Solheim Cup venue uses 100% recycled water

Finca Cortesín, which is irrigated using 100% recycled water

Finca Cortesin, host venue of the 2023 Solheim Cup, re-designed its first hole, levelled tee boxes and remodelled bunkers, lakes and fairways for the event; but its biggest challenge was conserving water.

“In a region like Spain, where dry periods are prevalent, every drop of water is precious,” said Ignacio Soto, Director of Agronomy at Finca Cortesin.

Preparing the golf course for the bi-annual team event took years of planning but Soto says conserving water is fundamental to all day-to-day operations at the Andalucian resort, where summer temperatures can soar to 40°C (105°F).

“We utilise 100 percent regenerated water, ensuring responsible water usage. Additionally, we transitioned to warm-season grass throughout the entire course, including the greens, which were renovated and converted to Bermuda grass in 2017,” Sota told Greenkeeping magazine.

Finca Cortesín, which is irrigated using 100% recycled water

Finca Cortesin was the first golf course to be awarded certification for sustainable water management from Acosol, the public company tasked with water supply and management on the western Costa Del Sol.

“By adopting such measures, we aim to strike a balance between providing exceptional golfing conditions and safeguarding the precious water resources of the region,” said Soto.

Extreme heat caused the water level in the La Concepcion reservoir, which serves the Marbella region, to fall so low in 2018 that Acosol imported water. 

The recycled water used to irrigate the Finca Cortesin course comes from homes and businesses in the nearby town of Manilva and is processed at a desalination plant. 

The clean water is pumped back through a 5km network of pipes and stored on-site at Finca Cortesin.

Soto says optimising the irrigation system is vital to effectively manage the 1,800 sprinkler heads that are distributed within 23 satellites around the 40-hectare golf course.

Finca Cortesín, host of the Solheim Cup 2023

Finca Cortesin has its own weather station which enables Soto and his team to monitor the daily climate and plan in advance how much irrigation is needed. 

Drainage systems have also been installed around the resort to capture excess rainwater and direct it to irrigation lakes for future use.

“Overcoming this challenge has been a top priority, and we continuously strive to implement innovative techniques and practices to achieve sustainable water management at Finca Cortesin,” says Soto.

Other sustainability measures include a bird identification program, using bird boxes and feeding stations to provide habitats for local bird species. Honey is also cultivated at beehives on the resort to support pollinators and encourage the development of new ecosystems.