The Dream Team of Golf in Spain

President of the European Golf & Travel Media Association

The 1996 Olympics in Barcelona produced something the world had never seen before: a U.S. Basketball team comprised of all the stars of the NBA, including Jordan, Magic, Bird, Barkley, Stockton, Malone, Ewing, Drexler, Robinson and more. Needless to say, there was no real competition and they took Olympic Golf in emphatic fashion and cemented Barcelona’s reputation as a must-visit city.

Roll on nearly 30 years and there is still a dream team around town: the superb golf clubs that form part of the Barcelona Golf Destination and, recently, I was fortunate enough to visit some of them and was treated to many of the culinary and liquid delights this area has to offer. 

First up is the Real Club de Golf El Prat that takes its name from the area where the current airport is located. Started in the early 1900s in the center of town, it moved to the outskirts when the airport needed more room to expand and it provided El Prat golf with an opportunity to build a 45 hole complex slightly more inland within a nature reserve. 

Greg Norman was the architect and he put together two full 18’s with Yellow and Pink plus a Green academy course. This is first and foremost a members’ club and the who’s who of the Barcelona social and business elite are well represented. This does mean that the facilities are always top notch or that the course is always meticulously prepared, but the Who’s Who of Barcelona business and sports play at El Prat and it is home to many tour pros. 

I played the Pink, and at 7,060 Yards, it is the longest with a slope of 145 and the most testing.  The front 9 is the flatter of the two while the back 9 meanders along the outskirts of the property. Big undulating greens protected by large bunkers test every aspect of your game. The restaurant serves fabulous food with a daily changing menu. The La Mola Hotel on site is funky and quirky and only offers golf and business stays.

Not too far away is the Barcelona Golf which also has a hotel on site and you can walk from your room to the clubhouse which is always handy. The course was founded in 1989 during the European golf boom and it was Jose Maria Olazabal, still early in his professional golf career, who carved out one of his first 18 hole courses in what remains a challenging piece of land. It’s primarily a member’s course with visitor play available.

A bit further North along the coast is the Llavanares Golf Club that was built in 1945, and Fred Hawtree created the current layout. It’s short (5,500 Yards), narrow (on 34 hectares), and quirky (Par 70) but lots of fun to play. It feels like you are playing in somebody’s garden because it is such a beautiful area. 

Normally, I would reach for the driver on every tee shot, but not here, so working out your yardages from the tee to give you the best chance to score is paramount. It has views of the Mediterranean on most holes and especially from the clubhouse that sits on the hill overlooking the course and where the food is again excellent. 


Terramar is situated in Sitges and hugs the gorgeous Mediterranean coastline. It has hosted many professional events, including, most recently, the Ladies European Tour for the past four years. Vallromanes is another F. Hawtree design with its historic 1712 castle clubhouse and covering 6,650 tree lined yards. 

The last one in the area is the Golf de Montanya in the middle of the Montseny Natural Park high in the foothills of the Pyrenees. Ryder Cup player David Thomas designed 18 challenging holes which are as tranquil as you can get. Like every club in the area, the quality of the clubhouse food is unsurpassed.

The golf courses got together to create the Barcelona Golf Passport that allows golfers to combine courses at a fixed price which works out cheaper than booking them individually. You can book the pass with live tee times via their website.

Outside of the golf, there is plenty to do and see. We mentioned the quality of the food in the clubhouses and this extends to wine where local wineries produce quality wines in testing conditions. The DO Allele is a 7 generations run small vineyard where the story is as important as the wine. You can also visit the small vineyards that offer wine tastings. For those who want to see what European fashion is all about, the La Roca Village Shopping center brings together the world’s best brands and creates a shopping experience like no other. There are personal shoppers at hand to assist.

The Barcelona El Prat airport has several daily direct flights from Los Angeles, Miami, New York, and Philadelphia. Upon arrival, the golf courses are all less than an hour drive from the airport.

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