Valderrama, Spain

Valderrama has for many years been amongst the best courses is Spain and located in the Sotogrande area close to Gibraltar.  I have played the course a couple of times and recently (July 2017) during a holiday in Spain. We booked a tee time online where they are open for visitors at several mid day tee times. We arrived a couple of hours prior to tee off and had lunch before we went on the range for a bit of warmup.

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Proshop with a good selection of items.

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Locker rooms for guests
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A nice driving range with good greens to aim at.

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Good sized putting green close to the 1st tee
We also booked a caddie to guide us around the course and that turned out to be a good decision as he was especially good a giving putting directions.

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Hole 1, par 4, 339m
I played the course from the white tees and the course is relatively short, but you need accuracy from the tee to score well.

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approach to 1st green
I hit a good drive and had 95m to the pin. As you can see the approach is narrow.

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1st green
It is only when I reached the first green I realized how narrow it is. Generally the greens are quite small targets on Valderrama, but very good and running well.

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Looking back down the first hole

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Walking off the first green we saw this little advertisement installed in a tree. Probably they have noticed yet, otherwise I would assume it would have been removed.

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Hole 2, par 4, 345m
Another short par 4 but again you need to be accurate to give you a good angle to the green.

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approach to 2nd green
My tee shot hit the tree and ended up behind the it as you can see above. It was contemplating how to play it – either through the V in the tree or just play it safe under and leave myself a short pitch. I went for what my Caddie called the “Seve” shot through the trees and it was one of the few times I actually pulled it of and it went perfectly through and landed on the fringe of the green which was turned into a par.

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hole 3, par 3, 153m
A downhill par 3 with a couple of well placed bunkers and run off on the other side of the green. I hit a good shot 2m from the pin, but missed the birdie putt.

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Hole 4, Par 5, 488m

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4th green
Hole 4 is beatiful with a small green protected by water. I hit what a thought was a perfect approach shot on my 3rd from 78m, but it just landed in first rough and stayed there. The green has several tiers and I was chipping downhill from a poor lie and got a bogey. Again it requires precise approach shots to small greens and you are immediately put under pressure if you miss the greens.

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looking back down the 4th

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Hole 5, Par 4, 332m
Again a short par 4, but I missed my drive left into the trees and had no shot to the green. Had to play it out safe and made bogey.

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5th green, well protected…

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Hole 6, par 3, 138m
A really nice par 3 and well designed with all the bunkers around it. My first shot went into the front right bunker and resulted in another bogey.

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Hole 7, Par 4, 390m
One of the longer par 4s where I missed my drive left and had to lay up.

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approach to 7th
I hit a really good pitch shot and made a gimmie par which was after 3 bogeys.

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Hole 8, Par 4, 296m
A short par 4 which is pretty straight forward and requires a 200m shot into the fairway to have a good line to the well protected green. I hit my hybrid right into the trees and again had to rely a good approach to save par.

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Hole 9, Par 4, 386m

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Hole 10, Par 4, 333m
I really liked the 10th hole. A short dogleg right where you can get close to the green if you drive over the corner, but it brings water into play. I played safe with a hybrid to the corner of the dogleg and left myself a 9 iron to the green.

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Approach to 10th green
I came up a bit short of the green and the slope took the ball well down the fairway and left myself a really difficult chip up the hill to the green. I actually thought my approach shot was quite good, but learned that being short is not an option – double bogey.

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Hole 11, Par 5, 476m
A nice par 5 uphill. The tee shot is actually quite forgiving if you miss it left, so one of the easier driving holes, but on the other the green is extremely small protected by large bunkers which I found.

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approach to 11th

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hole 12, par 3, 180m
Another good looking par 3 with lots of trees and bunkers. It was playing 190m with the wind and made a tough hole. I played it poorly and made double bogey again.

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12th green

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hole 14, par 4, 315m
A short par 4 where I played a hybrid just short of the rough where the fairway ends and you have a severe uphill shot where you can’t see the pin.

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Approach to 14th
I hit a decent approach and made par which was a relief after 2 double bogeys.

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Hole 15, Par 3, 183m
It was playing close to 200m with the pin to the right. It was like the par 3s where gradually getting more and more difficult. I missed the green left and didn’t hit a good chip…made bogey.

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View from the 17th towards the clubhouse

 

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17th green
I had really being looking forward to this hole after watching it on TV many times. It is a fairly short par 5 and if you hit a decent tee shot is definitely reachable and a good risk/reward hole. I made bogey after a poor tee shot and approach shot.

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Hole 18, par 4, 397m
A strong finishing hole where I hit the perfect tee shot over the trees on the left corner.

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approach to 18th
Unfortunately I didn’t follow my tee shot up with a good second shot. Missed the green left and didnt manage to get up and down.

I shot 86 after a back nine in 47 with 3 double bogeys. My tee shots where just not good enough to really shoot at decent score on Valderrama. Too many shots into the trees which left me with no approach shot and thereby resulting in bogeys.

There is a few holes I would have played a bit differently, but all in all my game was just poor. I will be looking forward to coming back and improving on the score.

The course was in good condition. You could see that the course was being used quite a bit with a few greens that were not 100%, but overall a good experience.

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