Description of the Course
Valderrama has great natural beauty. The club is especially proud of its gnarled old Cork Oak trees, some of which were there when Columbus set sail. They number well over two thousand and Trent Jones went to great lengths to disturb as few as possible.
The golfing qualities of the course can be simply stated. It has no hole less than championship standard and is always in superb condition. Number 17, once a long slogging par 5 was remodelled under the direction of Seve Ballesteros, whose advice was suggested by Trent Jones after the designer felt that he could no longer travel regularly form his Florida home to Valderrama. That hole is now an engrossing test of skill for club players and championship contenders alike. And for spectators, there are magnificent viewing opportunities at a hole where tournaments can be won or lost.
In championship golf, the quality of the last four holes is very important. At Valderrama, each of these is superb. And yet they - and all the other holes, too - can be played with satisfaction by the Club member, because Trent Jones achieved to an unusual degree a goal he pursued throughout his career: "hard par, easy bogey." The golfer who plays from the tee that suits his or her game is sure to have an enjoyable round.
The greens are immaculate, and for championship play can be brought to the very slickest condition. Some are quite severely contoured, and others can be difficult to read.
On any golf course, especially near the sea, the wind can be a factor. Valderrama is unusual in that it has two prevailing winds. The Poniente (from the West) is hot and dry in summer after crossing the plains. The humid and more temperate Levante (easterly, from the sea) causes less of a problem.
The superb condition of the course is owed partly to the fact that the late Ortiz-Patiño´s commitment to it was total, extending literally to the grass-roots level. The late president of Valderrama had an expert knowledge of all aspects of golf course management. He personally supervised every maintenance routine, as well as the design and carrying out of improvements. His standing in the specialized field of course superintendent was attested to by the membership of official working groups and research committees at the highest level, including the USGA and Royal & Ancient. Ortiz-Patiño kept his expertise up-to-date and is was much at home at a superintendents´ convention or seminar in the U.S. as anywhere else.
As a result, Valderrama´s fairways have been described by top professionals and leading writers as the best in Europe, if not the world. They are covered with the finest strain of grass, Tifway 419, as are the tees and roughs. On the greens and aprons, the grass is Penncross, a variety of creeping Bentgrass. The roughs around the greens are Penncross mixed with three varieties of Ryegrass.