What are the best golf courses in Spain? The Golf World Top 100 panel ranks and rates them.
Let’s begin our countdown of the best golf courses in Spain. Head over to our ‘How we did it‘ for more information on the criteria we used to rank these extraordinary courses, our scoring system and the judging panel.
And, once you’ve enjoyed this ranking, please do take a look at some of our others – from the best courses in England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Europe and the USA, to GB&I’s best links, the most fun courses to play and the finest resorts in Europe and the World has to offer, we’ve got it covered.
Chris Bertram, Golf World Top 100 Editor
Design 26.7 Setting 12.9 Memorability 11.2 Playability 8.3 Consistency 7.6 Presentation 7.8 Total 74.5
If views are your thing, head for our last course in the Top 70. D’Aro is epic in that regard, sitting between the gorgeous beaches of the Mediterranean on one side and Les Gavarres Natural Park on the other. Designed by Ramon Espinosa in 1990, no-one ever came here and felt let down.
69. El Rompido
Design 28.7 Setting 11.4 Memorability 11.2 Playability 7.3 Consistency 7.9 Presentation 8.1 Total 74.6
A robust, modern course that was opened in 2006 and though it is a long way round, we like it. Like its sister the South, it was designed by Alvaro Arana and is a mixture of typical Spanish parkland with another section through protected marshland. Nice views complement a pleasant experience.
68. Real Pineda
Design 27.7 Setting 11.4 Memorability 11.2 Playability 8.3 Consistency 7.9 Presentation 8.2 Total 74.7
Part of an historic sports complex that stretches back to 1940, this course in the heart of Seville is mature and playable. Set down over relatively flat land, it is defended by a mixture of small greens and water hazards – but this is a course to be enjoyed rather than battled with.
Sant Jordi, Castellon
Design 27.8 Setting 11.6 Memorability 10.8 Playability 8.6 Consistency 7.4 Presentation 8.5 Total 74.7
Designed by Bernhard Langer and opened in 1995, Panoramica is set within a gorgeous estate surrounded by olive and carob trees. The club is located in Sant Jordi, in Castellón, and you can expect water hazards on many holes, which are also defined and defended by a large number of small trees.
66. Golf Del Sur
Design 27.8 Setting 11.7 Memorability 10.9 Playability 8.7 Consistency 7.0 Presentation 8.6 Total 74.7
Designed by Pepe Gancedo (remodelled in 2005 by Manuel Piñero) and opened in 1987, it hosted the Tenerife Open in 1989, 1992, 1993 and 1994. It also staged a 1995 Shell Wonderful World of Golf match between Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els. Noted for its views and black volcanic sand bunkers.
65. Guadalmina (South)
Design 28.6 Setting 12.0 Memorability 10.9 Playability 8.7 Consistency 7.0 Presentation 7.6 Total 74.8
Built in 1959, within six years the South had hosted the Spanish Championship. It starts among residential areas, but becomes a lot more tranquil by the par-5 6th. The highlight comes after the turn, with the Mediterranean the key factor; the short 11th plays directly alongside the beach.
63. Los Naranjos
Design 28.0 Setting 11.0 Memorability 11.9 Playability 8.6 Consistency 6.5 Presentation 8.8 Total 74.8
Los Naranjos, which celebrated its 40th birthday in 2016, is located in a really swish corner of the Costa del Sol. The nines are acutely distinct, though share the same superb conditioning. The front nine has lots of elevation change as it moves across hills, whereas the lesser back nine is very flat.
63. La Finca
Design 28.0 Setting 11.5 Memorability 11.9 Playability 7.8 Consistency 8.0 Presentation 8.5 Total 75.7
There are three courses in the La Finca stable – also Villamartin and Las Ramblas – and we think this is the best of them. It was designed by Pepe Gancedo and is characterised by generous fairways, but mainly by greens that vary in size and shape. Now in better condition than ever.
62. La Cala (Asia)
La Cala de Mijas, Andalucia
Design 28.7 Setting 11.0 Memorability 10.9 Playability 8.7 Consistency 8.0 Presentation 8.6 Total 75.9
The first of La Cala’s courses to open in 1989 is now better than ever after a major renovation that saw all greens upgraded to Bermuda grass to guarantee smooth surfaces all year round, as well as all its bunkers being fully refurbished. It was the second piece in the La Cala regeneration jigsaw after the America course saw its 4th and 15th holes enhanced and all bunkers upgraded.
Asia – whose bunkers were also renovated to improve the course’s visual appeal and conditioning – was closed for two months to carry out the work, which was done using the best-practice No-Till method. Without the successful renovation, the Asia would have missed out on joining its sibling in this ranking.
As it is, La Cala’s third course is a cute, entertaining and now exceptionally well-presented older sister to the resort’s big two. “The new Bermuda-grass greens are among the best in the Costa del Sol all-year round and unquestionably the most environmentally friendly,” says resort director Sean Corte-Real.
61. La Zagaleta (New)
Design 29.8 Setting 11.4 Memorability 12.4 Playability 6.7 Consistency 7.0 Presentation 8.6 Total 75.9
The New at this uber-exclusive club opened in 2005 and blends in superbly with its natural surroundings. Expect sharp dog-legs and acute changes in elevation on an imaginative routing across raunchy terrain. The New offers even more drama than the Old, with lots of risk-reward holes.
60. La Moraleja (No.2)
Design 28.8 Setting 11.0 Memorability 10.9 Playability 8.7 Consistency 8.0 Presentation 8.6 Total 76.0
The fourth of La Moraleja’s entries was designed by Ron Kirby when he worked for Jack Nicklaus Design. The American-style course sees fairways slide between bunkers and water. It was the host of the 1997 Spanish Open, won by Mark James in a play-off with Greg Norman.
La Gomera, Canaries
Design 26.8 Setting 14.6 Memorability 14.0 Playability 6.2 Consistency 6.9 Presentation 7.5 Total 76.0
Located on a spectacular cliff in the south of tiny La Gomera, with magnificent views of the sea. Despite its extraordinary site, it is just about playable. With its tricky elevation changes, an attractive design and almost eerie tranquillity, it is well worth making the trip if you are on nearby Tenerife.
58. Mijas (Lagos)
Design 29.0 Setting 12.0 Memorability 12.4 Playability 7.8 Consistency 7.5 Presentation 7.3 Total 76.0
One of the best of the Costa del Sol courses outside the big names. Robert Trent Jones designed both courses here, Los Lagos opening in 1976 and Los Olivos in 1984. As its name suggest, water hazards play a key part on Lagos – nine lie in wait, with seven appearing in the first 11 holes.
Design 29.0 Setting 11.5 Memorability 12.4 Playability 7.6 Consistency 8.0 Presentation 7.5 Total 76.0
A Robert Trent Jones Jnr layout among an arid, rocky landscape, Bonmont opened in 1990 and is characterised by intimidating ravines laid over the routing like a lattice. It incorporates nearly 100 bunkers, man-made lakes and a number of thrilling downhill drives.
56. La Galiana
Design 29.0 Setting 12.0 Memorability 11.7 Playability 7.7 Consistency 8.0 Presentation 7.6 Total 76.0
One of the youngest courses in our Spanish ranking, La Galiana sits in a valley in a well-preserved forest of typical Mediterranean trees – barely 10 miles inland from the sea – within the Costa Blanca. The course spreads over 50 hectares of land and is a playable and consistent modern test.
55. El Encin
Design 29.0 Setting 12.0 Memorability 11.7 Playability 7.4 Consistency 7.4 Presentation 8.5 Total 76.0
This modern course midway between Madrid (north west of the capital) and Guadalajara lacks a touch of character to be higher in the list as it sits on a flat landscape.
Rick Baril did a fine job of making it interesting, via clever bunkering, a couple of lakes and good greens.
54. Costa Adeje
Design 27.5 Setting 13.5 Memorability 12.7 Playability 6.9 Consistency 7.9 Presentation 7.5 Total 76.0
Designed by Pepe Gancedo with respect for the old farm terraces that slope down to the sea, Costa Adeje offers beautiful views of the ocean.
Fairways are framed by the original dry stone walls that were restored and used to border the banana plantation. Very nice holiday golf.
Buenavista del Norte, Tenerife
Design 27.9 Setting 14.1 Memorability 13.0 Playability 7.2 Consistency 6.9 Presentation 7.0 Total 76.1
Some believe the best course on this holiday island lies on its own in the north of Tenerife, not the more heavily populated south.
Seve Ballesteros laid Buenavista out on cliffs hard to the Atlantic and a more spectacular experience you will struggle to find on any of Spain’s golf islands.
52. Son Muntaner
Design 28.2 Setting 12.0 Memorability 12.7 Playability 7.9 Consistency 7.9 Presentation 7.5 Total 76.2
The best of the courses within the 54-hole Arabella complex close to Palma in Majorca. There is more character and soul to this older course, with some memorable holes and also a touch of wackiness at times. In super condition, Son Muntaner offers an entertaining round.
51. La Coruña
La Coruña, Galicia
Design 30.0 Setting 12.0 Memorability 11.7 Playability 7.9 Consistency 7.4 Presentation 7.2 Total 76.2
A Philip Mackenzie Ross (Turnberry fame) design from 1961, La Coruña sits inland from the Bay of Biscay and plays through avenues of trees.
There are numerous water hazards to negotiate at this pedigree course – not least on the closing stretch. Links enthusiast Ross laid it out in returning nines.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Chris Bertram is the Golf World Top 100 Editor.
He was born and brought up in Dumfriesshire and has been a sports journalist since 1996, initially as a junior writer with National Club Golfer magazine.
Chris then spent four years writing about football and rugby union for the Press Association but returned to be Editor and then Publisher of NCG before joining Golf World and Today’s Golfer as Senior Production Editor.
He has been freelance since 2010 and when he is not playing and writing about the world’s finest golf courses, he works for BBC Sport.
A keen all-round sportsman, Chris plays off 11 – which could be a little better if it wasn’t for hilariously poor lag putting which has to be seen to be believed.