Golf Course Architecture - Issue 73, July 2023

49 in alright condition, but they weren’t quite up to the American level. That has improved a lot.” Another difference Robinson has found is that American developers, the majority of them, either play golf themselves or know a lot about golf. But the majority of European golf developers only do a golf course because they feel they have to have them as part of their development. “Some learn, like Javier at Finca Cortesin,” he says. “He knows a good deal about it now. But they are really neophytes when it comes to understanding what it’s like and I think that now, because of some of the success of American-designed courses – especially from Jack [Nicklaus], who has done some very good courses – there’s a more ready acceptance of the cost of an American designer. And we are more expensive than virtually anyone in Europe. But in the end, I think the courses Americans have done here have stood up pretty well for the most part.” Robinson was not surprised about the growth of the game on the Costa del Sol. “When I came over here, I told Mr Jones I would stay for at least two years,” he says. “He had done Sotogrande and Real Club de Las Brisas in Marbella, and we had some other leads. He was very confident this could be a big area for development. I didn’t speak any Spanish at the time, but I did feel climate-wise it could work, and I knew that he was pretty much a visionary in many respects. He really believed in the destination. There are other golf destination points in Europe, but none of them have the variety or number or courses in a small area that the Costa del Sol has.” Photo: Steve Carr