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Sotogrande Celebrates Milestone with Polo Showcase

It is now 50 years since internationally renowned golf architect Robert Trent Jones designed his first course in Europe, in Sotogrande. Commissioned by US businessman and investor Joseph McMicking, who dreamed of creating an ultra-luxurious residential and leisure resort in the attractive southern Spanish location, Trent Jones’ project effectively laid the foundation of what, decades later, was to become established as one of Europe’s most prestigious macro-urbanisations. Today, in addition to Royal Sotogrande Golf Club, it is home to Spain’s most famous golf course, Valderrama, as well as La Reserva de Sotogrande and Almenara. One year after the opening of Trent Jones’ then flagship golf course in Europe, the first polo field was built in 1965. Since then Sotogrande has become one of the most important polo areas in Europe, with its World Cup facilities attracting many prominent visitors, including royalty and celebrities from the worlds of sport and culture. [caption id="attachment_1667" align="alignright" width="300"] Photo: Santa María Polo Club[/caption] The showpiece is Santa María Polo Club, which has become one of the top-ranked polo clubs in the world, with nine world-class polo fields, high-class stables, a polo school, a 2,500 square metre pavilion and parking for over 1,000 vehicles. The club hosts 25 tournaments throughout the year, including the Land Rover International Tournament, which began on the club’s Los Pinos fields in July and continues through to 30 August. [caption id="attachment_1673" align="alignleft" width="300"] Photo: Santa María Polo Club[/caption] Fans travel from around the world to attend the 43rd edition of this premier international tournament, with 33 teams competing in three categories (high, medium and low handicap), from 20 different countries, including the six top players in the world. This year’s extended commercial and entertainment programme is highlighted by a shopping village and new pop-up stores, a new restaurant opened by the tournament’s official caterers, Sodexo Prestige (overseen by chef Pepe Rodríguez), post-match cocktail bars and meeting points, and a special children’s area. To the wider world, Sotogrande might best be known for golf: with Valderrama having been the venue for the 1997 Ryder Cup (the first to be held outside the UK and the US), two World Golf Championships and numerous Volvo Masters; La Reserva earlier this year hosting a European Tour event; and Royal Sotogrande having a stellar roll-call of stars who have won titles on its meticulously manicured fairways and greens over the years, including Severiano Ballesteros, José María Olazábal, Roberto de Vicenzo, Sergio García, Padraig Harrington and Rory McIlroy. It is, however, so much more, in spite of having been, for many years, something of a mystery to visitors to the Costa del Sol, and even to many residents living in the more populous eastern parts of the coast. [caption id="attachment_1675" align="alignleft" width="300"] Photo: Santa María Polo Club
[/caption] Once essentially famous for its aristocratic and celebrity residents and holidaymakers, ensconced in grandiose mansions along tree-lined avenues, it gradually evolved into a prime residential and tourist estate for people seeking a luxury home away from the more glitzy areas of the coast, such as Marbella. McMicking originally bought five fincas comprising 1,000 hectares, and today Sotogrande (part of San Roque municipality) extends over 2,000 hectares, developed into three distinctive residential areas: Puerto (port), Costa (coastal) and Alto (heights). The property options are diverse, ranging from artificial islands with apartments featuring colonial-style architecture and their own mooring facilities to villas, townhouses and frontline golf plots. [caption id="attachment_1661" align="alignright" width="300"] Peaceful setting in heights of Sotogrande[/caption] One of the most outstanding properties currently on the market is this stunning new-built villa in the privileged Altos de Valderrama area, offering maximum security and excellent quality, set in a sea of acorn trees, and surrounded by a soothing ambience of tranquillity. Click here to see more.