Spain capital

Golf in Madrid – Madrid – Where to play in the Spanish capital

Most people looking to play golf in Spain will flock to its treasure chest of well-known courses along or near its charming and bustling 3,000-mile coastline.

And while different coasts are home to brilliant designs, heading inland can be rewarding in different ways.

Madrid is pretty much right in the center of the country and offers more than enough culture, history and tourist attractions to please the most discerning traveler.

The town has a number of pedigree courses which make it a very attractive base for your next golf trip.

Santander

Designed by Rees Jones and Seve Ballesteros in 2005, Santander is laid out on what was previously uninspiring land.

It’s hard to imagine now as the result is an extremely attractive course kept in good condition with bold bunkers and plenty of water.

It gets particularly intrusive at three of the short holes: the 7th, which is played from an elevated tee above the lake; the 11, where it borders the green to the left and behind; and the penultimate hole where it borders the front half of a circular green.

Subtle elevation changes add challenge and visual appeal, and the holes are nicely separated by olive trees.

Retamares

Designed by Jose Maria Olazabal and surrounded by farmland, it offers fabulous distant views of the mountains further north.

Unusually, the course opens on index shot one, a challenging par 4 up the hill to a well-protected green.

Fortunately, this is balanced by the course’s shortest hole on the 2nd, with a chance to make up for any early ground lost.

There are semi-blind readers on 5th and again on 6th where a meandering stream awaits the unsuspecting.

There’s a lot of wow factor in the second half, especially at the watery 10th and even more so for the elevated drive at the beautiful par-4 15th. Retamares is a family and informal club where the golf is fun and the views are more than impressive.

Retamares Golf

(Image credit: Retamares GC)

Real Sociedad Hipica Espanola

There are two very solid courses at this private club on the northern outskirts of Madrid.

Both were designed by the brilliant and prolific Robert von Hagge, with the Nord surpassing him in design and frame.

The nines were swapped a few years ago and so the course now opens with an absolute cracker of a par 5 with a blind drive to the front before heading left and down to a fabulous green with a short lake on the right and a wall of bunkers protecting the safety line on the left.

There’s plenty of drama throughout, with other highlights including the short 5th where water will swallow up anything fair, the 13-split fairway and the imperious par-5 finishing hole.

Luke Donald won the Madrid Masters here in 2010 as he approached his peak en route to becoming world No.1.

Real Sociedad Hipica Espanola

Real Sociedad – the ninth hole with the impressive clubhouse beyond

(Image credit: Rob Smith)

Supporting Cast…

One downside to golf in this area is that it is not so much visitor oriented. Some clubs are “members and guests” only, but some will respond favorably to a diplomatic and flexible approach.

Two of the most private are La Moraleja, which has four beautiful courses, and Real Puerta de Hierro, with two.

Madrid’s Club de Campo Villa has a more welcoming policy, while the leafy La Herreria course is dominated by the magnificent Monastery of San Lorenzo.

The Encin Golf Hotel’s resort course is great fun, and Lomas-Bosque has a lovely setting with the back nine bordering the lake.

Where to play

Santander

Par 71, 6,456 yards

www.golfsantander.es

Retamares

Par 72, 6,518 yards

www.golfretamares.com

Real Sociedad Hipica Espanola

Par 72, 6,157 yards

www.rshecc.es