Manuel Pinero – La Reserva Club’s local golfing legend

SportsManuel Pinero – La Reserva Club’s local golfing legend


Just seven years after Joseph McMicking created the Sotogrande estate in 1962, Manuel Piñero first set foot on its hallowed turf in Southern Spain as a professional golfer in 1969. Still a teenager at the time, was ‘unforgettable,’ and he has carried that memory with him throughout his glittering career. 

Piñero represented Europe in two Ryder Cups and helped to pioneer those who were the greatest days in Spanish golfing history, alongside Seve Ballesteros and other legends of the sport. In the fifteen-year period from 1974-1989, Piñero and Ballesteros won the Open de España three times apiece. Alongside two Swiss Opens and the Italian Open for Piñero, the Armada was a dominant force sweeping through Europe, galvanising future Ryder Cup players in their quest to conquer the American side. A Ryder Cup winner and five-time feature in the Top 10 European Order of Merit, Manuel Piñero is a legend of the game.  

Manuel Piñero is now a World Ambassador for La Reserva Club in Sotogrande and directs the golf academy. He sat down with Salvador Ruiz, instructor of La Reserva’s golf academy, to talk to us about golf in the area and his relationship with La Reserva Club. 

The personal attachment Manuel and Salvador have with La Reserva Club has helped open doors to the rest of the population in the region; something that Piñero prides himself on. 

Salvador: Do you think this region is a point of reference for world golf? 

Manuel: “I believe we have 4 of the 5 best golf courses in Spain, practically all the families living here have a relationship with golf for sure! We have it all the highest level, the best quality, the public courses are easily accessible so everyone in the local town can play our sport.” 

S: Can you talk a bit about golf being a sport for all? 

M: “Golf unites plenty of positive things. It’s a sport for the family. It’s one of the only sports that you can play between different levels. A professional can play against an amateur and it remains competitive using handicaps. I play with many amateurs with handicaps of 14, 15 or 20. I must play well to beat them when they play to their handicap, and this is very difficult in other sports.” 

S: What makes La Reserva Club special to you as a golfer? 

M: “For a golfer all courses are beautiful. The ambience here, the green colours, it is something that is unique in our sport. “La Reserva Club really connects with me and it’s a superb round – very varied. Every day it is a challenge out on the course – where you can use every club in your bag. And for me it’s a privilege to be able to go out onto the course and enjoy all this. La Reserva is home for me now and I will do all I can for this club to be a benchmark, which it already is, not just in Spain but across the World”. 

Opened in 2003, La Reserva Club saw its largest jump in the European Rankings by going from 83rd to 63rd in 2018. The latest Golf World European Courses Top 100 list ranks La Reserva Club as the 7th best course in Spain, and #53 in Continental Europe. Over 7,400 yards from the back tees, La Reserva Club is a monster for those who choose to accept the challenge.  

  S: Do you have any advice for people wanting to play well at La Reserva Club? 

M: “It’s a course that is challenging constantly. The second time you play it, the more attractive things you find, and different shots every day. I believe it is a course to enjoy. It is one of the best golf courses in Spain, and I have travelled a bit in my career! 

“Golf is a sport where it is a marathon, not a sprint. It is more about how you finish on the 18th than how you start on the 1st hole. You must strategically plot your way around this exquisite golf course, which requires you to choose from a large variety of shots. You will often be using every club in the bag and must ensure you leave the approach shot on the correct side of the green. 

  S: Does the course behave differently depending in the season? 

M: “Jose Maria Menacho and the greenkeeping team here at La Reserva Club are fantastic, as the course plays beautifully year-round. The spacious practice area and fantastic facilities on offer make it the complete package.” 

S: Do you enjoy the teaching aspect of the job? 

M: “I try to help young people – those with talent who I think can achieve their dream of playing golf professionally. It’s one of the nicest things I am doing now – helping young people turn into players. They are like sponges, they take in all the information, and with our help their abilities come out. For me, the most important thing is that they have a good time.”  

5 1 vote
Article Rating