San Roque New - love at first sight

EXCLUSIVE We get a sneak preview of Perry Dye's latest creation on the Costa Del Sol. Find out more...

Bob Warters's picture
Wed, 24 Sep 2003

San Roque New –some corking holes.

Perry Dye is probably best known to golfers as the son of Pete Dye, arguably the world’s leading course designer. But along with his brother Paul he has fast built a reputation as a creator himself.

His latest, as golfers visiting the Sotogrande area around Spain’s Costa Del Sol will soon discover, is the breathtaking San Roque New course, just 20 minutes from Gibraltar.

The hotel and golf course complex is already established as the original home of the European Tour Qualifying School and where the US and Europe Ryder Cup teams relaxed during the heat of the 1997 battle. Now it is set to re-invent itself as the venue for one of the most exciting courses in Continental Europe.

Love grass –looks great but….

Dye uses whispy grasses, pot bunkers and wild flowers to colour his golf course canvass while a combination of natural cork trees and man-made lakes provides the focal points of the two 9-hole loops.

I was privileged to be one of the first to play the course on this week prior to its official press launch in November and opening for members and visitors in January.

Longshot Holidays who include the San Roque New in their 2004 brochure, arranged for the hotel’s English golf director Ian Martin to accompany us during our tilt at the 15 holes already complete. And he was rightly proud to be associated with the Dye masterpiece.

"We still consider it as work in progress because we’re still over-seeding some of the fairways and work is being done on some of the greens and tees. But its potential is fabulous," he told me. "We are confident that it will soon become one of the finest courses in Spain and be listed among the best in Europe."

However, until the Spanish Golf Federation gives its blessing and agreed the course measurements, not even club competitions can take place.

The 9th green - spectacular.

Though there is a certain feeling of déjà vu with some holes where drives are demanded between typical mounding over the brow of a hill (7th and 14th), almost every other hole most courses would kill to describe as their signature.

The 3rd demands a tee shot avoiding a nest of pot bunkers and an approach to a green on the skyline over which a cork tree casts its giant shadow. The par-3 fourth requires a tee shot to an island green with a backdrop of magnificent villas – most of which seemed to be still under construction.

It’s not until the 7th and 8th holes that the Love (pronounced L-U-R-V-E) grass (Eragrostis elegans) makes its spectacular entrance, wafting and waving like a green velvet sea beside the approaches to each green. It looks fabulous but if your ball disappears into its fibre-optic strands you can be standing over it and not find it, let alone play it!

A 150 metre-long lake dominates the 7th, 14th and 17th holes while water is still gushing into the huge water feature which separates the 9th and 18th.

Measured unofficially at 6,626 metres from the championship tees, San Roque II incorporate the contours of the local hills and Guadalquiton River with views beyond to the Mediterranean Sea.

It will certainly be a challenge for both low handicap golfers and with a choice of five tee position on each hole. And even the higher handicap players can simulate the pros landing areas.

While 18 holes will likely set you back 130 euro in high season, residents who book through Longshot can play it for less than 80 euro. For further info visit Longshot Golf Holidays and San Roque Golf Hotel.

If your interested in golf abroad then take a look at our Travel Partners who specialise in golfing breaks to European and Worldwide destinations.



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