Golf Course Architecture - Issue 70, October 2022

61 hole, the last of an impressive and varied set of par fives, which will be punctuated by a volcano-style bunker alongside the green. The designers presumably wanted an explosive end to an exhilarating round. At the centre of the property a double-sided driving range has been built, with a short game area alongside it. Next to that there is space for further development – enough for a short course, but the owners are currently preferring a country club element, with tennis courts and pool. The number of golf members will be limited at 777 (a number arrived at with a degree of mystery by the head of La Finca), making Los Lagos a more intimate proposition than Madrid’s other upscale clubs, like La Moraleja and Club de Campo, each of which has multiple thousands of members. Only homeowners will have a guaranteed option of membership, a decision that may well be contributing to the success of the real estate operation. La Finca’s corporate slogan is ‘Always Exceptional’, and it is clearly committed to carrying this ethos to the golf course. While seeking to deliver a highly manicured course, it remains conscious of the need for good environmental stewardship. This has included the preservation of trees, and respecting the existing waterways, plus the investment in a Rain Bird IC system to give them precise control over water use. While Stirling & Martin continues to pick up new commissions in Spain, Europe and beyond (their current workload includes a new course in Paraguay, for example), Los Lagos will always be exceptional for them too. When appointed in 1999 for a project a couple of kilometres from their design office, they cannot have imagined that it would be almost 25 years until a course emerged on the land. But the wait is almost over, and Los Lagos will headline the firm’s portfolio. GCA LA F INCA GOLF LOS LAGOS The par-four ninth hole returns to the clubhouse, currently in construction. Top, the island green fifteenth, one of a number of holes on the back nine that wind through mature trees of the former Somosaguas nine-hole course. The back nine will be grassed in 2023 Photos: Fernando Herranz Sánchez