CASERAS, Spain – There’s nothing quite like the experience of starting out in the Solheim Cup. But there has never been a first tee setup like what players will experience in Spain. More than 1,000 fans will gather in an elevated grandstand overlooking a 4×4 with great risk/reward and sea views.

“I don’t think everyone would do that,” said Laura Davies, vice-captain of the European team, of a 280-yard shot that requires players to carry a lake. “But I think 80 to 90 percent will try it.”

While the drama played out live on TV will be eye-catching from the start, the luxury behind the scenes at Finca Cortesin will be talked about among players for years to come.

“In terms of what we’ve had in years to this point, the accommodations and ease of use — it’s probably been the best we’ve ever had,” said US Captain Stacy Lewis.

Lewis toured the resort on a site visit but will be staying at the Cortesin Hotel for the first time with her team this week.

“There’s an ice room,” Louis marveled at the luxurious spa. “They were cleaning it up the day we were there, but there was legitimately snow.”

A look inside the snow cave at the spa resort. (Courtesy of Vinka Cortsen)

The golf course at Finca Cortesin, located in southern Spain on the Costa del Sol, first opened in 2007 and the hotel opened two years later. In 2020, Travel + Leisure magazine ranked it as the best resort in Spain and the second best in all of Europe.

With just 67 spacious suites at the hotel, there is an intimate feel to Finca Cortesin, where small, unique details like ornate doors and floors salvaged from an ancient monastery make every turn of the place feel special.

Tropical courtyards and sweeping beachfront views from private balconies will help give players a sense of calm during a stressful week. If there is free time, a walk under the arches in the Rose Garden may be a good way to clear your mind.

All the hotel’s restaurants offer a unique and elegant experience, from the Spanish flair at El Jardin de Lutz, where millennium olive trees can be seen, to the hotel’s signature restaurant, REI, which combines traditional Asian dishes with Mediterranean influences. The 14-course tasting menu offers guests an adventure in flavor and flavour.

European Captain Susan Petersen has designated the hotel’s Beach Club for the evening’s festivities, said Francisco de Lancaster David, the resort’s general manager of golf and leisure operations. The stunning oasis is located less than a mile from the hotel and features an infinity pool overlooking the sea.

With nearly 80 courses in the area, De Lancaster David said the golf season — from September to mid-November and then from March to May — is critical in expanding the region’s popular summer entertainment season.

De Lancaster David notes that those with bucket list trips to Scotland and Ireland often choose Spain as the next destination on their list, with five of the top 10 venues in Spain, including Valderrama, the venue of the 1997 Ryder Cup, being in Sotogrande. area, Finca Cortesin enjoys a unique location.

“We have the best hotel in the area,” he said.

Critics agree.

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A view of one of the resort’s courtyards. (Courtesy Finca Cortesin)

The American players will arrive in Spain on Sunday, and while Lewis describes Monday as a free day, she expects the 12 players to find their way onto the field.

While the Americans are getting a crash course ahead of the competition, which will be held from September 22-24, Ireland’s Leona Maguire was part of the European squad that made the trip to Finca Corcin last November.

With travel restrictions keeping European fans away from Inverness two years ago, Maguire is looking forward to playing in front of home fans for the first time.

“I know there are a lot of Swedes out there this winter,” said Maguire from southern Spain. “There are a lot of Irish people who do it too.”

It’s a short walk down a stone path from the hotel lobby to the clubhouse at Finca Cortesin, although players will have their own entrance to the dressing room.

“It’s always a little nicer when you stay on site,” Davis said. “The bus rides are a lot of fun, but it’s nice to get off the field after a long day, go to your room and then come down to the team room.”

The resort is located on more than 500 acres of land on the Andalusian coast, and visitors to the resort can fly to Malaga Airport, less than an hour away.

The golf course, designed by Kapil B. Robinson, Volvo World Champion in 2009, 2011 and 2012. Players familiar with and fond of Bermuda grass will have an advantage on Finca Cortsin’s mountainous terrain.

Although this week’s setup is not a particularly long Test, it is a ball striker’s track, and as De Lancaster David is quick to note, the importance of being able to work the ball in both directions, and sometimes in the same hole, is paramount.

The course will be rerouted for the event, with the fourth hole typically serving as the dramatic opener. Only the first six holes are affected by the rearrangement.

“I think it’s a really good course, it’s a very fair course,” Davies said. “You hit a good shot, you get a bonus. You hit a poor guy and you’re on the side of the mountain, good luck. Having said that, there’s plenty of room. The fairways “Very wide.”

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The 17th hole at Finca Cortsin (courtesy photo)

The elevation changes and long distances from green to tee will challenge spectators, making it a long drive for double round days.

However, the course setting is short enough that Lewis said she was free to choose who would play best, rather than worrying about tee length or harsh penalties.

Team Europe comes to Finca Cortesin looking to win three straight titles as the Solheim Cup is contested on Spanish soil for the first time. For most people, next week’s broadcast will be their first look at this lush Mediterranean estate.

Truly one of the most luxurious escapes in the game.


Take a look at some photos of the resort here:

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