After a Leona Maguire inspired Europe triumphed on US soil for just the second time in Solheim Cup history all eyes quickly turned to the 2023 edition in Finca Cortesin, Spain.
I took a trip to the Solheim Cup host course to see what all the fuss was about and to scope out how Maguire might get on should she make the European team in two years.
The resort is absolutely fabulous, it is heaven on earth. Francisco de Lancastre the general manager has done a fantastic job on the golf course and the resort alongside his colleague Rocío Sanchez.
I stayed in the hotel for two nights and played two rounds of golf on the golf course and I enjoyed every minute of it.
The golf course could hold the Solheim Cup tomorrow and here is where I could easily stop writing. A world class golf course, that has hosted the European Tour’s Volvo Matchplay on three occasions.
The course is perfect it is in immaculate condition. The best greens I have ever played on, you dare not breathe on a downhill putt.
Situated just under an hour from Malaga and nearby the Costa del Sol in Casares, Finca is a destination inside a destination.
On every hole of the golf course I was treated to breath-taking views of the mountain ranges and the Mediterranean sea. The staff space out the tee times 12 minutes apart so even though the timesheet was full with the 110 players, I felt completely alone in my own little world hitting a white ball around the greatest field I have ever been on.
The real estate is carefully built so it doesn’t blot the landscape and while other golf courses have had howlers where various on course houses or buildings have become eyesores, the villas that overlook the course, in particular the par-3 6th hole add to the aesthetics.
The Cabell B. Robsinson design coupled with Gerald Huggan’s attractive landscaping captures the natural characteristics of the area, adding up to an ideal balance between 20 varieties of flora and the typical Mediterranean forest.
As an Irishman the experience of playing on perfectly manicured Bermuda grass is novel to me and I loved it. Bermuda rough doesn’t have to be overly long for it to be challenging and punishing. The ball just settles down in the sticky grass like it’s attached to a piece of Velcro.
The driving range is simply stunning you are effectively hitting off a balcony looking down onto the range with the backdrop of golf course and the Mediterranean sea to the right hand side what better setting to make you think you’re good at golf before you take to the first tee.
The staff are fantastic and take great pride in making sure you enjoy your day and are well prepared to tackle the golf course providing fresh fruit before you head to the first tee for an unforgettable round of golf.
Green fee 18 holes
High Season: €320, Mid Season: €300, Low Season: €260
Green fee 9 holes
High Season: €165, Mid Season: €160, Low Season: €145
The hotel built in 2006 is still in relative infancy but the fact it is situated in an old style building give it this ancient feeling which is enhanced by the interior design.
Inspired by traditional Andalusian architecture the hotel is built around two main courtyards of palatial proportion that combines a traditional Mediterranean lifestyle and contemporary living.
Finca is the perfect getaway destination for those in need of pristine isolation.
The hotel consists of 67 luxurious suites. The suite I was in was arguably bigger than the ground floor in my house, I didn’t know where to look!
Also part of the resort are three villas that are available to rent with five bedrooms in each.
Each villa has an outdoor pool and outdoor showers as part of the bedrooms, because you know, showering inside is too mainstream.
A villa is available to rent for €6000 a night and there is value to be had if a large group can be persuaded to make the trip to Andalucia.
Rocío Sanchez gave me a tour of one of the villas and they are the life with light pouring in from everywhere.
Onto the hotel resort we went where I was shown around the outdoor square which is like something you might come across in China.
Each door in the outdoor square is inspired from a convent in Portugal which gives it an ancient feeling.
Finca certainly isn’t lacking in amenities with four pools including an indoor pool which leads on to a state of the art spa which includes its own barber shop while yoga sessions can be booked in the leisure centre. There is also a top of the range gymnasium for guests looking to work up a sweat before dinner.
I never knew it until then but I had always wanted to swim in an outdoor Olympic sized swimming pool and I was able to do that and enjoy some downtime on the adjacent couches basking in the late afternoon sun before dinner in the El Jardin restaurant.
The El Jardin restaurant has an international feel with trees imported from Cyprus, Italy and Portugal which frame the garden.
There was no Guinness so the customary Guinness review was not possible but I’m sure they will import a keg for me if I go back in the future.
The restaurant is a secluded outdoor area with a manicured garden that has stunning views of the sun setting over the Mediterranean and rising over the sea in the morning at breakfast.
El Jardin has a relaxed yet elegant ambiance and offers up a traditional Spanish cuisine. Guests can also enjoy some fine dining in the Kubuki Raw, Don Giovani and the Blue Bar while the unique Beach Club 1km from the hotel offers the best Mediterranean food.
Finca Cortesin even brews its own craft beer. La Catarina is their own blonde ale which I had the pleasure of tasting and while most people like to pretend they like ales and IPAs, I have to say even I enjoyed it!
The dinner in El Jardin was outstanding, jamon iberico to start followed by a gorgeous succulent fillet of beef which cut like butter.
The resident band were an unexpected treat who played in the restaurant every evening and really added to the relaxing ambience and they even knew a bit of the Beatles and not just Hey Jude!
The whole experience was eye opening and enjoyable I would highly recommend it for a stay and play getaway. The phrase ‘you get what you pay for’ gets thrown around a lot but in the case of Finca, it is worth it and then some.
Finca Cortesin offers a play and dine experience package which includes:
One green fee for Finca Cortesin Golf Course per person including a shared buggy that is equipped with tees, a pitch mark repairer, water and fresh fruit.
Course rangers will also provide complimentary Waters. Sandwiches and fruit on the course.
Players will receive a golf welcome gift on arrival before looking forward to dinner for two people at the Mediterranean cuisine Restaurant ¨El Jardin de Lutz¨ served by German Executive Chef, Lutz Bösing.
The price ranges from €580 to €700 which I believe is a bargain for a world class golf course and one of the finest hotels in all the world.