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Showpiece Homes, Luxury Living… and Valderrama

One day in 1988 Jaime Ortiz-Patiño was out inspecting the Valderrama course and heard that his grounds staff were considering pruning a tree beside the 18th tee. No, he instructed them. "We leave the branch intact. We'll lower the tee." The alternative cost several thousand pounds but for Ortiz-Patiño this was irrelevant. "I love those trees and they've been there for centuries," he said later. "They're much older than we are. By cutting that branch the tree would have lost all its character. We take a lot of care with the course, care to maintain the green, the environment, that the players enjoy." The Valderrama founder and self-appointed “honorary head greenkeeper” died in Marbella three years ago this month but his legendary contribution to promoting the attractions of golf on the Costa del Sol (and Andalucía and Spain) lives on. The grandson of Bolivia's "Tin King" and one-time president of the World Bridge Federation, Ortiz-Patiño and seven golfing companions bought the course (then known as “Las Aves” or “Sotogrande New”) in 1995 with the aim of preserving the club's exclusive image and operating it as an elite golfing retreat for other friends and close acquaintances. He bought out his partners in 1990, noting at the time that that it freed him to go ahead with an expensive upgrading of the course and clubhouse without having to justify spending other people's money. Even before then he had dedicated himself to transforming the course into an international championship venue, the “Augusta of Europe”. His efforts were a resounding success. Valderrama hosted the inaugural Volvo Masters in 1988, and 15 further editions of the European Tour’s now defunct grand finale (the last one in 2008), and the World Golf Championships in 1999 (won by Tiger Woods) and 2000. The club’s crowning glory, however, was as host of the 1997 Ryder Cup, the first time this biennial teams event had been held outside the US or Britain. For many years rated the finest, and most meticulously maintained, golf course in Europe, Valderrama has now entered an exciting new era after several years out of the spotlight. This week it was announced that Zagaleta Limited – owner of the equally prestigious residential estate in Benahavís – had purchased the Valderrama Group for €40 million. The sale includes the iconic Valderrama course (in Sotogrande) and a future project known as “Valderrama 2” in Castellar municipality. The new owners’ plans for the latter reportedly include a “championship” course designed by a renowned architect, and a luxury tourist and hotel resort – involving a €200 million investment over 10 years. The objective is to develop a project that matches the high quality of La Zagaleta, which extends over 900 hectares in a picturesque mountain setting on the Ronda road high above Marbella, including 500 hectares of green areas, two golf courses, an equestrian club and a heliport, as well as more than 200 luxury homes. La Zagaleta is currently building several new homes for 2016, ranging in price from €12 to €14 million. In the meantime, returning to Sotogrande, the modern villa featured here is located in the ultra-select Altos de Valderrama area and offers maximum security and excellent quality in verdant, tranquil surroundings – priced at an outstanding €1,650,000. [caption id="attachment_4125" align="alignright" width="300"] Classic fourth green at Valderrama[/caption] Exceptional Homes We appreciate your taking the time to read about this stunning property, but perhaps it is not exactly right for you? If not, we invite you to have a look at our other special selections for: La Zagaleta, Luxury Villas, Golf Properties, Seafront Properties, Apartments and Special Offers. Click on the category of your choice and follow the link. Also please feel free to roam around our website: www.villamarbellanow.com.