Golf Course Architecture - Issue 73, July 2023

or the Solheim Cup. To be honest, most of the courses I have done here on the coast are probably capable golf-wise of hosting tournaments, but I think that was an afterthought because it costs a lot of money to host a tournament. I think he got the idea that having a major tournament would benefit real estate sales.” Judging by the massive properties now overlooking the first six holes alone, he was right. The course routing will change for the Solheim Cup. “The big change is starting out with a driveable par four, the fourth hole in the regular routing,” says Robinson. “It’s an exciting hole, and they thought it would be a better start, photographically, because they can get a lot of camera angles on it.” What the teams from Europe and the US will encounter after that opener is a layout quite generous off the tee and a collection of strong par fours, highlighted by the uphill fifteenth which could be the deciding hole in many matches. “I’ve always believed in making the fairways fairly wide,” says Robinson. “But if you go off course at Finca Cortesin, you can be in deep trouble because it gets impenetrable quickly.” No expense was spared, either on the course or at the adjoining 67-suite luxury resort, where both Solheim Cup teams will be staying. “The one thing I am very complimentary to Javier about is that while he knew nothing about golf, and didn’t know much about it during construction, when it came to doing the right thing or the cheap thing, he always opted for the right thing. I had no real problems, economically, to do what I wanted to do there. He wanted quality above anything else. Even the clubhouse, which is certainly not very large but very tastefully done, really proves that you don’t necessarily need to go huge to hold a major tournament.” Robinson says the biggest change in European golf design during his career involves course maintenance. “When Jones did Sotogrande [in 1964], his first work over here, he had the owner send a team member to America to travel around and see courses and their upkeep. Now an awful lot of superintendents over here, the better ones, have gone to schools like Penn State or Michigan State, not necessarily for a full three-year term, but they come back with a much better knowledge of maintenance. I think 50 years ago the courses here were 47 Photo: Andalucía Golf Magazine