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  • Writer's pictureGolf on Costa del Sol

La Reserva Club Review and Playing Guide

Updated: Feb 25

Opened: 2003

Designer: Cabell Robinson


I am fresh from the 18th green of La Reserva Club, and I am in love, deeply, achingly in love with this amazing golf course! 


It is impossible to decide which is the best golf course on the Costa del Sol.

When I played the San Roque OldCourse shortly after its re-opening I felt that no golfing experience would ever surpass it. Then I was lucky enough to bathe in the magnificence of Finca Cortesin, I found myself equally as besotted even though these two championship venues differ hugely. Further confusion was brought when the Alferini Course at Villa Padierna wowed me with the most wizardly use of terrain to create a masterpiece of intimidation. The top step of my podium is congested. Until today.


La Reserva Club Golf course Marbella Sotogrande Finca Cortesin Costa del Sol Andalusia

The single focus of the team at La Reserva Club is you and your experience. One of the caddy masters met us as we arrived in the car park with our buggy. Having greeted us with genuine warmth, our clubs were whisked away whilst we visited the sublimely elegant clubhouse to order a coffee. The decor, space and ambience are of understated elegance.


We took a seat on the terrace looking over the putting green, the rolling green fairways of the 10th hole and the driving range. Everything is immaculate. No detail has been overlooked. Yet despite being pristine it retains casual warmth making one feel immediately relaxed and ready to soak up the occasion.

After coffee we drove a few meters to the driving range where another charming team member made sure that we had sufficient balls to complete our warm up (Taylormade TP5). The range is complimentary for guests prior to teeing off.


La Reserva Club is a masterclass in design from Cabell Robinson. It is true to his mandate of “hard par, easy bogey”. The rolling, broad fairways are clearly defined by the lush, verdant flora marking the periphery of each hole. Each tee shot is inviting, the challenge growing, sometimes exponentially, the closer you get to the green. There is not a single weak area of design, maintenance or presentation. It is perfect.


La Reserva Club Golf course Marbella Sotogrande Finca Cortesin Costa del Sol Andalusia

A key factor in getting the best out of your golfing experience at La Reserva Club is to choose the correct tee boxes from which to play. We elected to go from the back tees which whilst perfect for our long hitting playing partners meant that John and I were hitting long irons and woods into the par 4s. Had we moved up to the next tee box we would have been playing our second shots from the same position with 2 or 3 three clubs less. Undoubtedly it would have been easier.


Having said that, I don’t get to play courses like La Reserva Club very often, so on this occasion I wanted to see it at its toughest. I was happy to be bowed into respectful submission by this leviathan. Like San Roque, Finca Cortesin and Villa Padierna Alferini, this day will shine bright in my memory for a very long time!

There is no answer to the “best golf course on the Costa del Sol”. Along the western reaches of this golfing paradise, from Estepona to Sotogrande, there is a collection of golf courses which rise far above competing for the title of “best” but instead are recognised globally by discerning golfers as being the epicenter of high quality golf in Europe offering an experience that cannot be bettered anywhere in the world.


La Reserva Club is a championship golf course and is tough. It is also fair. Like me, you may not score well at La Reserva Club, but your day will be an event that stays vibrant in your memory for years to come!



Location



Facilities

  1. 18 Hole Championship Golf Course

  2. Courtesy use of driving range prior to tee time

  3. Club House

  4. Billiards

  5. Fine Restaurant

  6. Padel Tennis

  7. Tennis

  8. Beach club

  9. Manuel Pinero Golf Academy


Recommended Hotels


SO Sotogrande

  1. 5 Star

  2. 132 Rooms

  3. 36 Suites


Finca Cortesin

  1. 5 Star

  2. 67 Suites


La Reserva Club.  Par 72. Black Tee 6721m, White Tee 6448m, Yellow Tee 6048m, Blue Tee 5590m, Red Tee 5104m


La Reserva Club Club Front Nine Holes Par 36



La Reserva Club Club Hole 1

Par 4, Stroke Index 10, Black Tees 395m, White Tees 381m, Yellow Tees 364m, Blue Tees 344m, Red Tees 323m

Our playing partners today are our old pal and long time contributor, Dean Symonds, a well known local professional and golf director at La Resina Country Club, and his partner Jussi Harju, a young Finnish gentleman and extraordinary ball striker. Jussi’s handicap index is +0.8, he competes regularly in Spanish Federation Mid Amatuer events.


Dean and Jussi are challenging us to 18 holes of match play over this astounding golf course. JW managed to negotiate an incredible bet, 9 shots for him, 2 shots for me, but the cost of such generosity is that we play these long hitting goliaths from the black tees! The wager? A freshly minted 10 Euro note!


The first hole is a dog leg to the left, playing downhill from the elevated tee. The fairway is framed by the dense tree line on the left; the right side of the fairway is receptive to drives that opt for a conservative line.


The best line to take is along the cart path on the left, provided that your ball does not shape further left you will pass the inside corner of the dogleg at 240m and have a wonderful view as the hole opens up before you.


The fairways, rough and plant life in general are perfectly groomed and impeccably presented. It makes a striking impression. Despite the “perfection” all around you the golf course retains the feeling of being in nature. Nothing here is contrived. It is as nature intended. The best Cabell Robinson golf courses always give the impression that they were always there just waiting to be discovered!

All four of us hit decent opening tee shots. The relief was palpable. After more than 50 years of playing golf standing on the first tee of a golf course as special as La Reserva Club still brings butterflies to my stomach.


JW and I found the right side of the fairway and both had around 170m to go. The pin today was located on the front right, the most dangerous as it is close to the ravine running 30m in front of the putting surface and a small deep bunker on the front center of the apron. It would be an unnecessary mistake to challenge the flag from this range and risk disaster, both of us went slightly long on the right side apron.


From much further up the enemy had only 130m to the flag, a much easier shot. They both finished closer than us.


This green, like most here at La Reserva Club, is large. The contours are not sharp but instead smoothed over the surface area of the putting green. The effect is that the breaks are subtle and difficult to read, but they are there, long putts will often have huge breaks.  Very few putts are straight! The greens are fast, true and in immaculate condition. In fact so fast were the greens that we all three putted to half the hole in bogey!


We all agreed that this had the makings of a very special day!


La Reserva Club Hole 2

Par 5, Stroke Index 5, Black Tees 502m, White Tees 393m, Yellow Tees 460m, Blue Tees 428m, Red Tees 401m

A scenic drive from the first green to the second tee. The gardens are beautiful, everything is in order, everything is tidy without being false. It is as nature intended, albeit in this case nature has been very well groomed!


From the tee the green on this par five is on the extreme left of the fairway. A densely tree’d embankment separates the second fairway from the 8th fairway 8m below. A mishit drive on the left might bounce down to the adjacent fairway making for a tough recovery. In my case it became a permanent resident of the dense foliage on the embankment. Luckily for me it is classified as a lateral water hazard and I was able to drop my ball for a penalty at the point where it crossed the hazard line.


There is plenty of room to the right. The further to the right you go the longer you make your second shot. The rough on the right side is banked which helps to nudge balls in the right direction. A pair of bunkers lurk over there at 260m from the tee and make a good aiming point from the tee.


The trouble runs the entire length of the hole along the left side. 140m from the green centrally placed in the fairway sits a complex of three large bunkers waiting to consume layup shots. The fairway diverges around these bunkers giving a large fairway area to the right of the bunker on the high side of the fairway and a smaller target on the left.


The best lay up is to aim at the high side of the fairway on the right and get as close to the green as you can.


A fascinating hole. There are so many ways to play it. The most conservative is to lay up short of the bunker complex which leaves a difficult 150m shot into the green. Reflect for a moment upon how many par three greens you hit from 150m and you get the idea of how difficult it makes this hole! Option 2 is to aim to the right of the bunkers and make your third shot a safe shot rather than a survival shot! Option three is to attack the green with your second shot. If you can bash it 250m with your tee shot then you will have the firepower to take it on. Question is would you want to? It is a wide fairway, the only terminal trouble is to the left, making the risk reward factor very tempting indeed.


Played with authority this should be a scoring hole. A little courage could yield a birdie or net birdie.


La Reserva Club Hole 3

Par 4, Stroke Index 9, Black Tees 406m, White Tees 393m, Yellow Tees 371m, Blue Tees 338m, Red Tees 312m

Thanks to John’s tenacity we are all square in our match as we step on to the third tee. Ahead of us lies a long par 4. Looking at the fairway unfurling in front of you, the contrasting stripes of close cut fairway set between the lines of trees framing the hole you get the feeling that this is indeed a championship venue of the highest order. La Reserva Club is a very special place.


The widest part of the fairway is 250m from the tee. If you find the left half you might find that your view of the green is blocked by trees. The ideal line is the right half of the fairway.


Your line to the green from the right side will require you to fly your ball over a pair of bunkers that sit on the right flank at 75m and 45m respectively. If your strike is less than pure, a sandy lie will be your destiny!


If you find the left half of the fairway you will not have sight of the green, the trees on the left will block your access. You have two options. A) aim at two bunkers on the right and shape it to the green. B) Try to go over the top of the trees blocking your view.


From the left side of the fairway it is probable that you will need to chip and putt to make par.


From the right side a well struck shot should find the target. Any miss hit will either find those bunkers in the approaches or a further greenside bunker. The apron that surrounds the green is perfectly cut and offers a 15m buffer all around the putting surface. This is a tough hole requiring both a good drive and committed second shot. It is also extremely fair making it easy to save bogey.



La Reserva Club Hole 4

Par 4, Stroke Index 3, Black Tees 429m, White Tees 408m, Yellow Tees 386m, Blue Tees 355m, Red Tees 330m

Jussi hit a cracker up the left side of the fairway which is the perfect place to be in order to make the second shot easier on this gargantuan par four. Dean launched one, off it went like an artillery shell, in this case an errant one. Over the cart path on the left side, a hop over the boundary into oblivion. I would love to be able to hit it that hard, I wouldn’t care where it went.


The fairway is canted from left to right which makes it easier to take the tiger line. It also runs uphill all the way to the green making this 470 yard par four out of range for all but those that hit the ball like Jussi and Dean!


The 3rd fairway sits on the right offering a safe haven for those in need. This is a generous fairway, however if you miss it you will suffer. An extreme miss on the left, i.e, out of bounds will cost you two shots, a miss to the right is an almost sure bogey.


The openness on the right comes to an abrupt end at 270m from the tee whereupon dense Mediterranean forest marked with red stakes makes the rest of the hole desperately narrow! The widest point for lay up shots to aim at comes 75m from the green and gives you an available girth of 25m.


As you might expect on such a long and difficult hole the green is large and welcoming with plenty of aprons on three sides giving those able to bash the ball far enough plenty of target to go at.


This is one of the great par fours!


Somehow JW and I are hanging on, still all square in the match. The standard of golf is not scintillating in stark contrast to the golf course which most assuredly is!

La Reserva Club Hole 5

Par 3, Stroke Index 14, Black Tees 164m, White Tees 160m,  Yellow Tees 147m, Blue Tees 130m, Red Tees 115m.

The first of the par threes.


A less enlightened course designer might, when commissioned to create a championship golf course,  be tempted to stretch the par three holes to unfeasible dimensions. Not so with Mr Robnison. A delicious par three of 164m from the back tees which is a seven or eight iron for the brutes that frequent the black boxes. Interestingly, for JW from the yellow boxes it is also a 7 iron. This is a sign of supremely well thought out design. 


Playing downhill a large bunker guards the front access to the green. Set in an avenue of trees the green is wider than the avenue, which is delightful as it fills the player with a real sense of hope!


There is a lay up area short of the green which means a mishit tee shot, provided it is straight is still salvageable.


Whilst the green is the widest part of the hole it is shallow. All 4 of our tee shots found the back edge of the green. This hole plays one club shorter than the numbers suggest. All four of us managed to make par. An extremely pleasing hole.


La Reserva Club Hole 6

Par 5, Stroke Index 12, Black Tees 496m, White Tees 480m, Yellow Tees 459m, Blue Tees 440m, Red Tees 419m.

A par five close to 500m in length with out of bounds on the right and banked rough on the left. Jussi decreed that the shot to hit here is a fade, moving the ball from left to right to match the shape of the fairway and hopefully sneak past the corner of the dog leg. His swing double-crossed him and the intended fade became a pull to the left. I offered my condolences. I am afraid that my inner delight shone through.


The hole plays downhill and looks stunning. This golf course is so perfectly set into the landscape that it appears to have been here forever! One can imagine that rather than machines moving earth all that was required were artisans gently polishing the terrain in order to let each hole shine through!


JW has 246m to go. On the left of the putting surface I can see three beautifully contrasting green stripes of apron marking the periphery around the green. Immediately right of the green is water. The lake sits directly on the side of the green and runs 60m back up the fairway. Immediately the risk / reward conundrum becomes clear!


Trees on the banking on the left give me inspiration. I bash a three wood into the banking hoping that my ball would bounce down the bank back to the fairway and leave a modest chip. Sadly for me it did not come to pass, my ball stayed on the banking leaving a dangerous chip from the downhill sloping lie to a narrow green with water beside it. The rest of the hole did not go well for me.


The widest part of the fairway arrives 100m from the green, well before the water becomes a threat. In hindsight I should have played a lay up shot to that point and hit a simple wedge into the green.


This could be a straight forward par or even a scoring hole provided that you manage the risk well. Another outstanding hole!



La Reserva Club Hole 7

Par 3, Stroke Index 18, Black Tees 145m, White Tees 141m, Yellow Tees 127m, Blue Tees 110m, Red Tees 93m.

Playing downhill from 140m we have another delightful par three. A large green, well bunkered at the front with a tree set on a pinnacle amongst the traps. It is terminal to go over the back .There is room on the left for mishit tee shots.


The greens are a delight. Smooth contours over large areas make for big swinging putts, just like we see on television! The greens are firm, no pitch marks, in fact no blemishes at all! Today they are quick. For me the tough part of putting is identifying the line. Once you get the ball in motion it will follow your chosen line with absolute faith.


A half in three – we are one hole down. Not bad for us. Usually we are at least 4 down after 7!


La Reserva Club Hole 8

Par 4, Stroke Index 1, Black Tees 433m, White Tees 417m, Yellow Tees 386m, Blue Tees 365m, Red Tees 325m.

The view from the 8th tee paints a picture of tournament golf. These are the images that we usually see on our TV screens as we watch the great and famous going about their business. Playing at the La Reserva Club is an opportunity to drop yourself into the world of elite golf. Playing here will not necessarily make you a great player, but you will understand how great players feel when they go to work.


The toughest hole on the golf course does not disappoint as you stand on the tee and contemplate your strategy. A dogleg to the right with a lake running along the right edge from 200m out all the way to the green making this a tough tee shot.


There is a series of three bunkers on the left side, the two furthest ones about 290m from the tee make for the perfect driving line; the closest bunker to the tee will catch numerous golfers that are hydrophobic.


There is even more room left of the bunkers and left of the cart path as Jussi discovered with his hooked tee shot. Missing left will serve to make the second shot much harder. Both JW and Dean hit rippers on the perfect line giving themselves a good chance of dominating this beast of a hole with a par.

From the first fairway bunker some 250m from the green, Jussi and I elected to hit the wrong shot. His three wood hit the lip but still managed to cover 150m. My 2 iron tugged a little to the left bounced on the cart path and disappeared into thick trees which are marked with red stakes.


This is a tough hole, the final 100m into the green is only 25m wide from cart path to waters edge. JW has 210m for his second shot, his 3 wood up the left side was perfect leaving him on the front apron of the green. Dean hit a 4 iron beautifully into the heart of the green.


So good and so powerful is this hole that the only way to give it a greater sense of occasion would be to listen to Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries” whilst striding the fairway! So far I consider this hole to be the best one of the day!


La Reserva Club Hole 9

Par 4, Stroke Index 16, Black Tees 375m, White Tees 359m, Yellow Tees 324m, Blue Tees 292m, Red Tees 270m

We are faced with a 375m par four with a stroke index of 16. We are still one down. This is another hole that can be attacked with a driver. I appreciate that about La Reserva Club. The design is so good that each tee box presents you with a fairway that is driver friendly. Whilst this is a tough track it is kind spirited. It will not frustrate you in any way. This is a 100% positive experience! The line to take is on the right side of the bunkers sited on the left of the fairway. There is plenty of room on the left side with the added bonus that it makes the next shot easier too.

Dean hooked his tee shot onto the 8th fairway. Jussi and I found the short grass. The fairway cants from the right to the left. The green is on a plateau, the fairway falls away from 150m out and rises to meet the green. A pair of malevolent bunkers sit in the face of the bank just in front of the green , the first of them leaving a treacherous 45m uphill shot. Leaving your second shot short of the dance floor is going to be painful.


After a cracking drive I am left with 105m, allowing for a little elevation I elected to play it 110m. A miserable failure to execute left me in those dangerous front bunkers with an uphill struggle to save a par.


A large green, 20m deep and 40m long with loads of room at the back. A tier runs longitudinally across the green making the left half higher than the right. The green also runs from the back to the front. The slopes of the green do not look severe but instead are gently set over the surface area of the green which makes the ball swing through big breaks on most putts. The greens are amongst the nicest I have ever played on.


That was a masterful nine holes of golf. What an event! It does not punish you through being tricky, it punishes you through better than you are – nothing wrong with that!


A half in bogeys, and we are 1 down at the turn. Jussi is our best scorer today. 3 over par for the front nine of the back tees is no mean achievement!



La Reserva Club Back Nine Holes Par 36



La Reserva Club Hole 10

Par 4, Stroke Index 8, Black Tees 355m, White Tees 342m, Yellow Tees 329m, Blue Tees 312m, Red Tees 287m

A gorgeous looking hole. The tee box is on the high point of the golf course, close to the putting green and clubhouse. A wide fairway awaits. There is dense foliage on the left above the preceding fairway, more of the same on the right. The line to take is directly at the green. All that is needed is a confident blow, provided that it is reasonably straight you will have a decent shot into the green. Bunkers on the left and right side of the fairway are there to catch errant drives. The high side of the hole is on the right, the out of bounds markers high above, the low side is on the left, marked with red stakes. Three of us hit great drives here, Jussi found the right hand bunker.


JW hit a 9 iron from 131m and found the back left of the green. From the bunker on the right of the fairway Jussis hit an impeccable short iron to within a meter of the flag, wonderful golf!


This is one of the easier holes so far, at “only” 390 yards it is a short par 4. Whilst the fairway narrows towards the green it is still inviting from the tee. The view of the contrasting green stripes on the fairway against the dense trees and foliage on either side make this hole look delightful. This hole feels benevolent, a kind hole, a chance to catch your breath!


JW’s par net birdie was enough for us to take the hole and square the match.


La Reserva Club Hole 11

Par 4, Stroke Index 6, Black Tees 403m, White Tees 391m, Yellow Tees 355m, Blue Tees 330m, Red Tees 281m

The hole is defined by the OOB and the vegetation on the right, it is very open on the left. The tiger line is along the right half of the fairway. A bunker sits on the left of the fairway 160m from the tee.


The second shot is where the danger begins. The fairway cants from right to left. A lake sits on the left side of the fairway from 70m out and runs alongside the green. Out of bounds on the right leaving the front of the green open.


This is a difficult hole! If you miss left or long you are in desperate trouble, the right side of the green is the only answer! Too far right and more penalty shots await! A long narrow green, bunkers on the right make this a satisfying par, especially for JW with a shot – we are one up.


La Reserva Club Hole 12

Par 4, Stroke Index 13, Black Tees 358m, White Tees 353m, Yellow Tees 331m, Blue Tees 304m, Red Tees 264m

This hole is a dog leg to the right, the line to take is on the right half of the fairway. The hole opens to its widest point at 280m from the tee. Both Dean and Jussi select 3 woods to make sure they find the fat part of the fairway. A bunker sits on the left edge at 250m.


JW smoked the perfect drive past that bunker, Jussi and Deans’ 3 wood tee shots were both flawless and each abreast of JWs drive sitting pretty on the fairway.

The elevated green on a plateau is the same width as the fairway, a long, broad but narrow target. A pair of bunkers guard the center and right front entrance to the dance floor, a third bunker will catch approach shots that over shoot the green. From the cart path next to the green I took a moment to drink in my surroundings. I can see glimpses of fairway set amongst the sub tropical greenery on the Sotogrande estate around me, a smattering of beautiful homes set on the hillsides, tell tale signs of the wonderful lifestyle that is enjoyed here. Sotogrande is a good place to be.


From their prime positions on the fairway all three of my playing partners found the middle of the green. A good tee shot here makes this a hole a scoring opportunity.


The hole was halved in par.



La Reserva Club Hole 13

Par 5, Stroke Index 11, Black Tees 521m, White Tees 490m, Yellow Tees 475m,  Blue Tees 447m, Red Tees 417m

What an amazing par five! From the back tees the widest part of the fairway arrives at 290m, clearly in this instance having the ability to belt a long drive is going to be a big help!


Out of bounds on the right and an adjacent fairway on the left make alignment pretty straightforward. Bunkers on the left side are almost irresistible and difficult to miss! I can’t hit it far enough to pass those bunkers and reach the fat part of the fairway. Note to self, play off the yellow tees next time!


JW uncharacteristically pumped one OOB on the right, Jussi and I found bunkers on the left whilst Dean smashed one 304m into the belly of the fairway! Outstanding drive! This hole is all about that tee shot!


The hole narrows as you get to the green, not unfairly so. With trouble on either side it certainly focuses the mind. This is worth attacking in two strokes if you possess the firepower. Provided that you don’t hit a dreadful curly one you have nothing to fear. Not many folks have the ability to reach the green in two strokes on the 580 yard par five, but, the closer you can get with that second shot the more chances  you have to score with your third. This is a fabulous risk and reward shot, a very positive hole designed to coax you to attack. Lovely!

La Reserva Club Hole 14

Par 4, Stroke Index 2, Black Tees 418m, White Tees 398m, Yellow Tees 380m, Blue Tees 351m, Red Tees 312m

This hole presents you with a dogleg to the left with a plethora of bunkers along the right edge of the fairway waiting to welcome your drive. The first cut of rough on the left dotted with trees separates this fairway from an adjacent one and gives room for a wild tee shot! Missing the fairway on the right is more dangerous, the stone clad storm drain runs close to the right of the fairway for 220m .


The line to take is on the furthest most bunker on the right. The green is large with a vast area of apron all around it save for the front right approach which is a cavernous bunker. A well placed drive adjacent to those fairway bunkers will leave a shot into the green of around 165m. To access the green you will need to carry that front bunker. The large apron extends the margin of safety and will make this tough par 4 an easier prospect for bogey. Such a pretty hole!


La Reserva Club Hole 15

Par 3, Stroke Index 7, Black Tees 222m, White Tees 211m, Yellow Tees 177m, Blue Tees 145m, Red Tees 129m

The longest par 3 on the golf course is playing 222m with the lake running on the left flank and behind the green sufficiently close to the green to add a degree of frisson! A pair of bunkers sit on the left of the green between the water and the putting surface giving a buffer of 10m. A large bunker sits on the rear right. A very tough par 3 made spectacular by the use of water.


There is a bale out area on the right, which is where I found my tee shot. Jussi hit a 2 iron into the front left bunker, Dean drew his 4 wood and hit a cracker to the back edge of the green.


This is a classic example of hard par and easy bogey. The water on the left dominates your view of the hole, it makes the length feel secondary. Yet despite its clear challenges this hole is easy to play in 4 strokes as we have done. A classic Robinson / Trent Jones design feature!


We managed a half in bogey to stay one down.



La Reserva Club Hole 16

Par 5, Stroke Index 15, Black Tees 512m, White Tees 487m, Yellow Tees 468m, Blue Tees 440m, Red Tees 417m

My sense of contentment as I progress further around La Reserva Club is profound. Every day should be like this. A perfect day on a perfect golf course. I can only imagine the legions of greenkeepers required to keep La Reserva Club in its pristine condition.


A par 5 of 512m with a large body of water on the left. The lake should not influence your drive, it does not encroach on the fairway. However, 3 of us plopped balls into it. The only drive to remain dry was that of JW who barely got past the red tee boxes. Four of the most appalling tee shots I have ever witnessed!


The correct line to take is on the right edge of the fairway, the fairway opens to generous proportions at 240m once the lake has been carried. Three large bunkers lurk on the left immediately after the lake but should not come into play if you keep your drive on the right side.


A decent drive would present you with a decision to make, attack or play conservatively. This par 5 is a superb hole. There is sufficient room around the green to make the positive choice more comfortable. If you do not hit it far enough then a complex of three bunkers 40m from the front right of the green will make it tough for you to save par. If you can bash it far enough then a large green with room to the left is your reward. Big bunkers at the back will penalize over cooked shots into the green. This is another outstanding par 5 and should be a good scoring opportunity.


We lost the hole to a bogey! We could not have played it any worse! we are 2 down.


La Reserva Club Hole 17

Par 3,  Stroke Index 17, Black Tees 187m, White Tees 168m, Yellow Tees 146m, Blue Tees 121m, Red Tees 96m.

We are dormie 2 down. A big par 3 is our chance to save the situation. What a stunning hole. Playing downhill there is water on the left with a huge green to play for on the right.


Whilst evaluating the best strategy for this hole JW and I both comment on an interesting feature of La Reserva Club. The Alferini course at Villa Padierna is a similar length championship venue of very high quality. The key difference is that at Alferini the tee boxes all present you with the hazards and trouble, at La Reserva Club the tee boxes are sited in such a way as to deliver you towards salvation!


A lovely strike from Jussi finished 1 m from the pin. We are doomed! All four of us found this vast green. All four of us recorded a par ,The match goes to the younger men. Dammit!


La Reserva Club Hole 18

Par 4, Stroke Index 4,  Black Tees 400m, White Tees 387m, Yellow Tees 363m, Blue Tees 338m, Red Tees 313m.

The last hole. This has been a joyous experience. I am sorry that it has come to an end so soon. I will never tire of playing here. It is a sublime golfing experience that delivers satisfaction in spades. The golf course is far better than me. I am badly beaten up by this fearsome layout, but despite my terrible score I already have hunger pangs to come back and play again!


This last hole runs into a valley from the tee then rises sharply to meet the green. One of the narrower driving holes, dense trees line the left side, plenty of room on the right. The tee box is placed on the banks of the lake and makes this last hole extremely pretty to behold.


The fairway narrows at 230m where bunkers on the left and right side of the fairway form a pinch point. Twenty meters beyond that it opens ready to welcome a well struck drive.


The elevation from my drive to the green meant that my 130m shot required 150m of club to be sure of reaching the crest of the plateau. The pin today was in its most dangerous position on the front of the green. The green slopes from back to front. Any putt that is over cooked can easily run off the front edge and keep running down the steep slope for another 50m!


We all hit this elusive green with our second shots, in the interest of sportsmanlike behavior we each had a go at the birdie, and then conceded our par putts. A great way to finish an extraordinary day!


Back to the clubhouse terrace we went to reflect upon our experience of La Reserva Club. Without doubt La Reserva sits on the top step of our collective “Best Golf Course“ podium.


This has been wonderful!


Summary

Cabell Robinson is a genius designer. If asked, I wonder which of his great creations here on the Costa del Sol he considers to be his best.


His early work at Mijas Golf’s Los Lagos, a great layout, classic hard par easy birdie hugely popular with visitors. Los Naranjos, “a purpose built championship golf course for Marbella ” both great golf courses today. Valle Romano, totally different in style set upon mountainous terrain it still adheres to his basic design tenets of making par a challenge.


The La Cala Resort, three of the most played golf courses on the Costa del Sol, known by tens of thousands of golfers from across the world. Santana Golf has matured into a delightful recreational golf course which brings joy to all of its guests.


La Reserva Club Golf course Marbella Sotogrande Finca Cortesin Costa del Sol Andalusia

I suggest that Finca Cortesin and La Reserva Club might define Cabell Robinson’s legacy on the Costa del Sol. Two of the finest golf courses in the world are just a few kilometers apart.


Both are majestic. Both are expertly run by professional technicians mated with outstanding hospitality making the players experience at both outstanding. To consider one to be better than the other is moot. Both transcend the need for comparison. These are two of the greatest golf facilities that are available for you and I to play anywhere in the world.


Mr Robinson – a heartfelt thank you from all of us.


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