Golf Course Architecture - Issue 64, April 2021

57 I n the fiercely competitive luxury club market on the southern tip of Spain, intuition might suggest that extravagant spending is necessary to attract wealthy members and guests. But with a peer group that includes Valderrama, Sotogrande, La Reserva and Finca Cortesin, that might not set you apart from the crowd. When a new ownership group took control of The San Roque Club, it opted for a different approach. By the mid-2010s, some 25 years after it had first been laid out, the Old course at San Roque had grown tired. Drainage was a particular problem. The area typically gets five to six major storms each year and these would render the course unplayable for days while the grounds crew repaired damage, particularly to the bunkers. At its lowest point, following a storm in 2016, f looding caused major damage to the clubhouse and some of the surrounding residences. As the club began to falter, its members – who at that time were preparing an acquisition bid of their own – sought advice on how best to revitalise a course that had previously been fit to play regular host to the European Tour’s qualifying school finals. They called upon golf course consultant John Clarkin of the Ireland-based Turfgrass Consultancy firm for help. He made the trip to Spain, walked the course, drafted his recommendations, and waited to hear back. In late 2018, shortly after that visit, events took a turn. Management and development Photo: The San Roque Club