The “classic” Old Course at San Roque Club was already one of Spain’s finest courses. Now, following a major renovation, Dave Thomas' layout has been raised to a new level of excellence. Gonzalo Sánchez, one of two official pros who teach classes at the prestigious Costa del Sol club (the other is Mark Emery), reveals the keys to playing the Old Course and ensuring a greater chance of success.

Gonzalo turned professional when he was only 19 years old. Since then he has dedicated his career to the world of golf, and his objective is to become one of the best coaches in Spain. He completed his studies and his master's degree in the United States, and he has also worked at some of the top golf courses in the world, including TPC Sawgrass (Florida), Vaderrama and now The San Roque Club.

Gonzalo has been a licensed Stack and Tilt instructor for eight years and he helps golfers of all skill levels to better understand the game and improve their swing technique. “I am very fortunate to work at The San Roque Club,” he says. “Even though I have worked at the best golf courses in the world, where I truly feel at home is here at San Roque. I could not be happier.”

As for the Old Course, he says, “As a player I find this course exceptionally fun, and also easy to play. As a professional golfer, there are not many places where you can get into trouble. That was exactly our president’s goal, to make golf fun and affordable for players of all handicaps, and he clearly has succeeded. All the feedback from clients who play the course is that it is exceptional. Everyone likes to play the Old Course at The San Roque Club."

Regarding his own preferences, he notes, “My favourite hole visually is the 12th, a par-3, as well as the second shot on the 2nd. I think they are both very attractive and well designed. Technically, the 8th hole is my favourite, a par-5 with the most difficult green on the course, without a doubt.”

“The 8th is a par-5 which, although with my distance I could reach it in two without problems, it seems too risky, so what I always do is play a lay-up and try to leave it close with the chip to secure a birdie. Incredibly, I have always managed to achieve a better result if I hit my third to the green rather than trying to reach it in two.”

Gonzalo also mentions the 4th, a par-4 with a pronounced dog-leg to the left, and an extended out-of-bounds area and problems on the left. “That's why”, he says, “whenever I play that hole I try to do the following: fade a driver 80 per cent so as not to cross the fairway, and normally play the second shot with a 9-iron or pitching wedge to the left of the green, as everything rolls towards the right.”


Hole 1- A dog-leg right-to-left par-5. The big hitters can cut the corner that allows them to reach the hole in two. The average player should aim for the centre of the fairway. Be sure not to leave your approach shot short and right of the green.

Hole 2- Aim your tee shot at the second bunker. The bigger hitters don’t need a driver on this hole. Keep your approach shot a little left as the natural terrain slopes from left to right and towards the water.

Hole 3- The bunker on the left side of the fairway is a good aiming point but you must not go into it. Be sure to take one extra club on your approach as anything short of the green will be in the bunker or roll 20 metres away from the green.

Hole 4- A tough par-4 dog-leg to the left. Keep your tee shot as close to the left side of the fairway as you can. This gives you a shorter second shot. You must keep your approach shot left to avoid the out-of-bounds on the right side of the green.

Hole 5- A great par-3 that can play anything from a short iron to a hybrid depending on the wind. The green is a split green with the lower tier on the right side. When the flag is on the right side, you should aim for the middle of the green and the ball will feed down towards the flag.

Hole 6- A short par-4 with a well-protected green. The line off the tee is over the bunker or a little left if you are a longer hitter. Take at least one extra club for your approach shot as the ball will come back off the bank at the back of the green.

Hole 7-  An attractive par-3 that demands a quality shot in order to hit the green. Aim your shot for the right side of the green as everything feeds in from there.

Hole 8- The big hitters can take it over the bunker on the left. This will give them a chance to go for the small green in two. The average player should aim at the bunker on the right, keep the second shot left – and good luck for your approach to the green!

Hole 9-  A risk-reward tee shot for the bigger hitters. They can aim over the bunker on the left and leave themselves with a short iron. The average player should aim down the centre. Keep the approach shot a little left of the green.

Hole 10-  An attractive par-4 but a very demanding drive. You must keep the ball on the left side of the fairway and avoid the out-of-bounds on the right side. Also avoid being short with your approach shot.

Hole 11- Bunker on the left side of the fairway is the perfect aim point. For the approach shot you must avoid going long or left.

Hole 12- A beautiful little par-3 that looks very easy – but it’s not!! Left of the green is better than to the right.

Hole 13- A short par-4. The right side of the fairway is the best place to attack the pin from. Avoid missing the target to the right side of the green.

Hole 14-  A narrow driving hole but if you hit a good drive this can be a birdie chance. However, you have to pay attention when you get on the green. This is the most severe green on the course. Avoid going long.

Hole 15- Your drive must be on the left side of the fairway. You can aim your approach a little right of the green and it will come down off the slope. Do not go long here!

Hole 16- A tough par-3 with a narrow, long target. There is a two-club difference between the front and back of the green so club selection is very important.

Hole 17- A reachable par-5 for the bigger hitters in two shots but for the average player keep your drive and second shot left. Be sure to take one extra club with your approach, as short of the green is dead!

Hole 18- A long, tough par-4 to finish in front of the clubhouse. Favour the left side of the fairway with your drive as this gives the best approach to the green. Avoid the bunker on the right with your approach.