New Finca Cortesin greens to set the pace in Spain

Finca Cortesin Hotel, Golf & Spa has begun work on an ambitious greens renovation programme that will put the resort’s putting surfaces on a par with some of the most famous and exclusive venues in golf.

The deluxe Andalucian resort will become the first golf course in Spain to feature a new, environmentally-friendly type of Bermuda grass on all its greens when the project is completed this summer.

Renovation work to relay all 18 greens on Finca Cortesin’s acclaimed championship course, as well as the practice putting green, with a new variety of Ultra Dwarf Bermuda grass began at the end of last month.

And with the new grass being grown at a nursery in Plasencia, Caceres, in the centre of Spain, disruption for golfers is anticipated to be kept to a minimum, with the course set to fully reopen barely a month after work commences.

Some of the most prestigious venues in the world including Sawgrass, Quail Hollow and East Lake Golf Club have enjoyed huge success since converting to Ultradwarf Bermuda grass greens, and golf industry expert Ken Mangum believes the many benefits from the new investment will help take the five-star golfing experience at Finca Cortesin to an even higher level.

Mangum, ex-director of golf courses and grounds at Atlanta Athletic Golf Club and head consultant on the project after being recommended by Finca Cortesin head greenkeeper Ignacio Soto, said: “Many great courses around the world have used the Ultra Dwarf greens system for several years. Overall, they are more environmentally-friendly, cost effective and sustainable.

“The new greens will offer more great days of play, especially during warmer times of the year.  Less pitchmarks will be visible.  The dark green colour and surface uniformity will provide good speed and firmness throughout the season.”

Soto, who is supervising the greens project, has spent the last two years testing different varieties of grass to find the most suitable – including building a short game area to study the Ultra Dwarf Bermuda’s qualities in greater detail.

He said: “Ken is a world authority on these type of greens and it’s great to have someone with his knowledge and expertise working with us. Finca Cortesin has always been renowned for its exceptional greens, and making the switch to this new type of Bermuda grass will ensure that we can maintain the condtion of the course to the high level that our golfers expect all year round.”

Designed by American Cabell Robinson, Finca Cortesin’s renowned par-72 championship course has hosted numerous high-profile professional and amateur tournaments including the Volvo World Match Play Championship in 2009, 2011 and 2012.

Robinson visited the course earlier this year and is delighted with the upgrades that are being made over the coming months.

In addition to renovating its putting surfaces, Finca Cortesin is also undertaking a comprehensive bunker drainage improvement programme this summer to reconstruct its bunkers using the renowned ‘Better Billy Bunker’ system.

Robinson added: “Ultra Dwarf Bermuda grass is an excellent grass and it will be so much easier to maintain and to keep bad grasses out. This particular variety has been very successful in America and I have no reason to doubt it won’t be here.

“The greens are going to be so much more uniform, and the colours will be the same as the Bermuda grass fairways, so there will be a certain harmonious aspect to all the grass on the course. I think they will do nothing but improve the course.”

Opened in March 2006 and set across a vast 532-acre estate, Finca Cortesin is regarded among Europe’s most exclusive modern golf and lifestyle destination resorts, and is the newest addition to the exclusive European Tour Properties network.

Complementing its world-class golf course are outstanding practice facilities including a state-of-the-art Jack Nicklaus Golf Academy, and the resort was recently named as the ‘Best Golf Resort in Europe’ by users of the respected website .

Located in the rolling hills of southern Spain between Marbella and Sotogrande, with the Mediterranean to one side and the tranquil Casares Mountains to the other, Finca Cortesin’s other world-class facilities include an elegant 67-suite hotel, Hotel Cortesin, a 6,000sqm Beach Club and an award-winning spa featuring Spain’s only snow cave, with bespoke treatments by French beauty brand Boilogique Recherche.

Hotel Cortesin offers the choice of four restaurants including El Jardin de Lutz, serving authentic Spanish cuisine, and the Michelin-starred signature Japanese restaurant Kabuki Raw. The development also features an exclusive collection of villas which are available for purchase or rental.