over the hill you then hit towards the green with water on the left ready to catch any offline shots as well as a bunker on the right. All in all it just felt like a good hole with a good drive setting up the approach. This hole is reflective of most of the course at La Reserva with the hole presenting itself obviously to you when playing it, no trickery, just lush green fairways to aim at.
What is your tip for anyone playing La Reserva for the first time?
Make sure you take plenty of time to enjoy the experience. The clubhouse is fantastic and would definitely recommend it for lunch before or after your round. Whilst we didn’t have time I’d imagine that sitting on the terrace with a beer or maybe a Gin and Tonic after playing your round is a pretty good place to be. The practice facilities are first class and given the quality of the course you certainly want to be playing it to your best ability having hit a few before stepping out onto the 1st tee.
Off the course, what should we do around La Reserva?
It’s proximity to Sotogrande Marina make this a good place to head to in the evening. Whilst Thai food might not be on the agenda for most heading to this area of Spain I can recommend La Finca Fusion which couples great food in a great setting.
Where does La Reserva rank in your own personal Top 100 Golf Courses?
My Top 100 Golf Courses has an international feel to it, courtesy of over 10 years of working at Your Golf Travel but I’d say that La Reserva is going to rank as my 2nd in Spain. I’d recommend it to anyone and think it is really playable regardless of handicap, low handicappers are going to be challenged off the tee and have an absolute field day on the greens whilst higher handicaps are going to enjoy seeing the hazards clearly off the tee and keeping the ball rolling down the fairway. So whilst it won’t make my World Top 10 Golf Courses – got some in New Zealand that are hard to shift it’d easily make it into my Top 10 Golf Courses in Continental Europe amongst the likes of Finca Cortesin, Quinta do Lago (South – still love it after all these years), Monte Rei.
Want to follow in Oliver’s footsteps and take a golf holiday to La Reserva Golf Club? The best way to experience it is as part of a package including staying at Hotel Almenara (5 minute drive from La Reserva). Golfers can experience deals including 3 Nights and 3 Rounds of Golf (2 x Almenara & 1 x La Reserva) from £375.