It had only been three years since the club’s inauguration when international media attention was focused on Finca Cortesín. In 2009, for the first time in 45 years, the World Match Play Championship was not held at the renowned Wentworth Club but rather at the relatively new Costa del Sol course located in Casares municipality – halfway between Sotogrande and Estepona, in a former farm estate just over one kilometre from the sea. Englishman Ross Fisher won the final match 4&3 against Anthony Kim from the US.
In 2011 the World Match Play Championship returned to Finca Cortesín, where Englishman Ian Poulter triumphed 2&1 over compatriot Luke Donald; and in 2012, on the same stage, Northern Irishman Graeme McDowell (winner of the 2010 US Open at Pebble Beach) beat Thai Thongchai Jaidee 2&1.
Thanks to the worldwide media attention and the unquestionable quality of both its golf course and the rest of the resort's facilities (clubhouse, hotel, spa...), Finca Cortesín quickly became an international benchmark for the finest golf.
It is not surprising at all that this exclusive resort, opened in March 2006 and located on a 215-hectare estate, is recognised worldwide for offering an extraordinary golf experience. Rated among the best golf courses in Spain in major rankings lists and by specialist media, Finca Cortesín is highlighted by a harmonious relationship between the natural Mediterranean landscape and the environment that helped facilitate a highly attractive design for the 18-hole course, while the excellent climate throughout the year provides the ideal scenario to play golf.
Designed by American Cabell B. Robinson, a key collaborator of the legendary Robert Trent Jones, and with attractive landscaping by Gerald Huggan, the course is one of the longest in Europe, at 6,802 metres. The par-72 layout features large and undulating greens, wide fairways and more than 100 bunkers strategically distributed around the course, which offers views of both the sea and the Casares mountains. The driving range is located at the foot of the resort's elegant clubhouse.
As to be expected of a resort that has one of the 50 finest hotels in the world (according to travel Condé Nast Traveler magazine), providing exceptional customer service is at the heart of the Finca Cortesín experience.
Already recognised for its attention to detail, Finca Cortesín Hotel, Golf & Spa received even greater acclaim in 2017 after it had completed a comprehensive update of the greens, becoming the first golf course in Spain to have on all its greens the new environmentally-friendly Bermuda grass type UltraDwarf.
Ecological awareness is another of the resort’s key commitments. It received worldwide recognition from the International Association of Golf Tour Operators (IAGTO) after being named as the winner of the 2018 IAGTO Sustainability Award for the efficient use of its resources.
Why One of Spain’s finest?
James Beesley, director of golf operations at Finca Cortesín, is very clear why this course should be considered one of Spain’s finest.
"The design and routing of the course are outstanding," he says. "The design by Cabell Robinson and the attractive landscaping by Gerald Huggan magnificently capture the natural characteristics of the area, complementing the ideal balance between 20 varieties of flora, the typical Mediterranean forest and Bermuda grass that is perfectly maintained on the course.
“With spectacular views and changes in elevation, impeccably defined fairways, water hazards, and soft and fast greens, it is widely considered to be among the top designs in Europe – and this has been reflected in the many awards the course has won in recent years."
For Beesley, “the excellent state of the course and attention to the smallest details make playing at Finca Cortesín a challenging and true test of a golfer's ability; while, at the same time, being surrounded by an aesthetically exceptional and natural environment.
"A good illustration of this is the resort's recent decision to become the first course in Spain to introduce a new type of organic Bermuda grass on our greens, which makes them fast and smooth – and look impeccable and consistent all year long.”
What is in your opinion the most outstanding aspect of Finca Cortesín?
Finca Cortesín is known throughout the golf industry for the constant high level of its facilities and customer service, and I think this is what distinguishes us from other courses.
The resort has underlined its commitment to excellence over the last two years with a continuous investment, working with 59club and European Tour Destinations to help improve the experience offered to luxury customers. Despite only being a member of European Tour Destinations since 2017, Finca Cortesín has won one of its main awards two years in a row, for “Best Personnel Operation”, and received the highest honour for “Best Personnel Commitment” in 2018.
As you would expect from a resort rated as one of the 50 finest hotels in the world, delivering exceptional service is the essence of the experience we offer. On arrival, the security guard directs guests to the appropriate parking lot, where players can leave their golf equipment with our player service assistant, who will ensure that the clubs are placed in the corresponding buggy before starting the round. There are extensive practice facilities available for players, with complimentary practice balls and fresh fruit to ensure you go to the first tee well-prepared for the unforgettable golf ahead.
In addition, our guests can also enjoy the recently improved Jack Nicklaus Golf Academy, which features latest golf swing technology as well as offering an exclusive five-star experience for club use, with some of the best sets of clubs including brands such as Honma Golf.
What is the star hole on the course, and why?
The 13th is our “signature hole”. It is a spectacular par-4 where players can direct their drive to a wide fairway, avoiding a water hazard that runs to the left of the fairway and in front of the green. The right and left bunkers complete what is one of the most beautiful approaches in Spain. It is a charming and enticing hole, surrounded by olive trees. The green is wide and inclined, allowing several different flag positions.
What distinguishes Finca Cortesín from other golf courses or resorts?
At the level of luxury service and customer experience, I think there is no other place in Europe that can rival us. From the moment they arrive to the moment they leave, the resort goes out of its way to ensure that golfers receive the best luxury experience, on and off the golf course.
In addition to an excellent golf course, the resort's other five-star facilities include an elegant 67-suite hotel, Hotel Cortesín, a 6,000-square-metre beach club and an award-winning spa with the only snow cave in Spain, with tailored treatments using the French beauty brand Biologique Recherche.
The Cortesín Hotel offers the option of four restaurants, including El Jardín de Lutz, which serves authentic Spanish cuisine, and the Japanese restaurant Kabuki Raw. The development also presents an exclusive collection of villas that are available for purchase or rent.
Will the course once again host an international-level professional tournament?
Finca Cortesín received many excellent comments when we had the honour of organising one of the most prestigious golf tournaments in the world, the Volvo World Match Play Championship, in 2009, 2011 and 2012. Thanks to its design, the course is ideal for hosting match play competitions, and we would be happy to organise a professional tournament of a similar style in the future.
In Seve’s Memory
"Seve, Seve, Seve, my name next to yours." The first words by Ian Poulter at Finca Cortesín, with the 2011 World Match Play Championship champion trophy in hand, were to honour the memory of the Cantabrian legend, a five-time winner of the tournament.
World's Top Three
The 2011 edition of the World Match Play Championship, held at Finca Cortesín, brought together the best cast of players in tournament history: no fewer than the leading three players in the world rankings: Lee Westwood, Luke Donald and Martin Kaymer.
Quality Has a Price
Quality, of both the product and the service, has a price, and if you want to enjoy one of the great golf courses in Spain you have to pay between €260 and €320, depending on the season. Buggy and practice balls are included.
CABELL B. ROBINSON
On the Costa del Sol, where he has lived for the past 49 years, Cabell B . Robinson is – together with Robert Trent Jones – the most prolific designer, with seven courses bearing his signature: Finca Cortesín, Santana, La Reserva de Sotogrande, La Cala (three 18-hole layouts) and Valle Romano. Cabell B. Robinson is one of Europe’s most renowned golf designers.
Born in 1941, the American received a bachelor of arts in history from Princeton University, went on to study at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, later completed his bachelor of landscape architecture at the University of California-Berkeley and, after finishing his studies, began working for Robert Trent Jones.
In 1970, Cabell moved to Europe to run Jones’ office on the Old Continent, and in 1987 he established his own company. Before moving across to Europe, Cabell had designed two courses in the United States and one in Puerto Rico. Subsequently, he was involved with the design and construction of every Jones course in Europe from 1971 to 1987, after opening the European office.
On becoming his own boss, in Spain Cabell designed La Cala, La Reserva, Santana, Valle Romano, Finca Cortesín, Las Colinas and Castillo de la Mota. He also created courses in France, Portugal, Switzerland, Italy, Cyprus and Morocco – including Praia del Rey (Portugal) and Evian Resort Golf Course (France).