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One of the world's most exclusive residential developments, Sotogrande in Southern Spain, which includes Valderrama, venue of the Ryder Cup 1997 and the forthcoming American Express World Strokeplay Championships this November, has launched an exclusive new golf reservation service. As of 1 February, golfers can call a dedicated golf reservation telephone number +(34) 956 790 111 and book the time they want to tee off from any of the golf courses which participate in this scheme. Currently this includes golf courses, which are voted amongst the Top Five in Europe.

Extensive expansion of the golfing facilities at Sotogrande, including two further 18 hole courses, which will give the Sotogrande Estate a total of 117 holes. The recently opened 18 hole Almenara course, by world class designer Dave Thomas, is already proving exceptionally popular and a further 9 holes will be added in 2000.

Nearby is the soon to be opened Almenara Hotel, with spectacular views over the new course and Mediterranean Sea. The golf facility, which will include a driving range for up to 100 golfers, three full size practice holes and a golf academy with video swing analysis equipment, is the first Centre of Excellence for golf to be sanctioned by the Andalusian Government.

New premises for the existing International School at Sotogrande (founded in 1978) with 350 places for children aged 4 to 18 years, has been built nearby. This includes 40 boarding places. It is anticipated that Sotogrande will offer two golfing scholarships for boarding places at the school. Longer term plans may include extending the school into a university, rivaling similar opportunities available in the USA for those entering the golf industry both on a playing and management level.

La Canada, a public course with the first 9 holes designed by Robert Trent Jones, is currently being extended to 18 holes, the second 9 having been designed by Dave Thomas. The club house at the Real Club de Golf Sotogrande is in the process of being totally renovated.

Within a 64 km radius of Sotogrande there are a further 28 courses, including San Roque next door, which attracted the bulk of the 1998 European Qualifying School. Next year's Qualifying School will probably take place over the combination of both San Roque and Almenara.

Sotogrande Managing Director, Nigel Smith says:

"We have been fortunate in negotiating tee times for our visitors and residents on all four Sotogrande courses. Within several months we will be extending this service, which includes booking hotel or self catering accommodation, to take in other first class courses in the area."

"Sotogrande attracts visitors from all over the World, who come for a combination of superb weather and some of the best golf in the World, within peaceful and secure surroundings. We see this as a valuable extension to our golf offer for the growing number of visitors who come to Sotogrande for a limited period and need to know precisely when they can get on a course and thus avoid frustration and disappointment."