THE OLD COURSE, TRADITION AND MODERNITY ON A UNIQUE COURSE WHERE YOU CAN ENJOY THE BEST GOLF ON THE COSTA DEL SOL
The Old Course of The San Roque Club is one of the most emblematic courses on the Costa del Sol. Some of the best European golfers have played up and down these fairways, thanks to this course being the headquarters of the European Tour Qualifying School for seven years and also the Spanish Open course in 2005. It’s reshaping has been the perfect integration of the Mediterranean oak forests, where it is situated, and the use of technology to enhance the sustainability of the course.
This legendary course was created by Dave Thomas in 1990 as a Parkland 72 par, where the playability and the environment have seen it declared one of the best golf courses on the Costa del Sol.
The Old Course is an authentic natural paradise on the South of the Iberian Peninsula, very near to the Mediterranean Sea, which provides a gentle, pleasant breeze throughout the year and lower’s the temperatures to create ideal conditions in which to enjoy golf on the Costa del Sol. This course is the jewel in the crown of the fabulous San Roque Club complex, one of the most emblematic and exclusive country clubs in the Sotogrande area.
The San Roque Club has always been a benchmark in the area, thanks to its ideal location in the San Roque municipality which borders the Malaga province. Its placement within the touristic organization of Turismo Costa de Sol has created an ideal setting in which to play golf in Spain.
Another one of its attractive characteristics is the varied flora and fauna which is typical of the Mediterranean forests and can be favourably compared to that which is found in the Parque Natural de los Alcornocales (Natural Oak Park). The Cork Oak tree which decorates the landscape is one of the predominate features of The Old Course to such an extent that its leaf forms the logo of our club.
On these beautiful hills, which previously belonged to a 130-hectare estate owned by the Domecq family, sits a legendary golf course on the Costa del Sol. The Old Course has been the touchstone in its 32 years of history, being the host of important national and international competitions.
Some of the best European players have played along its fairways, now completely redesigned after its renovation which was completed in June 2021. Its 6,311 metres have been the ideal location for tournament preparation and regular training for players of all levels.
Dave Thomas in 1990 was asked to create the Parkland course, located in the Cork Oak forest and it quickly became one of the leading clubs in Andalusia, forming “The Golden Triangle” of Spanish golf together with the Real Club Valderrama and the Real Club de Golf de Sotogrande. It has been declared one of the most highly rated courses of this tourist destination, occupying a place amongst the top five courses in the whole of Spain.
One of the factors that has made The San Roque Club, and more specifically The Old Course, exemplary, is its capacity to produce great players due to the fact that its layout makes it the ideal place to host important competitions and players can prepare themselves on its challenging greens. This was the reason that Tony Jacklin chose The San Roque Club as his small paradise.
Thanks to this, the course has been the host of the European Tour Qualifying School from 1993 to 2007. On its green slopes, amongst the Cork Oak trees and with fabulous views of the Mediterranean, one could find players such as Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter, Padraig Harrington, or Justin Rose as they achieved their passport for the European Tour. Furthermore, it was the host of the 2005 Spanish Open won by Peter Hansen, a championship which is a feature of the European calendar. This tournament helped improve the international prestige of The San Roque Club, enabling it to become one of the best Country Clubs in the whole of Spain.
The excellent club facilities together with the magnificent condition of The Old Course and its interesting setting have meant that great players have chosen The San Roque Club as a strategic location to place golfing academies, as was the case in the past with the Academia Severiano Ballesteros and is currently the case with the Jason Floyd Academy.
The fantastic 1992 design has been improved upon over the years and has benefited from some upgrades from the best hands of the international golf scene, those of Severiano Ballesteros who has overseen the improvements of all the bunkers of The Old Course.
Coupled with this is the extensive renovation of the old course of the San Roque Club, whereby improvements have been made to the drainage system, the tree planning, bunker development, irrigation and grass replacement throughout the course. All this has taken place whilst maintaining the course design by the famous Welsh architect.
Our team of greenkeepers have worked meticulously on the planning and investigation in order to determine the best type of grass to plant on this course, with the clear objective of sustainable maintenance where water use is more efficient and the grass adapts better to the climate conditions of the area.
Following this line of enquiry with regards to the adoption of measures which support the fight against climate change and environmental conservation, the grass varieties that were chosen were those that improved playability as well as being more sustainable and requiring more efficient maintenance.
The Bermuda Latitude 36 has been chosen for the fairways, thereby reducing water consumption, the use of fertilizer and also chemical products. For the greens and the tees the grass chosen was Bent Grass Pure Select, the ideal product which offers the player an experience of exceptional ball rolling and a very interesting visual development throughout the year, according to a study carried out by the “National Turfgrass Evaluation Program”.
These measures have been boosted by the improvements in drainage and watering along the whole of the course, reducing ground moisture and water consumption considerably. Moreover, a further factor that is highly valued by the golf player is the work undertaken in terms of tree management which has increased the
acquisition of sunlight throughout most of the course and has thus improved the appearance of the grass generally as well as opening up the driving range from the tee and allowing the use of the driver on many more holes of The Old Course.
With this redevelopment, a lot of focus has also been on the playability of the course and the time needed to complete the 18 holes. It is for this reason that the number of bunkers has been reduced and an important mulch placement strategy has been implemented in areas previously occupied by the rough, thereby
facilitating the finding of balls diverted from the fairway and accelerating the golf course maintenance by the greenkeepers, as has been shown by numerous studies by the USGA.
To speak of The Old Course is not only to speak of a competitive and attractive design, of excellent maintenance and a unique landscape. To speak of The Old Course is to speak of first rate facilities, enclaved in an exclusive country club, one which has undergone important improvements, the redesigning of the course being just one of them.
These improvements place The San Roque Club once again at the top of European and world courses on a design level as well as in sustainability and gameplay, in one of the most attractive areas not only of the Spanish peninsula, but also Europe-wide. This has resulted in, year after year, thousands of players from the old continent and the rest of the world coming to enjoy what the Costa del Sol has to offer, making it one of the fastest growing destinations.
The tee line of the driving range has been refined, as has the ball landing zone where artificial grass has been placed across all surfaces. This important development compliments the renovation of the Casa Club, the former country house of the illustrious Domecq family, the pro-shop and the cafeteria, which has been converted into a modern and elegant space with views of the putting green and the 18th hole.
Renovations have also been made to the shopping areas and the changing rooms and Tony Jacklin’s famous residence will also undergo modifications. These changes will continue in the future to ensure a better golfing experience to golf players who will be able to enjoy what was the key complex in the 1997 Ryder Cup. It was in The San Roque Club, in the villas adjacent to The Old Course, where the American and European team members resided and where the room posters of each of the players can currently be found.