Platinum Clubs® of the World – Club Spotlight
REAL CLUB VALDERRAMA is located in Sotogrande, Andalucia, the largest and southern-most region of Spain. Valderrama was recognized in 2013 and 2015 as a Top 100 Platinum Club of the World, to the delight of their General Manager, Mr Javier Reviriego. “We work hard to provide an experience for our Members and Guests that exceeds expectations. Platinum Clubs of the World validation is a reward that makes our Members and Staff truly proud”, said Mr Reviriego in 2015. Not all Platinum Clubs of the World are as fortunate as Valderrama, which has a world-renowned golf course, the site of many professional events and a rich history.
The golf course at Valderrama has been consistently ranked as No. 1 in Continental Europe since the late 80s and has been included in GOLF Magazine’s Top 100 Courses in the World since 1999. The Par 71 Championship Course measures 6,356 meters (6,951 yards) from the back tees. The fairways have been described by top pros and leading golf writers as the best in Europe, if not the world. It is not an easy course—nor was it intended to be. It is designed so as to call forth thought and precision for every shot.
The course was designed in 1974 by Robert Trent Jones, Sr., one of the great golf course architects, and was originally known as Las Aves (Sotogrande New). In 1984, Mr. Jaime Ortiz-Patiño, acquired the golf course and committed to bringing the course to an extraordinary level, never seen before in Europe. Robert Trent Jones willingly agreed to come back and redesign his original layout of 10 years earlier. Together, the two men spent many hours walking around the course and discussing where and how improvements should be made.
The course was renamed Valderrama, after the ancient estate on which the land is situated. The pair shared a common aim: to create a course that would present a test of golf to the everyday golfer and the first-class player alike, and would bring out the best golf that is in them. Valderrama has since risen in the Golf World rankings to become the No.1 golf course in mainland Europe, a position proudly held since 1989. No championship course in modern times has so swiftly achieved such recognition.
As early as 1988, Valderrama began to host the newly-launched Volvo Masters, the flagship tournament of the PGA European Tour, and continued to do so until 2009. In 1997, the Club hosted the 32nd Ryder Cup, won by Europe in a most thrilling finish. Valderrama remains today, the only Club ever to have hosted golf’s pinnacle event outside its traditional homelands, the U.S. and Britain. The tone for the Ryder Cup event was set by Severiano Ballesteros, the Europe captain, when he walked the course with John Paramor, the chief tournament director. “I found everything perfect”, he said. “It’s impossible to imagine a golf course in better condition.”
Next, in 1999 and 2000, Valderrama went on to host the first two editions of the WGC-American Express Championship, which were won by Tiger Woods and Mike Weir, respectively. Since 2010, Valderrama is home of the Andalucia Masters, one of the European Tour’s most prestigious tournaments.
Like all great courses, there is the need for ongoing renovations and upgrades. The Club is working on a Master Plan developed by Kyle Phillips as it looks to reach new heights among the world’s greatest golf courses.