With its stunning natural beauty, cultural wonders, and vibrant city life, it is little wonder that Spain has become one of the top tourism destinations in the world.
Spain is No. 1 in the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index, an annual report issued by the World Economic Forum. With its geographical location on the Iberian Peninsula providing comfortable weather, it is not surprising that golf is a big part of the tourism in Spain.
There are numerous courses we could have listed here. While we could not have possibly listed all the great courses in Spain in one article, we have chosen a representative sample of some of the best.
PGA CatalunyaThis course boasts that it is the No. 1 golf course in the entirety of Spain, and that is hard to argue against. Home to a number of European PGA Tour events over the years, including the Spanish Open three times, Catalunya is nestled in the northeastern part of the country.
That location provides cooler temperatures than you will find farther south in Spain, with more of a French resort feel than other locations. That cooler weather means terrific growing conditions. The two championship 18-hole courses are almost always in fantastic condition, which is great for trying out your best hybrid clubs.
Since these courses were designed to host professional events, it is unsurprising to note these are long courses. However, with five different tees, chances are you can find one that fits your game.
This is not just among the best golf resorts in Spain, but in the entire world. Without being one of the most expensive.
Catalunya is a mere 90 kilometers from Barcelona, and just a 20-minute drive from the beaches on the Balearic Sea, the resort still manages to feel secluded, nestled among the mountains near Girona.
This is a must-see for golfers and non-golfers alike.
We head south for our next selection, to the Santana Golf and Country Club. Located in farming territory in Costa del Sol, Santana is making a name for itself in the region after opening in 2004.
It is not a long course and the relatively flat landscape makes it easy to walk. That does not mean the course is not challenging. This course is set just off the coast of the Mediterranean and it feels like it.
You do not have to stray far off line to find yourself among either orange groves or avocado trees, both of which are grown in large numbers here. But it is tricky, undulating greens that can really trip you up. There is some water that comes in to play, further complicating play.
This beautiful course is also home to some wildlife, including the occasional eagle. We mean the real kind. Two under on one hole might be rarer.
Mijas Golf Club
There are two 18-hole courses here, offering some very real differences. Both are part of Mijas Golf Club. These are Robert Trent Jones designed courses that, like Santana, fit in nicely with the scenery of the Costa del Sol.
The Los Lagos (Lakes) course opened in 1976 with generous fairways and large greens. And lakes, of course, make up a fair portion of the course.
Los Olivos (Olives) opened almost a decade later. It is both shorter and tighter than the Lakes course, and sits in hillier terrain.
Mijas might be a good way to start your golf vacation, as it is not as punishing as some others on this list. Expect the greens to be in good shape here, although the fairways may need some time after recent repairs.
Just a bit up the coast near Mercia sits La Torre Golf Resort. This one is better suited for mid- to high-handicappers, as it more of a corporate-style course with a par of 68. There is a premium on shot-making, even if you sometimes leave the driver in the bag.
Designed by the company owned by Jack Nicklaus, La Torre also has top-notch practice facilities.
This is a complete resort, and not just a golf course. You have plenty of other recreational opportunities, including tennis and paddle ball courts, swimming pools and lakes, apartments, condos, and villas, and everything else you would associate with a Mediterranean-style resort.
The area gets more than 300 days of sunshine per year on average.
Desert SpringsOften referred to as Spain’s first desert-style course, Desert Springs offers a stark contrast to many of the lush courses dotting the landscape. Well, you will still find lush conditions on course, but venture too far off track and you can get yourself in some serious trouble.
Dry river beds create hardpan conditions dotted with scrub brush, cactus, and rocks endemic to the desert.
The Indiana course opened in 2001 and resembles courses you might find in southern California in the United States.
Opening a year later was the Valle del Este course, the more difficult of the two. More water comes into play on this course.
Indiana course architect Peter McAvoy has said he wanted to create a course with wide and forgiving fairways, while maintaining the challenges desert golf is known for.
Meloneras Golf CourseIf you are looking for more of an exotic getaway, Meloneras Golf Club in Gran Canaria could be a nice diversion. Located in the Grand Canary Islands off the west coast of Africa, this is nonetheless a part of Spain, despite the great distance from the European mainland.
The course itself winds its way around Meloneras Bay, with nine holes offering mountain views and the other nine facing the ocean.
The par-71 course is intended to start off easy and get increasingly difficult as you make your way around the course.
You get everything you would expect at a resort course here, with a pro shop, practice green, driving range, and golf carts equipped with GPS.
As you can see, Spain offers a tremendous variety in its golf course offerings, all the way from the north of the country near France to the Canary Islands off Africa.
You are almost guaranteed to see beautiful sites, along with terrific weather conditions that offers the ability for year-round play.