The history of the Open de España Femenino

 Tags: Golf

The Open de España is a gentlemen’s and ladies’ golf tournament contested in Spain. The women’s Open is part of the Ladies European Tour and has been called the Andalucía Costa del Sol Open de España since 2016. The tournament has been the final test in the European circuit in the LET since 2020, doubling its importance, as both the winner of the Andalucía Costa del Sol Open de España Femenino and European Order of Merit (Race to Costa del Sol) are decided at the event. 

Los Naranjos Golf Club is the official host of the Open de España Femenino 2021, which will see the best Spanish and international players face each other on the fairways. Designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr., the 6,532m course has 18 holes for a par of 72. Its large rolling greens and expansive tees have borne witness to a number of important tournaments since it opened in 1977, such as the Marbella Ladies Open and professional Campeonato APG. And if all that weren’t enough, Los Naranjos was declared the Costa del Sol Golf Course of the Year in 2005 and 2008. The Open de España Femenino will be held from the 25 to the 28 November, bringing the Race to Costa del Sol, the Ladies European Tour Order of Merit, to a close.

open de españa golf femenino


History of the Open de España Femenino

The Open de España Femenino was relaunched by the Real Federación Española de Golf in 2002 though a number of tournaments had already been contested without the direct backing of the Spanish golf federation. 

Up until relatively recently, there were very few opportunities for professional ladies golf in Spain. The very first official edition of Open de España Femenino was held at Valderrama in 1982. Forty three players took part. 

At the time, the biggest Spanish name in the sport was Marta Figueras-Dotti, who was still an amateur. Figueras started off strong, leading the test with a score card of 73, although she ended up in eleventh place due to her final scorecard of 82 (the total par was 54). Victory was secured by the American Rose Jones, who won two tournaments out of the six she had played in Europe. In second place was Jenny Lee Smith, the leader of the European Order of Merit. 

There was no second edition of the tournament in 1983. However, for five consecutive years (1984-1988), La Manga hosted the biggest professional ladies tournament in Spain. From 1988 there was a break in the continuity of the Women’s Spanish Open until 1994 when it was disputed once again at La Manga, which would host another three consecutive editions of the competition. 

Over the next couple of years women’s golf in Spain really started to take off, pushing the RFEG to take action and guarantee a ladies tournament. In 2002, a collaboration with Deporte & Business was established in Salamanca, which marked the start of a competition that was now a firm fixture and no longer plagued with doubts about whether it would or wouldn’t be contested.

open de españa women’s golfFuente: Andalucía Costa del Sol Open de España Femenino


“The Costa del Golf offers great facilities for the LET”

Marta Figueras, professional golfer and president of the Ladies European Tour, highlights that, “from the perspective of the LET, the Costa del Sol offers excellent courses, lovely weather and a great deal of choice” (thanks to the large number of courses in the area). “The players are always delighted to come and play here, not only because of the welcome, but also because of the cuisine, the little villages, the beaches, the mountains. They love absolutely everything. All the players want to be here and, in fact, many come a week early to train in the area”, she continues. 


The Costa del Golf, host of the Solheim Cup 2023

“I think that ladies golf is thriving in Spain,” explains Figuera. “We have the Costa del Sol, Andalusian government, Acosol and everyone else working hard and economically supporting women’s golf to thank for this. It is due to their work that the Open de España will be hosted here”. 

The Costa del Golf will host the Solheim Cup 2023 at the spectacular course at Finca Cortesín. But the journey to this moment has not been an easy one. The president of the LET says that “the road has been tough. Three years ago, the idea was hatched with Deporte & Business. It was a pipe dream. At the time, I wasn’t involved with the LET, I just went to the tournaments, knew people for other reasons, but I had worked with Deporte & Business in other tournaments that weren’t the Open de España. And we started to think seriously about the idea. It was complicated, there were moments when we thought about throwing in the towel. But golf is my passion and I absolutely wanted to bring this competition to Spain. The goal now is to make it the best experience in the history of the Solheim”. 

spanish women’s open


The Costa del Golf has over 70 world-class courses, many of which are considered the best in Europe. Beyond this, the extraordinary weather, incredible selection of hotels and leisure opportunities make the Costa del Sol an unparalleled destination for hosting international golf tournaments. The growth of women’s golf in Andalusia in general, and the province of Malaga in particular, has continued in recent years, with some of the best Spanish players acting as ambassadors for the destination. Discover the Costa del Golf, the most popular European destination among golf lovers.

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