The three-time Volvo World Match Play host is one of Spain, and Europe's, very best golfing venues
Finca Cortesin Golf Course Review
Nestled in the tranquil Andalucian countryside between Marbella and Gibraltar lies Finca Cortesin, one of Europe’s finest golf resorts.
The challenging course was designed by Cabell Robinson and opened for play in 2007.
It is tough, with more than 100 bunkers strategically placed to catch you out, and it has just had 18 new Bermuda greens installed along with testing run-off areas.
Thick shrubbery lines most fairways so accuracy from the tee is a must.
The first six holes play in a bowl with dozens of custom-built mansions overlooking. The owners must enjoy stupendous views over the golf course from their terraces.
The first hole is a gentle opener, a 475-yard par-4 from the backs, but more like 400 from the yellows, which should be a decent drive and mid iron for most when playing in the beautiful year-round Andalusian heat.
Then its time to strap yourself in and ride the wave that is to come.
Next up is a tough 200-yard par-3, again with tricky run-offs and a huge bunker short and left, before the fantastic par-5 third which is reachable in two, but incredibly risky with a lake lurking down the left and short.
The short par-4 fourth is a stunner, featuring an elevated tee shot over water to a green that many may fancy their chances of driving. The safer option is to play down the right.
Once you’re out of the bowl, the incredible Estepona mountains greet you as you arrive on the tee of the dogleg-left par-4 seventh.
It plays as stroke index 1, at around 500-yards from the back tees, and features another tight drive before a long approach to the green.
The par-5 eighth is a highlight, playing a near 90 degree dogleg-right where big hitters can play a blind drive over the bushes. The approach is then uphill with danger all the way down the left and cavernous bunkers greenside awaiting.
The front nine closes with what should be a simple par-4 but its green complex means a par really is a good score.
At around 350-yards from the tee it is nothing more than a drive and wedge for most but the elevated green has two huge run-off areas on either side as well as sand in play.
The back-nine begins with a beautiful downhill par-3 where it’s imperative to stay left. A hill on that side can help you get it close.
The 600+ yard 11th is a superb, tight and winding par-5 where two accurate long shots will leave you a decent length approach into the green.
A wayward tee shot here will be punished.
Next up is a three hole stretch where Finca offers up some birdie chances.
The 12th is a long par-3 featuring no less than five bunkers around the green, but if you manage to avoid them you should be okay.
Then onto 13 which is another of the signature holes. It’s a gentle par-4 in length with a stream to carry on both the drive and approach. The green is also flatter than many that have come before it.
14 is another short par-4 featuring six bunkers guarding the uphill green before you head up to the 15th tee…take your camera!
You drive from an elevated position needing a long carry over wasteland to reach the heavily bunkered and undulating fairway before turning left and up the hill to the tricky right-to-left green.
It certainly warrants its stroke index of 4.
16 is a fun par-4 doglegging to the right, whilst 17 is a short par-3 offering up a chance at birdie.
Birdie is again on offer down the par-5 dogleg-left last if you play your cards right, but beware of the numerous fairway and greenside bunkers awaiting any strayed shots.
After 18 holes at Finca, you’ll want to go back round again the next day. It’s one of those courses that should be played more than once to experience the different pin positions that the vast, world class green complexes offer up.
Every tee shot has you thinking and you can’t take your eye off on the approaches either, as bad shots will leave very tricky up-and-downs.
It makes for a challenging, but extremely fun, game of golf requiring every club in the bag and some imagination to go with it.
The weather in this part of the world isn’t bad either!
The driving range should be visited during your stay, featuring classic golf ball pyramids, it plays downhill with stunning views of the course and mountains.
There are numerous practice greens as well and the Jack Nicklaus Academy is on site if your game needs some TLC or you’re after a custom club fitting.
Finca Cortesin also features a luxury five-star hotel, spa, four swimming pools, a beach club and three restaurants including the Michelin-starred Japanese-themed Kabuki Raw.
It’s within easy reach from both Gibraltar and Malaga airports and makes a great base for an Andalucian golfing trip, with Valderrama, Real Club de Sotogrande and La Reserva all just down the road.
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