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  • Writer's pictureGolf on Costa del Sol

Valle Romano Golf Course: Review and Playing Guide

Updated: Mar 9

A Cabell Robinson design opened in 2010, Valle Romano Golf has matured beautifully over its first decade and has become renowned amongst golf courses on the Costa Del Sol for its great condition and tough Par 3’s.


I have played several Cabell Robinson’s Costa del Sol Golf courses, each of them have a common quality. Such care and thought has been put into harnessing the terrain that each hole looks like it has always been there, as though no machines were needed, the features of each hole having been polished from the land, handcrafted.


Playing Valle Romano Golf has been the most wonderful experience, Mr Robinson has extracted from the hinterland a remarkable golf course. Utilising the natural beauty and topography of the countryside to permeate each hole with its own character. The sequence of holes delivers a golfing experience of agony and ecstasy. The final three holes bring the experience to a crescendo. There is no doubt in my mind what a credit Valle Romano Golf is to golf in Spain in general and golf on the Costa del Sol in particular.


If you are planning a golf holiday, perhaps using Estepona or Marbella as your base then I can recommend Valle Romano golf resort without reservation.  This course will bring pleasure and satisfaction to golfers of all levels.




Location



Situated in the foothills beneath the Sierra Bermeja a short distance from Estepona. Valle Romano golf is located close to Estepona, 20 minutes from Marbella and 25minutes from Gibraltar, perfect for those enjoying a golf holiday on the Costa del Sol and who want to be close to the attractions of Marbella.

CN 340 km 152 – Urbanización Valle RomanoCasa Club – C/ Villa Borghese nº 129680 Estepona (Málaga) España


Facilities

  1. Practice area:

  2. Open and covered driving range

  3. Short game area

  4. Practise Bunker

  5. Putting green

  6. Cafe

  7. Trackman / Flightscope


Clubhouse

  1. Pro shop and Reception

  2. Restaurant

  3. Conference and Function Rooms

  4. A la Carte and Snack menus

  5. Bar

  6. Terraces with Panoramic Views


Cost


Excellent value, mid range pricing, great seasonal deals available, see our Discount green fee link for current details.


Valle Romano Hole 1

Stroke Index 8, Par 5, White 540m, Yellow 520m, Blue 473m, Red 395m


Valle Romano Golf course Andalusia Estepona Costa del Sol Malaga Cadiz Marbella golf holidays Spain

Today Mike Mariconda, a playing professional is our guide and will take us around this remarkable golf course. Playing on the Gecko Tour, Marbella Professional Tour and the Europro tour in the UK, I am lucky enough to count Mike as a regular playing partner. Today the Mijas Golf based Sandgrownuns Golf Society are enjoying an “away day” at Valle Romano and Mike is going to guide us through how he approaches this challenging layout.


The first hole is a par five. Narrow fairway, out of bounds along the left. Fairway bunkers line the left and right sides of the fairway. The hole is cut into the side of the mountain which gives a steep banked rough on the right, if your ball goes in there it is unplayable, hence it is marked as a lateral water hazard for the entire length of the hole. Whilst not a generous fairway there is sufficient room on the right to instill a little confidence.


I am going to take a line just right of the green” Mike told me from the tee. He hit a perfect drive laser straight on line finishing 210m short of the green in the centre of the fairway.


The hole narrows as the green approaches, red staked rough only 10m off the right side of the green, out of bounds 20m left with the front approaches guarded by a series of bunkers.


For players of Mike’s length and playing ability, this hole is a balance of risk vs reward, for club golfers, it can also be a straight forward par, all you have to do is find the fairway with the drive, lay up to 70m to avoid the narrowest and most heavily bunkered area and chip in to the small and well-contoured green.

The greens at Valle Romano are fast. Amongst the fastest that I have played recently along the Costa del Sol.


Mike’s second shot, a 4 iron started on the right of the green and kicked further right into the vegetation. A penalty led to a bogey 6. As I said, a balance of risk vs reward. An excellent opening hole to get the mind focussed.


Valle Romano Hole 2

Stroke Index 14, Par 3, White 166m, Yellow 154m, Blue 138m, Red 130m


Valle Romano Golf course Andalusia Estepona Costa del Sol Malaga Cadiz Marbella golf holidays Spain

Playing 166m slightly uphill to a small boomerang shaped green this Par 3 is laden with hazards. The most obvious of which is the mountain on the left which provides an imposing vista of endless dense vegetation ascending to the sky .On the right is out of bounds, although it does not come in to play unless a truly terrible shot is struck!


A bunker guards the back of the green another is tucked into the elbow of the green on the right. Running steeply uphill from the front with a couple of big swings this is a very difficult green to deal with.


With the prevailing wind against the hole playing much longer than the number suggests, Mike dispatched a well struck 4 iron which reached the back right tier and left a short but insanely difficult (and ultimately missed) birdie put.

Valle Romano Hole 3

Stroke Index 16, Par 4, White 344m, Yellow 314m, Blue 292m, Red 274m


Valle Romano Golf course Andalusia Estepona Costa del Sol Malaga Cadiz Marbella golf holidays Spain

This hole runs steeply downhill towards the green. The green is tucked a little to the right, a huge lake will catch balls that go left or over shoot the fairway.

The fairway itself is a series of steps. Out of bounds on the right.


From the tee it looks rather like diving down a staircase! Mike hit a driver at the left edge of the green intending for it to cut on to the green. The ball took a strange bounce and kicked to the right- sadly into red staked rough.


My advice would be to hit something that cannot reach the lake, aim at the centre of the fairway and wait to see what the series of bounces and kicks leave you with. If you get a good drive and in turn a reasonably flat lie then the shot in the green is easy and should yield a par. The thing is with this hole that you need a bit of luck no matter how good your tee shot is.


Your frustration will be soothed by the amazing views!


Valle Romano Hole 4

Stroke Index 13, Par 3, White 177m, Yellow 161m, Blue 142m, Red 126m


Valle Romano Golf course Andalusia Estepona Costa del Sol Malaga Cadiz Marbella golf holidays Spain

This is a truly imposing par 3. A terrific looking hole that is going to be a real test for all players.


Out of bounds along the right of the hole with the boundary fence just a few meters from the tee. You have to play over the out of bounds area to get to the green creating one of the finest par 3 tee shots I can remember.


Bunkers guard the right of the green with a large greenside bunker on the left too. The green is shaped loosely like a triangle with the narrow apex at the front widening towards the back. There is very little room to miss the green before you find yourself in terminal trouble. What little room there is makes for extremely difficult chip shots due to the sticky rough and downhill lies.


Mike’s 5 iron was 2 metres off the green on the right and left him a ball nestled down in the grass above the cup with 10m to the hole. There was no possibility of keeping the ball short of the cup, Mike drained a 4m putt to save his par.


Valle Romano, Hole 5

Stroke Index 4, Par 4, White 379m, Yellow 361m, Blue 335m, Red 290m


Valle Romano Golf course Andalusia Estepona Costa del Sol Malaga Cadiz Marbella golf holidays Spain

Three of the previous hole holes have been truly great holes, At 6300m from the back tees this is not a course that can be overpowered. It demands precision from the tee in order to give you any hope of making pars.


This 5th hole is another example, a very tough driving hole with an emphasis on finding the fairway with your tee shot.


A straight par 4 with the green clearly visible from the tee, it tells you quite clearly what needs to be done. Thick vegetation rich in colour runs along the right of the narrow fairway, marked with red stakes so as not to break too many hearts. The left rough slopes toward the fairway and will help to channel balls back to safety. The fairway is generously wide, about 70m at its widest, yet because of the abundant hazards and terrible trouble both left and right the fairway can become most elusive.


Mike elected to take a line directly at the left hand fairway bunkers planning for the terrain to kick the ball to the right, which it did.


We are at quite an elevation which means there is always a breeze, sometimes it can be 1 or 2 clubs of difference when playing into or downwind. Today Mikes second shot is into a stiff breeze, with 121m to the flag he has hit a glorious pitching wedge low and boring its way through the air, and came to rest 2m behind the flag. First birdie of the day!


The green is long with a steep tier running across it. Bunkers left an right for protection with the entrance unguarded allowing each player a fair chance to access the putting surface with a running shot.


Another excellent hole!


Valle Romano Hole 6

Stroke Index 2, Par 4, White 391m, Yellow 375m, Blue 348m, Red 309m


Valle Romano Golf course Andalusia Estepona Costa del Sol Malaga Cadiz Marbella golf holidays Spain

A slight dog leg left this fairway runs steeply uphill. A monster of a hole.


A bunker guards the left edge of the fairway exactly on the corner of the dog leg. There is plenty of room to the right, although the further right you go the longer you are making your second shot.


Mike hit his drive up the left side of the fairway – again a very well placed shot. As I walk up the fairway breathing hard I get a feel for exactly how steep it is. It will probably add two clubs to the shot in to the green.


Mike has 153m left, normally an 8 iron would take care of it, however with the slope a 6 iron is needed to reach the pin.


A bunker guards the back left of the green, otherwise it is unprotected other than its length and slope. The green is well contoured and runs downhill from the back of the green. A very tough hole designed to be fair, this hole rewards long hitters. Most club golfers will be hitting a fairway wood for their second shot. Being long enough to hit a mid iron brings a huge advantage.


Valle Romano Hole 7

Stroke Index 11, Par 5, White 504m, Yellow 483m, Blue 460m, Red 433m


Valle Romano Golf course Andalusia Estepona Costa del Sol Malaga Cadiz Marbella golf holidays Spain

Having been brutalised by the previous hole, Valle Romano now gives you a chance to get one back! A gorgeous looking par 5 running down the hill that you just climbed!


The landing area is wide enough to banish any fear. The narrow point of the fairway is at 300m where bunkers guard the left and some trees guard the right. The front right of the green is heavily protected by a fearsome bunker. Thick bushes run in a semi circle enclosing the right half and rear of the green. Missing to the right or long is a disaster. You have to play up to the left, there are two clear lay up areas, one 100m from the green the other, slightly smaller at 40m from the green.


Mike took a line on the trees and hit another stunning drive, directly at the trees with a baby draw reaching 290m or so down the fairway.


Playing from the yellow tee’s John and Mike both have 220m to go on this fantastic par 5. This is a great example of the different ways to play it. John elected to hit a 5 wood to lay up giving himself 40m in to the flag. Meanwhile Mike laced a 4 iron to the middle left of the green leaving a 15m putt uphill to the back right pin.


John pitched his third to within 30cm for a birdie, Mike mis- judged the sloping green and left his first putt woefully short and finished with a 5!


Valle Romano offers rewards to those who play the right strategy! Valle Romano Golf has delivered another fantastic hole. An utter joy to play. For the bold and the brave this is a birdie opportunity, for the club golfer you can hit the tee shot as hard as you can, the hole asks you to hit an accurate lay up shot to leave you your favorite wedge shot into the green and still give you the chance to get one back!


Valle Romano, Hole 8

Stroke Index 17, Par 4, White 323m, Yellow 315m, Blue 288m, Red 269m


Valle Romano Golf course Andalusia Estepona Costa del Sol Malaga Cadiz Marbella golf holidays Spain

If you hit a stinker of a hook you will find the out of bounds along the left, but it would have to be a stinker. The fairway is saucer shaped and will do its best to help you. It is also about 90m wide giving you plenty of short grass to aim at. There are bunkers right and left of the fairway at driver length, but the fairway remains easy to hit. The hole is significantly uphill so the 323m probably plays more like 360m. There are no hazards visible from the tee which makes for a confidence inspiring drive. Mike does not disappoint! A savage beating from his driver has propelled the ball to within 80m of the green!


As you climb the hill the fairway eventually flattens out whereupon a bunker placed in the middle of the fairway around 30m short of the green awaits those that dont get their 2nd shots all the way to the green. A further bunker short and right of the green will catch mis-hit approach shots whilst the green itself is almost entirely surrounded by a series of sculpted sand traps.


The green runs markedly uphill from front to back with a big tier in the middle. The pin is on the back today. This apparently simple looking hole has a myriad of defences, however all you have to do is belt your drive as far up the hill as you can, and then summon a precise strike with a short iron to find the correct half of the green.


Mike converted his 3m putt for birdie to get back to level par. 

Valle Romano Hole 9

Stroke Index 5, Par 4, White 369m, Yellow 341m, Blue 328m, Red 304m


Valle Romano Golf course Andalusia Estepona Costa del Sol Malaga Cadiz Marbella golf holidays Spain

Playing uphill again this short Par 4 will actually play 2 clubs longer than it looks.

The view from the tee is quite daunting. The green is straight ahead tucked away slightly on the right. On the left is a development of very attractive apartments.There’s a bunker cut into the left of the fairway which is at driver range. Mike took a line directly at that bunker and hit a pretty little fade into the centre of the fairway.


This is a wide fairway with a bunker on the right 200m from the tee and another on the left at 230m. A second fairway bunker at 260m marks where the fairway narrows.


The left side of the green is open and provides a safe haven to bailout. Missing the green on the right is a bad idea unless you like huge bunkers. If you go right of the bunkers you will probably be out of bounds.


There is no way to break it to you gently, this is a tough Par 4. Every hole has set a clear challenge and has required a level of skill to make your par or net par, and this one is amongst the toughest. It has been an outstandingly good front nine holes!


Mike drilled an iron into the centre of green and left an 8m putt. A four leaves Mike at level par for the front nine. All four of the lads playing today have commented on the greens, firstly they are very fast and run very true, secondly all have noted that when the ball kisses the edge of the hole they never fall in  – they just keep going. Maybe it’s just one of those days, or maybe the greens at Valle Romano just demand a higher standard of player!


Valle Romano Hole 10

Stroke Index 7, Par 5, White 533m, Yellow 513m, Blue 491m, Red 473m


Valle Romano Golf course Andalusia Estepona Costa del Sol Malaga Cadiz Marbella golf holidays Spain

From the tee the fairway turns 90 degrees to the right running almost parallel to the green. This is the only part of the fairway (from the tee) that you can see and provides a safe shot for the tee shot, you can hit up to 200m before the fairway ends. This 200m tee shot only moves you 100m towards the green!


The other option is to decide how much of the corner you can fly the ball over and bounce it down the hill. The problem is that the fairway is immensely steep running downhill, descending around 30m from the tee, it is extremely narrow only 10m. Out of bounds on the left edge of the fairway and bunkers guarding the right. Basically it is an impossible tee shot!


Having said that, Mike accepted the challenge and blasted his drive over the chasm, eluded the myriad of fairway bunkers and found himself in the first cut of rough with 190m to the green.


The green slopes uphill from the front to the back and is magnificent! The front left is guarded by a beautiful Cork tree. Large greenside bunkers on the right and the back frame the green beautifully. It really does look great.


Mikes 4 iron found the back level of the green, pin high resulting in a birdie. A difficult and testing hole was dispatched!


Valle Romano, Hole 11

Stroke Index 10,  Par 3, White 201m, Yellow 178m, Blue 148m, Red 133m


Valle Romano Golf course Andalusia Estepona Costa del Sol Malaga Cadiz Marbella golf holidays Spain

A marvelous Par 3, with an extremely daunting tee shot. The out of bounds fence runs close by along the left of the hole, beyond the fence is a large commercial grove of olive trees.


The elevated tee runs down into a valley before rising again to meet the elevated green. Bunkers guard the left and right flanks of the green as do a number of gnarly olive trees, thick rough and the undulating terrain.


Having overcome all of these obstacles the challenge begins again when you reach the green!


It runs steeply from left to right and downhill from the back making 2 putts an extremely difficult prospect.


If you walk off this green with a 3 then you have done a great job!


Valle Romano Hole 12

Stroke Index 1, Par 4, White 548m, Yellow 513m, Blue 473m, Red 412m


Valle Romano Golf course Andalusia Estepona Costa del Sol Malaga Cadiz Marbella golf holidays Spain

A pencil thin fairway runs towards the green which appears to be on the horizon! The Ona Valle Romano Golf and Resort runs along the right hand side of the fairway. Along the left runs the cart path beyond which is out of bounds too.


There is a complex of mounds in the centre of the fairway. A bunker sits on the left edge of the fairway at 250m making the tee shot very demanding. Mike has taken a line on the greenside bunkers and hit a 5m draw bringing him to rest on the left side of the fairway with a great angle into the flag.


Our playing partners were less fortunate, several balls left the confines of the golf course, one so far left that it appeared to be making its way to Estepona! Fortunately the stableford format stops the pain once no points can be scored and we all watched Mikes 9 iron pitch past the cup and spin over the edge leaving him a tap in for another birdie.


The start of this back nine has been extraordinarily tough. If you manage 3 pars you will be the toast of the Costa del Sol Golf fraternity.


Valle Romano Hole 13

Stroke Index 18, Par 4, White 278m, Yellow 268m, Blue 245m, Red 210m


Valle Romano Golf course Andalusia Estepona Costa del Sol Malaga Cadiz Marbella golf holidays Spain

After the battering of three of the toughest holes I have ever seen Valle Romano in an act of kindness has given us an easy short, wide par 4! The boys jumped all over it! All 4 hit cracking drives directly at the green leaving short wedge shots into the pin.


The hole runs slightly uphill directly towards the Mediterranean giving delightful sea views.There is trouble on the left and right but plenty of room, you need to be significantly offline to have any problems here, this is a good chance to repair some of the damage done to your score card!


Bunkers are located on the right of the green, the front of the green is open and invites you to hit with impunity. The green is deeply contoured making long putts difficult to read.


Valle Romano, Hole 14

Stoke Index 12, Par 4, White 339m, Yellow 306m, Blue 276m, Red 260m


Valle Romano Golf course Andalusia Estepona Costa del Sol Malaga Cadiz Marbella golf holidays Spain

The big feature of this hole is the lake which starts 200m from the tee, runs all the way to the greenside.


Two options from the tee. Hit a driver up the very narrow thread of fairway to the left of the lake, or play a hybrid and lay up short of the lake. If you lay up short you will have around 100m left into a small green with the water on the right. A brave tee shot might reward you with a very short chip onto the green, but you have to be brave and accurate, the fairway is very small and the lake is very big!


Holes 10, 11 and 12 were so heartbreakingly, soul scorchingly difficult. The last 2 holes have been a tremendous reprieve and have brought the guys back to life, banter is flowing again, insults traded just as a friendly four ball should be!


Valle Romano, Hole 15

Stroke Index 15, Par 4, White 315m, Yellow 301m, Blue 275m, Red 259m


Valle Romano Golf course Andalusia Estepona Costa del Sol Malaga Cadiz Marbella golf holidays Spain

Playing from the elevated tee with the lake on your right, this dog leg left presents another birdie chance provided you make the right choice from the tee.

A direct line for the tee to the green will take you over the corner of the dog leg and perilously close to the out of bounds fence on the left. Bunkers guard the corner of the dog leg 200m from the tee with 2 more large bunkers protecting the entrance to the green. Length off the tee is not a priority here.


The best strategy is to hit a tee shot 220m into the large landing area on the right. Don’t go too far right or the lake will get you. Your reward is a short wedge into the green with no bunkers on your line!


The kidney shaped green has an elevated area on the right and slopes front to back. Like all of the greens here they run perfectly true and fast.


Valle Romano, Hole 16

Stroke Index 9, White 226m, Yellow 198m, Blue 153m, Red 114m


Valle Romano Golf course Andalusia Estepona Costa del Sol Malaga Cadiz Marbella golf holidays Spain

This par 3 is a whopping 226m! Slightly uphill the green is set between a series of mounds which from the tee evoke images of Jack Nicklaus’ famous 1 iron shot at Pebble Beach’s 17th to win the 1972 US Open!


The front right of the green is protected by a large and deep bunker, the front of the green is open. Missing left is not an option, there is a little more room on the right. Mike’s 2 iron fizzed through the air landing on the front edge of the green and ran through to the banking at the back. A delicate chip and putt earned him a great 3 and kept his back nine scoring impeccable.


Valle Romano Hole 17

Stroke Index 6, Par 5, White 510m, Yellow 498m, Blue 459m, Red 447m


Valle Romano Golf course Andalusia Estepona Costa del Sol Malaga Cadiz Marbella golf holidays Spain

The very attractive Ona Valle Romano Golf and Resort runs alongside the right edge of this Par 5. Out of bounds on the left. There is plenty of room in the middle! This hole is lengthened by its ascending fairway which looks rather like a runway pointing at the sky!


The mountains behind the green make for a great driving line and a spectacular view. This hole is beautiful.


After a wobbly start Mike has got this far in 2 under par. A birdie here is exactly what he is after. He hit a great drive up the left center of the fairway. There are bunkers on the left of the fairway , they are out of reach from the tee and do not come into play. With 250m left after his drive Mike elected to have a go with his 3 wood. The out of bounds is uncomfortably close to the fairway all along the right although as you get to within 100m of the green there is a little more room on the right.


For club golfers this is a straightforward three shot Par 5, provided you execute your drive and second shots well you will have around 100m wedge shot into the green. The green is slightly angled making the pin a little harder to get to if it is located back right as it is today.


Slightly pulled, Mike’s 3 wood finished just short and left of the green amongst the five olive trees which guard this part of the green. As luck would have it he had a clear line all the way to flag and hit a low fizzing 60 degree wedge to 1m!

Dear Readers, it is with sadness that I must inform you that the putt was missed.

Valle Romano Hole 18

Stroke Index 3, Par 3, White 229m, Yellow 198m, Blue 179m, Red 155m


Valle Romano Golf course Andalusia Estepona Costa del Sol Malaga Cadiz Marbella golf holidays Spain

Each hole at Valle Romano Golf is dedicated to a Spanish Professional Golfer. The 18th bears Severiano Ballesteros’ name. You can see why. It is exactly the finishing hole that Seve might have chosen for his fantasy Ryder Cup golf course!


Running gently uphill towards the putting surface, the green itself sits on a plateau about 1 metre high. This plateau serves to frustrate any tee shots that don’t quite carry far enough! The narrow green is defended by four large bunkers , two on each side set amongst swales and hollows that add visual splendour and will test the short game.


Mike hit a beautiful 2 iron. High trajectory to make it stop, it took off directly at the flag. The ball seemed to hang in the air for unending seconds before falling just 1 meter short of the playing surface into the deadening face of the plateau. With the pin on the front edge the chip was very difficult to gauge and ran 2m past the cup. The finely contoured green proved difficult to read resulting in a dropped shot at the last.


One under par is an excellent game of golf. I learned a great deal watching Mike manage his way around this excellent and demanding golf course.


We have all enjoyed a terrific day and recommend you add Valle Romano to your itinerary!


Summary


Valle Romano Golf and Resort is an important asset for golf on the Costa del Sol, A contender amongst the finest golf courses in Southern Spain. It has been a venue for the challenge tour qualifying school. This gives you the measure of how difficult it is.


Where does Valle Romano Golf sit in the pantheon of golf courses on the Costa Del Sol In my opinion it is as technical and as the very best courses along the coast .Valle Romano feels like a fine heathland layout that has been there forever.

It shares some of the playing and topological characteristics of the nearby Finca Cortesin. This is a great course that is very fairly priced and offers tremendous value to visiting golfers and residents alike.

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