One of the vibrant cities in Europe is Barcelona. One can attempt it but it’s unlikely you can see all that Barcelona offers in one day. I know this because Eva and I did our best to do it. Yet, by not accomplishing that mission, we have a reason to return to Barcelona. We were in the Barcelona area to visit a golf course for our first time, Club De Golf Vallromanes. About 40 minutes north of Barcelona we turned off the busy highway and dropped down into a wide valley. At the bottom farmland takes over. Grains and vegetables for the most part along with a few vineyards and orchards. There’s a bit of cattle, sheep and poultry as well. Going up the western side of the valley, the land turns mountainous, with forests of pine and oak. Scrub fills the rocky terrain. The coming down a twisting road the golf course is visible on the right. Around a traffic circle and we arrived at the village of Vallromanes. Vallromanes has become a residential area of second or summer houses. After our drive the town, with green areas, shady oaks and lovely houses, is a welcome site. The area is so quiet and peaceful that it attracts campers and visitors to its growing spa industry. The center of the village is the square. The square offers what retail there is. Which is a few grocery shops and restaurants. The dominant feature is the parish church dedicated to St. Vincent.
We stayed at one of the spas, the Hotel Can Galvany. The hotel name comes from the old Can Galvany Country House. The modern addition houses the hotel and restaurant. In there you find stately suites, bedrooms, restauarant and lounge and the communal services. The original rustic Country House now contains an intimate Spa & Wellness Center.
Club De Golf Vallromanes is about five minutes away across the road you arrived on. A large sign announces your arrival as you drive up the driveway that splits the golf course. From the driveway you see an impressive stone clubhouse overlooking the golf course. But it does nothing to prepare you for the site that greets you rounding the corner to the reception desk. An old tower, the remains of the original castle, introduces you to Tavernera. The ancestral castle, is first mentioned in 1108. The first owners were the Montornès. From the XVII century, the Taverner, the Counts of Darnius occupied the house. The tower was rebuilt in 1718 as the center of the manor. Ceramics pictures of the Counts of Darniusdecorate the face of this remarkable fortified farmhouse . Inside the proud edifice contains everything a modern golf club should offer.
Club De Golf Vallromanes is, for most local players, one of the best golf clubs in Barcelona area. After originating as a members only the club, still private, now welcomes visitors. This 18-hole par 72 hosted, among other tournaments, the Spanish Open in 1985. Designed by the prestigious British architect, Mr. F.W Hawtree, it opened in 1972. The course is a wonderful example of a Hawtree parkland design. At over 6200 meters, the course is perfect for all kind of players, ages and handicaps. It can be demanding depending on the flag positions. Wide fairways and demanding greens force players to use all their imagination and skill. I have some favorite holes that I’d like to mention. The two finishing holes on each nine are savory. The ninth hole is a downhill par 5 is that has OB on the right and a grove of trees that is no fun on the left. Your approach shot will present a green guarded by two forward bunkers, left and right. The hole demands a strategy depending on your ability. Go for a low score or not. Is the risk worth the reward? The green is welcoming but tiered. While it will accept a fairway shot, being above or below the flag can turn an eagle or birdie into bigger numbers. There is a lake on the right, but only THE most wayward of shots will find it. A fun hole as well as scenic. The 18th hole is a wonderful par 4 to finish your round. Big hitters will play a fairway wood to not drive through the fairway on the right. Trees and, closer to the green, water protect the left side. The fairway slopes left to right. Pulled left tee shots could end up in the fairway. The working word, of course, is COULD. The green, as we said has water on the left front and large bunkers to the rear. Approach shots need some strategy. But once on the surface, this green will allow good putts to score well. Another favorite is the 15th. Here you can grip it and rip it. From an elevated tee the fairway takes a massive dive deep and to the left. Yes, there is OB on the left and a deep forest on the right. Yes, there are a couple of stray trees that stick out to guard the left side at the dogleg. And, yes, the small, remodeled green is well protected with bunkering. It’s also tough to score on. Seeing your tee shot clear the hill and ramble on to the bottom of the fairway is a thrill for golfers of all shapes. Want the feeling of being John Daly? This is the hole. Remember: No guts-no glory!
Remember, Club De Golf Vallromanes is a private club offering first class facilities. So proper dress and decorum need to be observed. Eva and I found the staff professional and courteous. We never felt we were “outsiders.” The lounge is a great place to start and finish your round. Enjoy its delicious menu of the day along with a refreshing drink. In season, you can relax on the summer garden terrace. Barcelona has many private and resort courses to choose from. Some continue to be private with no daily access. Club De Golf Vallromanes is not one of those places. A private club with class, grace and a classic golf course. After spending a weekend there, you’re so relaxed, you’ll feel like one of the members.
For Eva and I, Club De Golf Vallromanes is another reason we must return to Barcelona.