La Reserva Club de Golf is the latest prestigious golf course to be constructed in this corner of the Costa del Sol, joining near neighbours Valderrama, Sotogrande and San Roque in a formidable quartet of quality golfing destinations.
Yet another design of the prolific American architect Cabell B. Robinson, the course only opened for play in 2004 but many already consider it capable of hosting a national or international competition.
It is located within two valleys which join in the form of the letter "Y" and when the site was first cleared of scrub, all trees and plants with ecological and aesthetic interest were moved to a nursery then replanted in their original place.
La Reserva is long – nearly 7,400 yards from the back tees – but fairways are wide so you can afford to open your shoulders on the tees to aim at relatively generous fairways. Greens are on the large size but it is one thing to be on the putting surface in regulation and another to avoid three putting when a long way from the pin position! Water features at half a dozen holes, but apart from one hole, it does not present itself as a frontal hazard.
Both the inward and outward holes have par threes separated by long par fives. On the front nine, the 244-yard 6th has water pressurising the tee shot to the left of the green and the 205-yard 8th is played downhill to a putting surface which also has water to the left and bunkers front right and to the rear. On the back nine, the 180-yard 14th has only one bunker to the right of the green and the 159-yard 16th is played from an elevated tee to a tricky, shallow putting surface.
The European Tour returned to Sotogrande in 2014 for a new tournament that was hosted by La Reserva Golf Club. Some may think a waste management company sponsored the NH Collection Open, but NH Collection is, in fact, a hotel chain with around 400 properties in their global portfolio. Marco Crespi won the inaugural NH event, claiming his maiden European Tour title after eventually progressing through Qualifying School in 2013 at the Italian’s eleventh attempt.
A second course, designed by José María Olazábal, was planned and indeed ground was broken, but the project is currently on hold as the economic downturn continues to grip Spain. We’ll keep you informed of developments as soon as any details are released.