Case Studies

Spanish golf centre improves derelict land

The Centro Nacional in Madrid was built on a brown field site.

Residential and office blocks overlook the Centro Nacional golf facility.  

Owned and operated by the Royal Spanish Golf Federation, the Centro Nacional is a public golf course which was built on land destined to become a waste dump. 

The golf course is virtually surrounded by urbanisation, with the main outer ring road and a railway line running along one of its boundaries and housing and office blocks to the southwest.  To the north, however, is an environmentally protected Monte del Pardo forest.   This is considered the most important area of Mediterranean forest and scrub in the province of Madrid.  The presence of the golf course provides protection against creeping urbanisation into this environmentally sensitive area.

Views 2 3 and railway

A railway line and urbanisation surrounds Centro Nacional.

The site takes up 43 hectares and 11 of these have been designated low maintenance to provide havens for wildlife.  Bird boxes have been erected, native plants encouraged and a section of the course is conserved for reptiles.  The value of this green space is not only recognised by increased real estate value in the neighbourhood, but also by the Golf Environment Organization (GEO) who awarded it their ecolabel.

Centro Nacional has been part of the regional government of Madrid’s ‘Biogolf project, whose main objectives are promoting biodiversity and eco-efficiency in golf course management.

16 from above tee
Green space, wildlife refuge and a course that has held professional events.

Whilst the golf course plays an important role in providing urban green space and a haven for wildlife in an otherwise inhospitable environment, Centro Nacional also serves as an example of a golf facility that can be enjoyed by all standards of golfer.  Over 2,000 people are introduced to the game and receive lessons annually and the driving range is extremely busy.  The Centro Nacional has also hosted the European Tour’s 2007 Spanish Open and 2009 Madrid Masters championships.

Centro Nacional is an excellent example of golf being used to improve land use; providing healthy recreation to the residents of a metropolitan area, a refuge for wildlife and protection against urban sprawl.