Marbella and the Costa del Sol at the Heart of Global Golf
Back in 1988 when Valderrama hosted the first Volvo Masters, the popularity of golf in Spain was only just starting to flourish. The Costa del Sol was already well-known internationally as one of Europe’s most popular golf destinations, with its most venerable course, Parador de Málaga, having been inaugurated back in 1925.
The area’s first European Tour event, the Spanish Open, was held in Sotogrande in 1966; and in 1973, down the highway in Marbella at Las Brisas, Jack Nicklaus and Johnny Miller won the World Cup for the United States.
However, it was Valderrama’s entry into the equation that gave the game a significant impetus – showcasing the area’s magnificent golfing attractions to a larger global audience.
Just nine years after that inaugural Volvo Masters – won by Nick Faldo – Valderrama shone in even more glittering limelight. The first Ryder Cup in continental Europe was held in 1997 at the club, which by now had acquired iconic status in the world of golf.
In the intervening years, many other men’s and women’s European Tour events have been held on the Costa del Sol, with champions including Tiger Woods, Bernhard Langer, Sergio García, Matt Fitzpatrick and Málaga’s own Miguel Ángel Jiménez.
Today, the Costa del Sol alone has more than 70 golf courses, including 15 in Marbella – the highest number for any municipality in Spain. In fact, from Nueva Andalucía in the west to Elviria in the east, Marbella offers both resident and visiting players the most extensive and diverse golfing experience of any resort in Europe.
When Mijas and Sotogrande courses are added to the mix, plus others in highly-coveted urban areas along the coast, as well as exceptional property options for private home buyers and buy-to-let investors, the Costa del Sol truly is a golfing paradise.
All of this brings us to 2023, arguably the most pivotal year for the “Costa del Golf” since that historic 1997 Ryder Cup when the Seve Ballesteros-captained Europeans beat the Americans in a gripping finale.
Three major golfing tournaments are being held on the Coast this year: the LIV Golf League at Valderrama from 30 June to 2 July; the Solheim Cup at Finca Cortesín from 22 to 24 September; and the Spanish Women’s Open at Las Brisas from 23 to 26 November.
LIV Revolution at Valderrama
No other club in Spain – or indeed Europe – has the internationally celebrated history of Royal Valderrama. After its “baptism” as a European Tour venue in 1988, the exclusive private club went on to host 15 other editions of the Volvo Masters, eight Andalucía Masters, one Spanish Open, two World Golf Championships (the 1999 event was won by Tiger Woods) and the 1997 Ryder Cup.
Over the past three decades, the meticulously maintained course has consistently been ranked as Europe’s finest, but in recent years the status of its events has floundered slightly – prompting exasperation among the membership – used to be among the global tour elite.
It all came to the boil last year when the Andalucía Masters attracted another low-key field, apart from then reigning US Open winner and defending champion Matt Fitzpatrick (who missed the cut). Members then decided to end (at least for the time being) their long-standing relationship with the European Tour (now known as the DP World Tour) and agree to host the first LIV Golf event in continental Europe.
Welcoming the announcement at the time, Valderrama chief executive Javier Reviriego said, “Royal Valderrama Club has a rich history of hosting great golf tournaments, and we are excited to initiate this new partnership with LIV Golf. The quality of players that will compete at Valderrama will undoubtedly attract many European fans who are eager to see some of the best golfers in the world. We will ensure that the golf course is presented in top condition and represents a true challenge, where precision and strategy will play a key role. There is no doubt that the five LIV Golf events that we will be hosting in the coming years will further position Andalucía as one of the top golf destinations in the world.”
Historic Solheim Cup at Finca Cortesín
Twenty-six years after the history-making Ryder Cup at Valderrama, Spanish golf will come full circle in September when Finca Cortesín – a short drive from the coast in Casares municipality – hosts the women’s equivalent of the biennial match between Europe’s top stars and their United States counterparts.
Set amidst the luxurious surroundings of a luxury hotel, leisure and residential resort, the course already has an international tournament pedigree as the three-times host of the Volvo World Match Play Championship (2009, 2011 and 2012).
For golf fans living on the Coast, the organisers are planning a series of comprehensive transport arrangements including bus services from Marbella. For those still contemplating a move to the sunny Mediterranean, what better time than combining a pleasant day wandering the fairways of this stunningly picturesque course and following your favourite women’s stars with a visit to the Promas Estates offices to arrange a property tour?
Season Grand Finale at Las Brisas
This year’s top tournament action on the Costa del Sol will culminate once again with the Andalucía Costa del Sol Open de España. Held in previous seasons at two other internationally renowned clubs in Marbella’s “Golf Valley” in the popular Nueva Andalucía residential suburb (Aloha and Los Naranjos), as well as at Royal Guadalmina on the nearby coast, the event marks Las Brisas’ return to the global golf spotlight after a major course revamp.
As the final event of the 2023 Ladies European Tour, the tournament will also crown the winner of the season-long Race to Costa del Sol order of merit. Last year, when the event was played at the Alferini course in the Anantara Villa Padierna Palace Benahavís Marbella Resort, Caroline Hedwall and Linn Grant made it a Swedish double, winning the Open trophy and the Race title, respectively.
If you would like the opportunity to play golf in the sun throughout the year, Promas Estates has a superb portfolio of properties throughout Marbella and other popular areas of the Costa del Sol, including frontline golf villas and luxurious apartments within walking distance (or a short golf cart ride) of some of Europe’s finest courses.