This elite urbanisation, one of the most prestigious in Europe, located between Marbella and Gibraltar, in the municipality of San Roque, begins to take shape in the Sixties, when businessman Joseph McMicking began to search lands in the Mediterranean area to build what is nowadays known as Sotogrande. With a long list of possibilities, he decided with his nephews Jaime and Enrique Zóbel to buy the property of Paniagua country estate,which is endowed with great scenery and beautiful land close to the Straits of Gibraltar, from where Northern Africa and Gibraltar could be seen, located very near the Guadiaro River mouth and only one hour drive away from the International Airport of Malaga. Nowadays there is easy access to Gibraltar (20 mins), and Jerez (50 mins) airports.
In the course of tiem Sotogrande becomes something more than a simple urbanisation with more than 2000 hects of great surface and becoming a model in the development of quality tourism related to golf, polo and water sports practice. Currently it provides a unique life style which all and each one of their residents are proud of, as well as of its good climate, since on average of 325 days of sun a year, make of it, apart from an ideal tourism centre for holidays a wonderful site to live all year long.
Sotogrande also posseses its own administrating firm, and an International School among its diverse services such as two beach clubs, Octogono & Cucurucho, two paddle and tennis clubs, and equestrian centre, a sailing school, a children park for the joy of the youngest, Iguana Fun Park. And apart from all of this, services such as hotels, restaurants, banks, shops, gyms, shopping centre (malls), chemist’s and a church should be added.
Robert Trent Jones was in charge of the design of the first golf courses in Sotogrande, Real Golf Club of Sotogrande and so the first international colonists began to come in order to create an exclusive social community, “Sotogrande a residential paradise”.
Surrounded by eight top international ranking golf courses, soon to be nine, it has the best golf course in Europe, Valderrama Golf Course, which is considered as one of the best in the world, which in 1997 became the first hosting place for Ryder Cup away from Britain and United States. In addition, we find the Real Golf Club of Sotogrande, Almenara Golf Course, la Reserva de Almenara Golf Course, the first municipal golf course in Spain, Golf Club La Cañada, San Roque Golf Club I & II, Alcaidesa Link Golf Course and the new one of Alcaidesa, opened the 2nd of July 2007. All of them designed between vast cork trees grove and transparent water lakes.
In the world of golf, Sotogrande is named by different ways …”Mecca of Golf, European Capital of Golf, Golden Triangle of Golf”, there truly is nowhere else comparable in quality and quantity.
A total amount of 162 holes among the nine existing clubs at present and from there are 3 in the ranking of the 50 best golf courses in Europe. Valderrama, 1º, Real Golf Club of Sotogrande, 7º, and San Roque Golf Course I, 35º.
With a range of worldwide known Polo courts, nowadays it has 9. The first of all was the mythical one of La Playa, 1965. No one could have ever imagined that, this would be the beginning of what today is one of the most rooted hobbies in Campo de Gibraltar, and year by year, attracts more and more enthusiasts. Its Club Santa María Polo Club is up today one the most important in Europe.
In 1971, the well-known Copa de Oro of Sotogrande was played for its first time, won by the team Casarejo Portales, whose boss was Pedro Domecq de la Riva and since them, until now. The Copa de Oro, Copa de Plata, Copa de Bronce, Memorial Pedro Domecq de la Riva, Memorial Conde de Guaqui, Memorial José Ignacio Domecq, Open Santa María and the Copa Fundador Enrique Zóbel, constitute the most important trophies of the annual calendar, among the majority of 40 tournaments which shape it.
The courts are located in 3 areas:
- Los Pinos, courts I, II, III y IV can be found there. The top handicap of summer international tournament and a big majority of winter ones are nowadays played at these courts, due to their capability for adverse weather conditions.
- Río Sotogrande, courts I and II. The top handicap of summer is at present played there together with other winter and spring tournaments.
- Puente de Hierro, courts I, II and III. Courts I and II are usually reserved for medium and lower handicap. Court III is used for practising.
San Roque. The old town centre was declared as historical-artistic monumental group. White facades with artistic ironworks and noble woodwork, steep streets, grilled balconies with flowers, whitewashed andalusian patios, give this town an incomparable style.
San Enrique. This village develops itself within the polo centre of the area. It is usual to find groups of horses being moved to polo courts.
Jimena de la Frontera. A village for history and nature lovers, it’s declared as historical-artistic monumental group due to its valuable conservation. Surrounded by Cork Trees Park with areas for big and small game hunting.
San Martín del Tesorillo. A very rich village close to Sotogrande, where all kinds of maintenance work such as plumbers, electrician, etc, can be found.
Tarifa. With an Arabic atmosphere, narrow streets and surrounded by walls, it clashes between wind-surf and kite-surf hobbies and where a variety of specialized shops for these sports, pubs, restaurants and so on can be found, printing a lively image Suring summer season.