The origins of Real Club de Golf El Prat, one of the most important and prestigious clubs in Spain, date back to 1912. On 10 June that year, Count Churruca set up the Barcelona Golf Club, which would be later renamed as Golf Club de Pedralbes. Years later, the visit of King Alfonso XIII would give the club its “real” or royal status.
Its ease of access made it a point of reference, especially among young Barcelona inhabitants, whose passion for golf would lead to the rise of excellent players. In the following four decades, the course was witness to all sorts of competitions, tournaments and games against other clubs in Spain.
A CLUB CELEBRATING 100 YEARS OF HISTORY
The new needs of the members and the growing popularity of the sport forced the Club to consider a change in location. At the beginning of the 1950s, a group of members of Real Club de Golf de Pedralbes, together with another club in Sant Cugat, embarked on an ambitious project to build a larger clubhouse of international standards on an estate located on the outskirts of Barcelona, between El Prat de Llobregat and the sea. The new club and its facilities were inaugurated at the end of 1955 as the continuity of Golf de Pedralbes, to which the staff and machinery were transferred. The Club kept its crest with the “Royal” status and the then-managing board with Alfonso Fabra Monteys as president.
Javier Arana, who was responsible for the design of the vast majority of golf courses in Spain, drafted the project, while the architect JA Coderch de Sentmenat was responsible for the new Clubhouse. As a curious fact, the value of each share in the Club at the time was 10,000 pesetas, sums that were used to set up the new Club and finance the purchase of the lands and the construction of the new Clubhouse.
TEN TIMES’ HOST TO THE SPANISH OPEN
On 26 October 1954, the cornerstone of the Clubhouse was laid, and by the end of 1955 the golf course was in full operation. The first important tournament to be held there, which marked El Prat’s debut, was the 1956 Spanish Open with players of the calibre of Jimmy Demaret, Bob Toski and Peter Alliss (the winner). These last two said that the El Prat course was one of the most beautiful and interesting courses they had ever played.
In 1968, Arana extended the golf course by 9 holes so three different courses could be combined. In 1988, another 9 holes were built, designed by David Thomas, leaving the Club with a total 36 holes and the option of four 18-hole courses, which were maintained until 2002.
In 1997, the extension of Barcelona airport forced the Club to change its location once again, this time transferring to the estate of BonVilar, a 518-acre terrain unique for its climate and soil conditions. The Club’s new location is only 26 km from Barcelona, between Terrassa and Sabadell.
The design was entrusted to the top Australian player Greg Norman and construction work started on 1 January 2002. The current course has 45 holes and the option of playing up to seven 18-hole courses. Members inaugurated the new facilities at Christmas 2003 and the official course debut was held in June 2004 with a game between Greg Norman and Sergio García, and the Spanish Pro Championship. Throughout its history, the Club has organised the Spanish Open ten times: 1956, 1959, 1963, 1971, 1978, 1981, 1998, 1999, 2011 and in 2015. An exciting tournament in 2011 in which the South African Thomas Aiken dedicated his victory to Severiano Ballesteros, champion on the same course twenty years before.
HOST TO MORE THAN 250 NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS
Throughout its history, Real Club Golf El Prat has been the scene for numerous tournaments on the European professional circuit, totalling more than 250 national and international championships among all its members. Furthermore, it has given rise to regular players on the national teams and active pro golfers on different national and European circuits.