The search for royal courses in Continental Europe is a lot more difficult, as
searching for ‘royal’ will not do the trick anymore. In Dutch and
Flemish ‘Royal’ is known as ‘Koninklijk‘, in Spanish it is ‘Real‘, in Swedish it is ‘Kungliga‘
and we could go on. There are not a lot of monarchies in Europe
anymore, but that does not mean that there are no royal golf courses in
non-monarchies. For example Royal Bled
is located in Slovenia which is a Republic now, but Slovenia was part
of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia hence the existence of this royal course.
In this article we highlight the 10 best royal golf courses in
Continental Europe. We will then move on to areas outside of Europe. How many of the courses below have you played? Which one was the best? Let us know by writing a review
Top 10 Royals – Continental Europe
The list below is made based on the ratings of golfers on
Leadingcourses.com (beginning of September 2018). Golf courses that are
listed in this top 10 had an overall rating of 8.3 or higher.
Real Club Valderrama – Spain
Real Club Valderrama is one of the best known golf clubs in Europe and has been ranked consistently in the top of the Golfers’ Choice rankings for Spain
In 2018 they ended up 1st in the best golf club overall, the best golf
course and the best maintenance. The course was designed by Robert Trent
Jones in 1975 and is sometimes referred to as ‘The Augusta of Europe’.
The club has been host to many tournaments, but hosting the Ryder Cup in
1997 was certainly a highlight. It’s not cheap to play here and
tee-times are limited, but it’s a great experience.
Real Golf de Pedreña – Spain
Real Golf de Pedreña
is located in one of the most beautiful parts of Cantabria. The
location, the scenery and the design make Pedreña one of a kind. The
layout of the course has been adapted to the natural topography of the
terrain. This natural 18-hole course was designed in 1929 by Harry S.
Colt and is surrounded by pinewoods. It also provides magnificent views
of Santander Bay and the Cubas estuary. In 1991 Severiano Ballesteros
added another 9 holes. Seven of these new holes run along the banks of
the river Cubas estuary while finishing on the 8th and 9th inside the
Koninklijke Haagsche G&CC – The Netherlands
The Royal Haagsche Golf & Country Club
was founded in 1893, making it the oldest golf club in The Netherlands.
The 18-hole course is located in the dunes at Wassenaar about 3.5 km
from the sea. The course was designed by the famous golfers Harry Colt and Col. Hugh Alison. The
golf course is a highly acclaimed links course and is considered one of
the finest championship courses in the Netherlands. Both the golf
course and golf club have ranked 1st in The Netherlands in the Dutch Golfers’ Choice Awards
years in a row. During the construction of the course, the dune
landscape has been maintained, leaving a very natural environment. Each
hole offers a completely different view and is always a new surprising
Royal Park Golf I Roveri – Italy
It’s striking location makes it unique in Europe: surrounded by the Olympic Alps and immersed in the La Mandria Park, Royal Park I Roveri
rises at a stone’s throw from the Palace of Venaria. Royal Park I
Roveri is also only located 15 km from the center of Turin. Royal Park I
Roveri inherited its ‘royal’ name for the old Royal hunting reserve.
The course is layed out in this beautiful reserve and ancient forest. Is
it a real ‘royal’ course in the sense that they received their name
from the crown? Not really, but we’ll let it pass this time.
Real Club de Golf Sotogrande – Spain
Founded in 1964, Real Club de Golf Sotogrande
is located on prime golfing land close to the beachfront between the
river Guadiaro and Sotogrande marina. RCG Sotogrande is often voted to
be among the top ten golf courses in Europe – and rightly so.
“Sotogrande Old”, as it is called by the locals, boasts mature
vegetation with pine, cork oaks, eucalyptus and giant palm trees
enhancing the natural beauty of the surroundings. The greens are large
and the tees are very long, some would say excessively so, but they
allow for variations in pin placement and the length of hole. The
contours of the greens are typical Trent Jones and the bunkers were the
first in Europe to be filled with brilliant white crushed marble.
Another ‘first’ at Sotogrande was the use of Bermuda grass on fairways.
Royal Waterloo Golfclub – Belgium
Royal Waterloo Golfclub
is located in the stunning Walloon Brabant region, a stone’s throw from
the site of the famous battle of Waterloo. There are three outstanding
courses for visitors to enjoy : La Marache, Le Lion and Le Bois-Héros,
designed by Fred Hawtree and upgrated by his son Martin, both celebrated
golf course architects. Our courses are maintained by a team of more
than 20 greenkeepers, who have made Royal Waterloo the finest 45-hole
golf club in Belgium.
Royal Golf Club Sart Tilman – Belgium
Of all the Belgian courses that Tom Simpson has designed, he is perhaps proudest of Royal Golf Club Sart Tilman
which was officially opened in 1939. The Liège course is a genuine
delight. It’s all the more remarkable that the famous British architect,
who also designed the courses of Spa, Ravenstein, Mons and Antwerp, was
hindered in his creative endeavours by a hostile natural environment
and a limited budget. Despite having to clear nearly twenty acres of
trees, remove fourteen thousand stumps and add five thousand cubic
meters of earth, the challenge was nevertheless overcome.
Royal Bercuit Golf Club – Belgium
In 1965, an important businessman and
landowner, Baron Frederic Rolin, began clearing the Bercuit site. Based
on an American concept, the project included an 18 hole golf course and
some real estate development. Robert Trent Jones Sr. agreed to design
the course. Bercuit is the only Belgian golf course designed by this
famous architect. The course is laid out in gently rolling terrain, pine
wood, heather and rhododendrons.
Royal Bled – Slovenia
The Royal Bled
Golf Course first opened in 1937 and was redesigned by famous golf
architect Donald Harradine in 1972. It’s the oldest Slovenian golf
course and is said to be one of the most beautiful golf courses in
Central Europe. The facility offers two courses; the 18-hole King’s
Course and the 9-hole Lake Course. The unique location conveys a feeling
of tranquility, as one is surrounded by the Slovenian Alps and an
idyllic countryside. From the golf course it’s only 4 kilometres to the
centre of Bled and its enchanting lake.
Real Club Sevilla Golf – Spain
The golf course of Real Club Sevilla Golf
was designed by José Maria Olazabal. It has a balanced layout able to
accommodate any type of competition, both amateur and professional. The
complex covers an area of 61 hectares with more than 10,000 trees,
making this a demanding but enjoyable round of golf. All the greens were
renovated in 2012 and 2013 and the course is known for its good
Highest density of Royal golf courses
Kungliga Drottningholms Golfklubb (photo credits, member ZigaStajner)
Both Belgium and Spain have a very
high amount of royal golf courses, so if you want to tick of some royal
courses, then you need to go there. There are 13 Belgian golf courses
with ‘Royal’ in their name. And Spain has at least 18 golf courses that are called ‘Real’.
The following royal courses just missed the top 10:
We also wanted to specially mention Kungliga Drottningholms Golfklubb
in Sweden. Not a lot of people have reviewed this course, but by
judging from the photos this is definitely a hidden gem. And we love
Feel free to share in the comments which courses you played!!