One of Europe’s most exciting golf-course redesign projects in the last 12 months has received key global recognition after the Links course at La Hacienda Links Golf Resort was named among the major winners in Golf Inc. magazine’s annual ‘Renovation of the Year’ competition.
The judging panel for the respected title – an international trade publication that provides owners and operators with industry trends, insights and best practices – ranked the Links course in second place among this year’s award contenders after the Spanish layout reopened in July 2022 following a comprehensive transformation by American architect Kurtis Bowman.
Free to enter, the yearly award recognises the best golf-course renovation projects of the past year from around the world. There are two categories, private courses and public courses, with Golf Inc’s judging panel of industry professionals assessing each entry based on three criteria – achievement of goals, improved playability and maintainability and course aesthetics.
Located in the Cadiz municipality of San Roque close to Sotogrande, the Links course runs along the beachfront with spectacular views of the Mediterranean, Gibraltar and Africa, and was one of the biggest course renovation projects to be undertaken in Europe last year.
As part of the major transformation project to reconfigure and redesign the layout, Bowman was appointed to improve the hole layouts, conditioning, scenery and sustainability outcomes. Work undertaken included the remodelling of all tees, greens complexes and bunkers, and the redesign of several holes.
Golf Inc. magazine’s editors said: “This year’s ‘Renovation of the Year’ winners are all noted for their thoroughness. Featuring stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea along the coast of Spain, the redesign of La Hacienda to a links-type course has elevated the overall golfing experience.”
Javier Illan, president of Millennium Hospitality Real Estate, said: “We are very grateful and proud to receive this award, which is a recognition of the great work carried out by the excellent professionals that make up the La Hacienda team and by Kurtis Bowman, who has undoubtedly produced one of the most special courses in southern Europe. We are sure that all golfers that visit us will fall in love with the demanding course, the design of the impressive greens and bunkers and, of course, the exceptional views that surround us.”
Bowman added: “From my initial tour of the golf course with owner Javier Illan, our goal was to create Spain’s own version of Pebble Beach.
“The Costa del Sol region has many great golf courses but did not have a great oceanside links course. The views from the course are arguably the best of any course in the world but prior to the redesign nobody spoke about the golf course, they only spoke of the views. We knew the property had unlimited potential and our commission was to make the golf course as good as the views.
“I think we succeeded, and La Hacienda Links will now be mentioned with both the best courses in the Costa del Sol region as well as with the best courses in Spain.”
The upgrade of the Links course is part of a significant, ongoing redevelopment project taking place at La Hacienda Links Golf Resort that has seen the venue establish itself as one of the rising stars of European golf in the last 12 months.
In addition to the relaunch Links course and the opening of a new clubhouse, the resort is carrying out a fresh series of upgrades to its golf and leisure amenities including new investment on its other 18-hole layout, the Heathland course.
Other improvements include the launch of a new state-of-the-art website, a variety of updated stay-and-play packages and the opening of a new halfway house for players on the Links course, while La Hacienda will fully launch a new 300-plus-room Fairmont hotel and villas in 2024 – underlining the resort’s ambition to become one of the most exclusive and luxurious golf developments in Spain.