Spanish culture is vibrant and strong and infiltrates everything from the food to the music to the sport! And if you’re a golf fan, you’ll be excited to know that the culture runs deep in the Spanish golfing world too, with plenty of history behind their top golf courses.
While football is definitely the most popular sport in the country, golf is well-established in the country. It’s well worth spending some time on the Spanish golf courses if you love the sport, and if you’re a history buff too, you’ll enjoy the experience even more.
In this article, we’re exploring Spain’s historic golf courses and the close link between golf and culture in the country.
Spain’s Historic Golf Courses
The first step to understanding the link between golf and culture in Spain is to look at the country’s most historic golf courses. Here are some of the clubs and courses that are steeped in Spanish history.
Real Club de Golf de Las Palmas has the distinction of being Spain’s very first golf course! Located on the island of Gran Canaria, it was established back in 1891 but had to be moved in the 1950s due to urban expansion. It’s a spectacular course located at the edge of a volcanic crater (the driving range knocks golf balls into the crater!).
The Count of Churruca founded this golf course back in 1912, originally named the Barcelona Golf Club, the first in the city. It went through multiple name changes throughout the years, settling on Real Club de Golf El Prat in 1954 after a location change.
It had to move again in the late 1990s, and the current layout features 45 holes in total. It’s hosted the Spanish Open an impressive 10 times!
This club was established in 1895, and it remains one of the most historical and traditional courses in the country. It’s a private club, open only to members and their guests, and has hosted the Madrid Open 18 times.
This club opened in 1910 but was moved to a new location on the side of Mount Jaizkibel in the late 1960s. It’s a private club, so it’s open to members and their guests only.
King Alfonso XIII and Queen Maria Cristina inaugurated this historic club in 1916, making it the 4th oldest club in the country. Just a few years later, the clubhouse burnt to the ground, leaving it desolate for decades until it was rebuilt in 1973. It’s a 9-hole links course, which makes it different from the others.
This club isn’t steeped in local history as much as the others, having only opened in 1964. However, it was renowned golf architect Robert Trent Jones’ first European design, which put it on the map as a historic course.
Although this Madrid club was only formed in the 1960s, it lies on historic ground. The course sits within El Bosque de La Herrería, land acquired by Felipe II for the purpose of maintaining the Royal Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, built in the late 16th century.
Golf and Culture in Spain
Aside from the historical golf courses that are intertwined with Spanish culture, golf, and culture intersect in many other ways. When you play a round on a Spanish golf course, you’re getting a full Spanish experience, not just a game of golf!
Many of the older golf clubs throughout Spain feature traditional Spanish architecture. For example, the clubhouse of Real Golf Club of San Sebastián features traditional construction elements found in the old Basque farmhouses.
Others, like the La Herreria Royal Golf Club, have a more modern design. However, this particular club also has stunning views of the Royal Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, which is a spectacular example of Spanish architecture that’s absolutely photo-worthy.
Most golf courses are also within close distance of lovely landmarks that feature typical Spanish architecture. Real Club de Golf de Sotogrande, for example, is in close proximity to Jerez de la Frontera, which features many cultural attractions. Wherever you are, there are some beautiful architectural gems nearby.
Food & Wine
All golf courses feature an on-site restaurant, and most of them serve local Spanish food. One of the greatest things about Spanish culture is its cuisine, so if you’re looking for a truly Spanish experience, don’t miss your chance to enjoy a traditional Spanish meal after swinging your clubs on the course.
Dishes like paella, gazpacho, croquetas, and plenty of desserts can be enjoyed at most clubhouse restaurants. You’ll also be able to savor a local beer or wine with your meal, making the experience a fully cultural one as well as a sporting one! And don’t miss the coffee to round off your dining experience.
Planning Your Golfing Trip to Spain
Ready to visit Spain and enjoy the historical golf courses and cultural attractions it has to offer? Here’s our advice for planning your golfing trip to Spain.
- Plan in advance. You can save money by booking accommodation early, and you’ll also avoid having to settle for second-best if everything is fully booked.
- Choose spring or fall. April, May, September, and October are the best times to golf. The weather is beautiful, and so is the scenery!
- Decide if you want to take your own clubs. Many clubs allow you to rent golf clubs, so figure out which would be the best option for you.
- Pick your courses. There are over 400 courses in Spain, so it’s a good idea to choose which ones you want to play and structure your vacation around that.
- Book tee times in advance. Avoid disappointment by making sure you get the tee times you want!
- Pack for the expected weather. If you’re going in spring/summer, be sure to take a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen! In colder months, bundle up a little more.
- Check golf course rules. Make sure you’ve dressed appropriately for each course’s rules. Check this beforehand!
Make time to see the sights. Don’t forget there are plenty of cultural experiences to enjoy aside from golf! Take time to experience them, and don’t forget to take photos!