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New lake for irrigation at the Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucía Masters venue

Real Club Valderrama sets the bar high for sustainability

One of the new mulch areas in Real Club Valderrama. © Real Club Valderrama
One of the new mulch areas in Real Club Valderrama. © Real Club Valderrama

Real Club Valderrama, home of the Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucía Masters to be played from October 13th and an indisputable reference on the international golfing scene, continues to take measures that make clear its absolute commitment to the environment and the use of natural resources. The implementation of new measures to rationalize irrigation and the construction of a new lake are further proof of the sustainable path that the club took since its foundation.

In addition to being the Spanish club hosting the most DP World Tour events and the first Ryder Cup played in continental Europe, in 1995 Real Club Valderrama was one of the eight clubs that participated in a pilot project of EGA the ecological unit, assisted and co-financed by the European Commission, for the development of an Environmental Management Program. Shortly thereafter, in 1997, it achieved the milestone of being the first club in Europe to achieve environmental certification from Audubon International, the most important entity that endorses the commitment of golf courses to the natural environment. The Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program (ACSP) monitors the implementation of best practices in the maintenance of golf courses to care for biodiversity and environment, addressing key aspects such as water use and conservation, environmental and wildlife management, the reduction of chemicals and fuels, and the communication of ecological values.

Following the guidelines already set in the club foundation, in recent years Real Club Valderrama has implemented a number of initiatives to optimize and save water consumption, such as the installation in 2016 and 2017 of a new fully digitized irrigation system to regulate each sprinkler on the course, the implementation of hardness and humidity sensors on the greens that allow irrigation to be regulated according to needs, and the replacement of many areas of grass with mulch (crushed cork oak bark). These rough areas shaded by trees practically do not come into play and have made it possible to eliminate more than 300 sprinklers.

However, Valderrama’s highlight has been the construction of a new lake to the right of the 11th hole to be used for irrigation. The lake will collect rainwater and water from the course drain, it will be filled during the winter and will provide irrigation water during the summer months when consumption peaks occur.

Real Club Valderrama – The Lake – 2022

In addition, before the construction of this 58,000 m3 lake, almost 70 cork oak trees were transplanted to other areas of the golf course in order to carry out the work while respecting the forest mass. In total, around €600,000 were invested in the lake, although the direct benefit on the environment is priceless, since in addition to rationalizing water consumption, it will serve as a habitat for many birds that migrate through the Gibraltar Strait.

“At golf courses we have an obligation to improve our commitment to environmental sustainability. As an industry, we must stay ahead of the critics and improve our processes to become a benchmark in natural resource management. The commitment of the courses should not be limited to mere environmental certifications, and we must reinforce our message with investments that clearly demonstrate the path we are going to follow regarding the management of our environment and resources,” explains Javier Reviriego, general manager of Real Club Valderrama.

Another example of this commitment is Valderrama’s environmental richness, with a total of 527 flora and fauna species on the course. Of course, the cork oak embellishes the environment and even stands out in the Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucía Masters trophy, but it is accompanied by 359 other plant species, of which more than 90% are native plants of the Mediterranean region. In addition, it is also worth mentioning the 105 different species of birds and thirteen species of mammals, with genets, otters, badgers and mongooses as the most representative examples. They are cared for and monitored by a team of experts who track and inventory these species, in addition to protecting habitats and sanctuaries located in the course, designated as “environmentally sensitive areas” when they contain endangered species of flora and fauna.

Enjoying the Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucia Masters and checking first-hand Valderrama’s environmental efforts is easy, because individual day tickets, weekend tickets, for season tickets for the Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucia Masters are on sale at:, with preferential rates for federated golfers and free entry for children under 13. Fans are encouraged to purchase their tickets before midnight on Wednesday 5 October to save up to 20% per ticket.

The Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucía Masters, an event in the DP World Tour’s Race to Dubai made possible by the essential contribution of the Real Club Valderrama, is sponsored by Estrella Damm and the Consejería de Turismo, Cultura y Deporte of the Junta de Andalucía, jointly funded by the EU and was declared Event of Exceptional Public Interest by the Government of Spain.