Valderrama Golf Club in Spain - greens
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Valderrama Golf Club in Spain - greens
Valderrama Golf Club's signature trait is its small, raised greens defended by heavy bunkering and cork trees. Brandon Tucker/Golf Advisor
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Valderrama Golf Club in Spain - hole 10
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Valderrama Golf Club in Spain - hole 10
No. 10 at Valderrama Golf Club is a long par 4 that is a severe dogleg right to an elevated green. Brandon Tucker/Golf Advisor
Valderrama Golf Club in Spain - Hole 2
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Valderrama Golf Club in Spain - Hole 2
The par-4 second hole at Valderrama Golf Club features a small green tucked behind cork trees. Brandon Tucker/Golf Advisor
Valderrama Golf Club in Spain - Hole 3
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Valderrama Golf Club in Spain - Hole 3
Valderrama Golf Club's par-3 third hole, "La Tunel," named for the tunnel you pass through to get to the tee. Brandon Tucker/Golf Advisor
Valderrama Golf Club in Spain - hole 4
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Valderrama Golf Club in Spain - hole 4
Valderrama Golf Club's signature par-5 fourth hole, "La Cascada" features a tiny green perched above a waterfall. Brandon Tucker/Golf Advisor
Valderrama Golf Club in Spain - hole 6
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Valderrama Golf Club in Spain - hole 6
The short, heavily-guarded par-3 sixth hole at Valderrama features a steeply sloped back-to-front green. Brandon Tucker/Golf Advisor
Valderrama Golf Club in Spain - Hole 7
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Valderrama Golf Club in Spain - Hole 7
No. 7 at Valderrama Golf Club is a long, uphill par 4 that plays as a par 5 for women and amateurs. Brandon Tucker/Golf Advisor
Valderrama Golf Club in Spain - Hole 8
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Valderrama Golf Club in Spain - Hole 8
The golf course's tightest hole, No. 8 at Valderrama requires precision off the tee. Brandon Tucker/Golf Advisor
Valderrama Golf Club in Spain - Hole 11
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Valderrama Golf Club in Spain - Hole 11
After 10 holes tightly framed by cork, Valderrama's par-5 11th opens up a bit, and you can even see the Mediterranean Sea beyond the hole. Brandon Tucker/Golf Advisor
Valderrama Golf Club in Spain - Hole 17
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Valderrama Golf Club in Spain - Hole 17
The famous 17th green at Valderrama features a steep slope in front and to the sides, tightly cut enough that balls will roll back down into the water. Brandon Tucker/Golf Advisor
Valderrama Golf Club in Spain - Hole 18
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Valderrama Golf Club in Spain - Hole 18
The par-4 18th hole is a long, sharp dogleg left that plays uphill to one of the course's larger greens at Valderrama. Brandon Tucker/Golf Advisor
Valderrama Golf Club in Spain - Clubhouse
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Valderrama Golf Club in Spain - Clubhouse
Valderrama's clubhouse and practice facilities are exceptional, what you'd expect from a prestigious members club that hosts the world's top golf events. Brandon Tucker/Golf Advisor
Valderrama Golf Club - No. 4 Martin Kaymer
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Valderrama Golf Club - No. 4 Martin Kaymer
Martin Kaymer tees off on the 4th hole, said to be Robert Trent Jones Sr.'s most challenging and expensive hole ever built at the time. Richard Heathcoate/Getty Images

In Photos: Valderrama Golf Club on Spain's Costa Del Sol

The jewel of Spain's Costa Del Sol, Valderrama Golf Club is the region's most prestigious golf club and dubbed the "Augusta National of Europe." A bold assertion, but one with some backing. In 1997 it became the first golf course in continental Europe to host the Ryder Cup Matches, and it is a host to the European Tour's Volvo Masters and World Golf Championships as well. Valderrama features course conditions as good as it gets, with fairways like carpet and aprons smooth as glass.

Valderrama is an interesting story in that it was originally built in 1974 as "Sotogrande New" by Robert Trent Jones Sr. and associate Cabell Robinson, but after Jaime Ortiz-Patino purchased additional property, it opened the opportunity to create an even more remarkable course. Jones had an "open-ended budget" according to the biography, A Difficult Par by James R. Hansen. Valderrama was reborn in 1985 and maintains its place as Europe's best parkland course.

Today the course is defended by its tiny, lightening fast greens and narrow fairways framed by cork trees. The par-5 17th hole may be the course's most infamous, a result of Tiger's ire - but the signature is the par-5 fourth hole, "La Cascada," for its rocky waterfall tumbling off the tiny, elevated green. It is said to be the most engineered and expensive hole of Jones Sr.'s career.

For the traveling golfer, Valderrama has one advantage to Augusta: The club offers limited public play between noon and 2 p.m. daily for 350-370 euros. This grants you access to the club and practice grounds 45 minutes prior to your tee time. Caddies and buddies are available and an additional cost.

Brandon Tucker is the Managing Editor for Golf Advisor. To date, his golf travels have taken him to over two dozen countries and over 500 golf courses worldwide. While he's played some of the most prestigious courses in the world, Tucker's favorite way to play the game is on a great muni in under three hours. Follow Brandon on Twitter at @BrandonTucker and on Instagram at BrandonTuckerGC.
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In Photos: Valderrama Golf Club on Spain's Costa Del Sol
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