The final Costa Verde Golf hub we visited was in the city of Vitoria-Gasteiz. This “Land of Legends” hub features three courses, the Seve Ballesteros designed Izki (pronounced If-Ki) Golf, Jon Rahm’s childhood course, Club de Golf Larrabea and the Jose Maria Olazabal designed Uraburu Golf.
Located a 40 minute drive from the city is Izki Golf. Opened in 1994, the course sits in the Izki National Park. The course is a par 72 with 4 sets of tees with a yardage range of 5,500 to over 7,000 yards. We played the yellow tees at 6,600 yards which was plenty long enough given the recent rain.
The 1st green
The 1st hole is a short par 4 with a blind tee shot. If you hit the fairway, you will have a wedge to the green and the chance of an opening birdie. This hole is the only hole on the front 9 that is “easy” From now to the turn, par is a great score, even on the par 5’s. The 2nd is a tough par 4 with trees either side of the fairway. At 420 yards, you will need a long iron or hybrid to reach the green.
The 4th is the hardest hole on the front nine. It’s 470 yards off the yellows and is a slight dogleg to the right. If you can hit the left side of the fairway, that gives you the best line to the green although it’s two mighty blows to get there. Don’t go right off the tee as you will be blocked out!
The 6th hole
The 6th hole is a picturesque downhill par 3. At 175 yards, you cannot be short of the green as there are two deep bunkers below the level of the green. Take plenty of club to ensure you clear these bunkers.
The 8th approach
The 8th is a lovely 520 yard par 5. It plays slightly downhill and you would think it’s a birdie chance. However the trees close in on both sides around 100 yards short and the green is on a plateau with steep banking short, left and long. Play it as a three shot hole and it’s and easy par. Take it on in two and disaster awaits!
The Back Nine
The inward nine starts with another short par 4 although that’s where the similarity to the 1st hole ends. It’s a tight tee shot as there are trees on both sides of the fairway. Accuracy over length wins on this hole.
The 13th hole
The 13th is without doubt, the hardest hole on the course. At only 340 yards, how is it that difficult? The tee shot gives you options and the fairway is split in two by a gully. You either play short of the gully to a narrow fairway or you try to carry the gully to the 2nd part of the fairway, which is about the size of a medium sized green complex. It’s tight. If you manage to hit either fairway, then your second shot is to a small green with another gully short of it. Not a hole for the faint hearted.
The 16th hole
The 16th hole is a 420 yard par 4 that is very picturesque. From the tee, the fairway is protected by three large bunkers at the corner of the dogleg. The second shot is slightly deceiving as the bunker protecting the front right of the green is actually ten yards short of the putting surface.
The 18th hole
The finishing hole, a 550 yard par 5, is a cracker. Its a dogleg left and should be played as a three shot hole. There is a gully 50 yards short of the green and there is no point in taking it on unless you can reach the green, better to lay up and make an easy par.
Seve’s design features some spectacular holes, which wind through a forest of oaks, beech and holly trees. The course sits on a 242 acre site, so there is plenty of room just not when you are trying to hit the fairways. Izki Golf is a challenge but it’s also a fun course to play. Strategy rather than big hitting will reap the greatest rewards on this course.
At a Glance:
- Driving range
- Chipping and putting greens
- Inside and outside terraces for food and drink
- 5 hole pitch and putt course
- Located in the Izki Natural Park with great views to the Alavesa Mountain range.
Club de Golf Larrabea
Jon Rahm’s Corner
The course is only a 15 minute transfer from the city and its where Jon Rahm spent his formative years, learning to play the game. The club are proud of his association and even have a Jon Rahm corner in the clubhouse with memorabilia that Jon has given them.
The course is a par 72 with 4 sets of tees and a length that ranges between 5,000 and to just over 6,700 yards. The front nine and back nine are perfectly matched in yardage, par and with two par 3’s and two par 5’s on each nine.
The rooftop putting green
Larrabea has something I haven’t come across before. It’s main putting green is on the roof of the caddy car and locker area. If you have seen that somewhere else, let me know.
The approach to the 1st green
The front nine starts with the hardest hole on the course, a par 4 at just under 450 yards. It plays slightly uphill so it will take 2 good shots to reach the green in regulation. Make a par and your round is off to a flyer.
The 3rd hole
The 3rd is a strong par 3 at almost 200 yards. It also plays slightly uphill. Holes 4 and 6 are par 5’s, the 585 yard 4th is a slight dogleg to the right with a fairway which is split in two by a ditch which makes it a 3 shot hole for every player.
The 550 yard 6th is a dogleg left with a single tree in the middle of the fairway just past the corner that you need to play around. The front nine ends with a 400 yards par 4 which is dead straight and plays through an avenue of trees that opens up the closer you get to the green.
The Inward Nine
The 10th hole
The back nine starts with another tough hole. At only 360 yards, it will test your mettle as you have to place your tee shot between two trees copse and then you have a 2nd shot to a green which sits 25 feet above you with no bail out.
The 12th hole
The 12th is the shortest par 3 on the course and is said to be Jon Rahm’s favourite par 3. At 120 yards, you play to a narrow green which you can’t see from the tee as its above you. There is a large bunker and a small pot bunker short so make sure you take enough club.
The 14th is another strong par 5. A long straight tee shot is required to give you the chance to go for the green in two although your shot will need to carry the water short of the green.
The 15th hole
The 15th is a lovely par 3 played over water. The closing 3 holes are all tough holes, two par 4’s of almost 400 yards with a 500 yard par 5 sandwiched between them. Finish with 4 pars and you should celebrate with a cold drink in the bar.
Club de Golf Larrabea is a really enjoyable course to play with plenty of variety in the holes. Doglegs left and right, tough and relatively easy holes and shots over water and plenty of trees. We loved it!!.
At a Glance:
- Driving range
- Great short game area
- Inside and outside terraces for food and drink
- Only 15 minutes from the city
The Jose Maria Olazabal designed Uraburu Golf is 45 minutes outside Vitoria-Gastiez and is well worth adding this course to your itinerary as it has spectacular views of the mountains and is a tight challenging course built into the mountain. As covered in our previous article about Uraburu Golf, we recommend taking a buggy and playing from the yellow tees to maximise your enjoyment.
The old town of Vitoria-Gasteiz is beautiful with its medieval cobbled streets and plazas and is one of the few cities to have not one, but two cathedrals. The capital city of the Basque Country and of Alava, the province in northern Spain which has a population of around 250,000.
We stayed at the 4 star NH Cancillar Ayala Hotel which was just across the street from the Florida park. The location is ideal and a short walk from Virgen Blanca Square and the many bars and restaurants of the Old Town.
The room was functional and cool with a very comfortable bed. We stayed on a bed and breakfast basis and the breakfast is served in a continental style with plenty of fruit, cold meats, bread and pastries. If you want a hot option, the chef will make omelettes, eggs and bacon on a cook to order basis.
This is a great option as there is so many restaurants within a 10 minute walk. We had fantastic food in the Restaurant Virgen Blanca Jazetxe, which is situated in the top left corner of the plaza.
If tapas or pintxos and wine is more your thing then So Wood, on the Calle De Postas, just along from the plaza is excellent and a Costa Verde Golf favourite. With the local vino tinto at €1.30 a glass and tapas starting at only €2.50, it has a wonderful vibe and attentive staff. Throw in live music and this place is jumping most evenings.
Costa Verde Golf
Tony, Jaime and their team offer hosted golf tours for groups of all sizes. They live in the area and have all the local connections to provide authentic experiences for the clients. They have extended south from the coast to the hinterlands of Vitoria and La Rioja wine regions to form the Vitoria and La Guardia hubs as part of their plan to create eight golf hubs, all under the one golf destination umbrella of Costa Verde Golf. The areas have so much to offer with great golf, hospitality, gastronomy and wonderful locations of outstanding natural beauty. So whatever your requirements, they can advise and offer the perfect solutions.
For more information on Costa Verde Golf, contact Tony at [email protected]