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Play like royalty on these Royal golf courses in Continental Europe

18 September 2018
7 min. read
This is a follow-up story on our first blog about Royal golf courses (which was updated in 2020), "Play like royalty on these Royal golf courses in the UK and Ireland". We now present the best royal courses in Continental Europe.
Beautiful views and greens at Real Golf de Pedreña

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 pinewoods.

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 challenge.

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 maintenance.

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 hidden gems!

Feel free to share in the comments which courses you played!!
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