Spain is host to some of the most unique golf courses and resorts in the world, and seems to be at the forefront of sustainable & eco-friendly approaches such as modern water conservation practices. We’ve rounded up 5 golf courses in Spain we think are killing it sustainability-wise, and hope they may inspire you to begin making small (or big) eco-friendly changes at your local golf club (it’s also great holiday inspiration, too!).
1. Finca Cortesin Golf Course - Malaga, Spain
Finca Cortesin, an 18-hole championship course located in the rolling hills of southern Spain, has received global acclaim through the International Association of Golf Tour Operators (IAGTO) after winning the 2018 IAGTO Sustainability Award for Resource Efficiency. They won this predominantly for their water conservation efforts, combining modern irrigation systems, a major bunker drainage improvement programme, and changing the grass species to Ultra Dwarf Bermuda Grass in order to better suit the warmer climate.
The resort’s location allows it to be an imperative resting place for migratory birds. The club has installed a number of feeding stations designed for birds of all sizes to accommodate this and make their journey easier - such a lovely idea! Understanding the importance of working alongside nature has allowed for self-sufficient native plants to survive and flourish in their natural surroundings. Definitely a course to keep your eye on for innovation in the sustainability space.
2. Camiral Golf Resort - Girona, Spain
Camiral Resort is located in the lovely Girona and is formerly known as PGA Catalunya. This golf resort is committed to its sustainable practices, recycling 100% of its water by irrigating the golf courses and surrounding nature, using recycled water that is treated and purified from both nearby towns and the resort's own buildings. This, in turn, creates a large aquatic ecosystem that hosts numerous insects and invertebrates. Additionally, they encourage bats (who would have thought) to the area, using them to maintain the mosquito population.
They’ve installed water fountains at different points of the golf courses and club house, allowing everyone to fill their own bottles and therefore reducing plastic bottle consumption. This removes roughly around 70,000 plastic bottles each year (which is immensely impressive!). At The Bigger Ball, we offer customisable eco-friendly drink bottles, made from stainless steel - these are great options to stock at any clubhouse in case players forget their reusable bottles.
3. Infinitum Living Golf Resort - Tarragona, Spain
Infinitum Living Golf Resort is a stunning Spanish resort hosting 3 golf courses with all 3 meeting the Audubon International Certificate for sustainability. With a surface area of 17.3 ha, its location makes it the perfect habitat for local flora and fauna, alongside an important wetland ‘La Sequia Major’. This wetland is made up of rushes, poplar trees and willows that provide homes for the European pond terrapin and the Spanish Toothcarp in Catalonia - one of the best-preserved populations in Spain! By installing a modern desalination plant that cleans wastewater for use on the golf courses, they’re saving the wastewater from being pumped out into the Mediterranean - very clever.
4. La Finca Golf Resort - Torrevieja, Spain
La Finca Golf Resort is a resort paradise located within Costa Blanca, hosting two 18-hole golf courses on-site. La Finca became GEO certified in 2022, this is a non-profit organisation committed to promoting sustainability in the golfing industry. This certification shows they’ve met a credible environmental standard across the use of their resources, climate action, nature and community. An astounding 8.5 hectares of the course has been returned to its native habitats, which has massively reduced the area of intensively managed turf grass. This has, in turn, increased the available habitat for native fauna species, and it is now a nesting place for an array of migrating species. Focusing on water conservation, 100% of the water used to irrigate the course and surrounding nature is recycled, using advanced weather stations and humidity sensors to calculate water requirements.
5. Las Colinas Golf & Country Club - Alicante, Spain
Las Colinas Golf & Country Club is located on the stunning Mediterranean coast of Alicante. They have incorporated a sustainable development and environmental protection plan created in collaboration with the Polytechnic University of Valencia - the plan incorporates measures to minimise noise and light pollution, incorporate trees and native plants in both public and private landscaping, and preserve natural areas and trails with native vegetation. These initiatives aim to create an environment conducive to leisurely walks while promoting the enhancement, preservation and conservation of the local flora and fauna.
These Spanish golf courses show that if you’re unsure how to start implementing sustainable practices reach out to your country's environmental organisation or your local university as they have the resources and knowledge behind what steps may be best for your club and you can work together on a plan. Baby steps are still steps!