This is the second part of our report outlining the conclusions of a survey we held among international golfing clients in early-September. The survey was conducted by personal email invitation to verified clients, and attracted 1,000 replies from clients in 28 countries (74% of them European). We explained some of the technical aspects in the first part and in the complete survey report.
In that initial report we analysed data in reference to cancellations, while here in the second part we compare the conclusions that can be drawn when it comes to respondents’ perception of Spain’s diverse destinations, as well as the key measures they take into account when assessing our bookings.
This is one of the initial conclusions drawn from a survey we held among international golfing clients, with the aim of learning how bookings had been affected this year – as well as determining medium-term travel plans and the current perception of Spain’s main destinations.
The survey was conducted by personal email invitation to verified clients, and the preliminary results are based on 1,000 replies from clients in 28 countries (74% of them European) from 20 August.
It should be borne in mind that autumn and spring are the golfing high seasons in Spain and – although there are no official figures for golf’s impact on the economy and tourism sector – it is estimated that the market generates €2,400 million in directly related business revenue and 2.6 million tourists a year. Spain is the premier golf destination in Europe, with an estimated market share of 35%. A total of 28% of those surveyed indicated that they make more than three getaways a year to Spain or Portugal to play golf.
35 years since its foundation and 25 individual events of the European Tour held on its pristine course. But numbers fall short when trying to convey the meaning of the Real Club Valderrama for Andalusian, Spanish and European golf.
Valderrama was founded in 1985 thanks to the efforts and vision of Jaime Ortiz Patiño, who hired top designer Robert Trent Jones Sr to renovate the old Las Aves course and the surrounding land with the intention of creating the best golf course in continental Europe. Valderrama debuted as a European Tour venue soon after that, since in 1988 it held the Volvo Masters, an elite field event that brought the curtain down on the European Tour season.
Taking a quick look at its winner list (from Sir Nick Faldo, its first champion, to world-class golfers such as Sandy Lyle, Colin Montgomerie, Bernhard Langer, Ian Poulter, Justin Rose, among others) it’s easy to understand its importance. On the fairways and greens of Valderrama, unforgettable moments such as Bernhard Langer and Colin Montgomerie’s draw in 2002, Miguel Ángel Jiménez’s albatross in 1994 or the exciting playoffs between Ian Poulter and Sergio García in 2004 or Fredrik Jacobson with Carlos Rodiles the previous year. In total, 16 Volvo Masters in which the Real Club Valderrama acted as a fair but demanding judge.
After being elevated to a well-deserved glory and gaining international prominence thanks to the 1997 Ryder Cup in which Seve Ballesteros captained the European team to victory, the Sotogrande club hosted another key event on the international schedule, the WGC American Express Championship. The field, again, was outstanding. In 1999, the number one in the world, Tiger Woods, needed a playoff to beat a tough rival carried by the cheering locals, Miguel Ángel Jiménez, while in 2000 Mike Weir, a Masters winner, conquered the title.
The Andalucía Masters, currently sponsored by Estrella Damm and the Junta de Andalucía, followed up with the great tradition of elite tournaments at Valderrama and Graeme McDowell, who had won the 2010 US Open winner, beat the field that year. Golf fans had to wait until 2011 for the first Spanish victory at Real Club Valderrama when Sergio García managed to overcome the resistance of Miguel Ángel Jiménez.
In 2016 the Open de España took over and the field faced a course that, as always, made no concessions. This time, fan-favourite Andrew Johnston won the title but could not beat Valderrama because he finished over par, something that had not happened since Sandy Lyle won with +3 in the 1992 Volvo Masters.
In the following two years, Sergio García continued his love affair with Real Club Valderrama by winning two consecutive Andalucía Masters titles, becoming the first player to obtain three individual victories at Valderrama. The Borriol golfer accumulates 14 top ten in 15 appearances at Valderrama (2 in the WGC American Express Championship, 7 in the Volvo Masters and 5 in the Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucía Masters), an impressive record.
In 2019 the South African Christiaan Bezuidenhout broke Sergio García’s streak and managed to hold off the assault of the many Spanish players fighting for the title since five Spaniards finished in the top 7 of the event.
The 2020 winner, therefore, will have the honor of being crowned in the 25th European Tour event played at Valderrama. Without a question, he will be a worthy heir to the tradition that so many illustrious international champions have written with their talent in one of the best courses in the world.
We want you to continue travelling, playing golf and enjoying all our services without any financial loss. In these post-coronavirus times, travel insurance is becoming more important than ever – especially as it has to cover cancellations, infections, quarantines, etc., due to the virus.
We have been studying and comparing various travel insurance options that cover these aspects related to COVID-19, and we have incorporated the possibility of contracting coverage with all our bookings.
Here we highlight two travel insurance options with COVID-19 coverage…
- Holiday COVID (national):
- Travel cancellation costs up to €900
- Medical assistance up to €1,500
- Including reasons for contracting COVID-19 before travelling or during trip
- Repatriation due to airline bankruptcy
- Refund for cancelled holiday
- Coverage for pets
- Substitute vehicle for accident/breakdown
- Sending professional driver
- Coverage of sporting and adventure activities
- From €9.55/person
- Force majeure à la carte – free withdrawal:
- Travel cancellation costs up to €600
- Medical assistance up to €10.000
- Cancelled holiday up to €3,000
- Valid for sport-tourism and/or adventure activities
- Includes coverage for COVID-19 assistance
- From €30.56/person
- Holiday COVID (national):
You can take out either insurance coverage at the end of your booking process but bear in mind that it is essential to request them at the time you make your golf reservation. We will include the price in the quote and we will contract the insurance coverage when you confirm your reservation. If you require any specific coverage, do not hesitate to contact us and we will recommend the insurance that best suits your needs.
Remember, in any event, that we also offer our new “Super Flexible” options, with free cancellation until the last moment.
Jon Rahm has always talked about how much of an influence Seve Ballesteros was on his career. From attending the 2007 Volvo Masters with his father at Valderrama (where Seve had captained Europe to victory in the 1997 Ryder Cup) as an awestruck 12-year-old to becoming European number one in November 2019… a feat only previously achieved by one Spanish golfer (Seve). And now he has once more emulated the legendary Spaniard by reaching the top of the world rankings. Again, neither José María Olazábal nor Sergio García (both US Masters champions) before him have achieved that.
Rahm is 25 years old (born in Barrika, Basque Country, on 10 November 1994); Seve had just turned 29 when he reached world number one in April 1986, and he went on to hold the top spot for 61 weeks in total. Rahm – a graduate of Arizona State University – was also the top-ranked amateur in the world during two separate periods starting in April 2015 (for a record 60 weeks in all). Seve followed a different path into the paid ranks, turning pro in March 1974 at the age of 16.
Of course, Rahm made sure he had to do it the hard – and spectacular – way, a la Seve. He entered the final round of the Memorial Tournament – Jack Nicklaus’s prestigious event at Muirfield Village in Ohio – four strokes ahead of the field.
During a roller-coaster last day ride, he had extended that to eight shots at the turn after two birdies, but then things began to unravel – with bogeys on the 10, 14th and 16th and a double on the 11th. He actually thought he had holed a magnificent chip on the 16th for a birdie, but after the round officials advised him that his ball had inadvertently moved as he addressed it (imperceptibly to the human eye but picked up on slow-motion, high-definition video) and he was penalised two strokes. That still left him with a three-over 75, a nine-over total of 279 and a three-stroke victory over runner-up and close friend Ryan Palmer (they had paired for victory in the 2019 Zurich Classic),
And that meant he overtook Rory McIlroy (who finished 32nd) at the summit of the world rankings – the 24th player to be crowned number one.
Later, he said, “I don’t know how to describe it. It’s been a goal since I was 13, 14 years old. I remember I heard a story on the radio from my swing coach back in Spain, Eduardo Celles. We were driving somewhere and he asked me what my goals were and my ambitions and this and that, and I remember telling him, I think 13 or 14 years old, it’s like, I’m going to be the best player in the world, and that’s what I set out to be. It’s pretty surreal to think it’s happened this quickly, right, in less than 10 years. I mean, how many people get to achieve a lifelong team, a short lifelong dream, in their mid-20s? It’s incredible.
“To be a Spaniard, the second Spaniard to ever do it, given there’s not many Europeans that have gotten to this spot, it’s a pretty unique feeling, so I’m going to enjoy it for a while.”
As for the penalty shots, he said, “I want everybody to hear it: It did move. It is a penalty. As hard it is to say for how great of a shot it was – as hard as it is to say that, I won’t finish double digits under par. But it did move, so I’ll accept the penalty, and it still doesn’t change the outcome of the tournament.”
He was also fully aware of the bigger current picture. “I have lost two family members to this pandemic, not for the virus, but the toll that it takes mentally for those people to be quarantined and just having to deal with the situation. And one of them was my grandma, the woman who next to my parents helped raise me. She passed away actually Wednesday of Travelers, and then yesterday is when they took her ashes to her family rest spot in Madrid. So emotional, you know. The other person was my mom’s aunt.
“It goes to show there’s more important things in life than me accomplishing what I accomplished today. We’re going through a pandemic. People are dying for whatever reason it is, and whether you believe it or not, it’s going to happen physically or mentally – it could happen to me, and still does sometimes.
You need to start thinking now about a golf trip – true?
We realise that, and to help you research and book your autumn golf getaway we’ve set ourselves to work to prepare offers which, as a main criteria, provide flexible cancellation terms.
New Superflexible Category
Our new SUPERFLEXIBLE category only includes offers that allow you to make a cancellation*, for whatever reason, no questions asked, just a few days before your scheduled arrival date. In some cases, up to 24 hours before.
Defining cancellations for reasons related to COVID-19
Furthermore, we have created a reference document outlining in great detail any cancellation terms related to your own case of COVID-19 or that of a direct family member – and which affect quarantine or mobility restrictions in your area or destination. We are asking all establishments to adhere to the document, and you will see this indicated in the terms for many of our packages.
Date extension for final payment
We have also extended the final date for full payment of your booking, to within just a few days of your scheduled arrival, so you will not have to pay this amount almost until the last moment. If the cancellation is made after your final payment, the amount paid (apart from the deposit) will be refunded* within a period of 20 days.
These options are limited and the terms will only be applied to offers included in the SUPERFLEXIBLE category while they remain valid.
If you have any doubts or would like us to call you, please get in touch.
* In the event of a cancellation, only the initial booking deposit (normally 10%) will remain as a credit in your favour, with no penalties, for any future booking within one year.
Now is an excellent time to get together with your golfing mates and organise a trip to Spain. Post-covid is bringing great opportunities to travel to Spain in Autumn and during 2021.
That means, if dining out is at the top of your list of post-round activities, you will be able to enjoy Spain’s excellent cuisine in classic style on the Costa del Sol. If your group is looking for some more robust nightlife, you can head to the Costa Blanca. Or simply chill out by turquoise sea waters in the Canary or Balearic Islands.
Here are some of our most popular group golf deals, available from autumn and throughout 2021.
Meliá Villaitana: superb resort comprising hotel and two courses, the championship Villaitana Levante and executive Poniente. No need to travel to the courses as they are onsite, and the package includes playing both. They offer 1 free in groups of 8. Nightlife in Benidorm only 10 minutes away by taxi.
The Residences at Mar Menor: well-appointed apartments that also offer 1 free in 8. Possibility of including drink packages in the dinners. The overall packages offer golf at 7 different courses, and the apartments are in a resort right by one of the courses, Mar Menor. Shuttle included to the courses from February to May.
Hotel Puerto Juan Montiel: hotel not in a golf resort but on the Mediterranean Sea next to a small village with direct access to the boardwalk and opposite the marina. Perfect package for groups, 1 free in groups of 10, and semi-all-inclusive including open bar from 5pm to 11pm. You will discover Aguilón Golf course, a secret jewel for golf on that not so popular destination in Spain.
Costa del Sol
La Cala Resort: renowned resort with hotel, spa and 3 golf courses. Perfect for groups that do not want to leave the resort, and be able to play different courses at the same time. Fuengirola and Marbella are 20 minutes away, so transfers can be arranged for a night out. 1 person free in groups of 8.
Sol Don Pablo for groups that want to be closer to restaurants, bars and nightlife, and also right across from the beach in Torremolinos. Wide selection of great courses of east Costa del Sol to choose from in the package, 1 free in 8, and optional supplement for semi-all-inclusive, or even all-inclusive.
ONA Valle Romano: economical option in shared apartments that border the golf course. If a group of minimum 7 guests travelling with a pro, he will have courtesy on the full package. The west Costa del Sol location will give you access to courses from Marbella to Valderrama.
Fly via Seville or Faro:
Double Tree by Hilton Islantilla and The Residences: early booking packages including 1 free in 8, and daily golf for both the recently renovated hotel and the apartment complex. Beautiful Isla Cristina coast town only a few minutes away. You can fly to Seville or Faro.
Hotel Isla Canela a great hotel in a golf resort, with different golf courses to choose from, including on of Spain’s latest openings Valle Guadiana Links and nearby Quinta do Vale in Portugal, with transfers included for a minimum 10 golfers. 1 free in groups of 8. Semi-all-inclusive optional if staying a minimum 7 nights.
Terrazas de Abama: luxury apartments in Tenerife, walking distance from the famous Abama golf course. Few accommodations on the island offer special rates to play Abama and this is one of them. The luxurious apartments, year-round warm weather and proximity to the ocean make this an exceptional package.
Elba Sara: located in the heart of the Fuerteventura golf course, the package offers daily golf, dinners, and 1 in 8 free. Located by fine white sandy beaches, and close to the island’s largest shopping and leisure centre. Good weather all year round.
Pure Salt Garonda: mix of luxury and leisure at Playa de Palma, for those considering the Balearic Islands and with direct access to the beach. Adults-only hotel, close to nightlife. A package that combines golf with an urban beach experience.
Later this year Marbella-born Azahara Muñoz will be be returning to the scene of one of the most cherished moments in her career. The Ladies European Tour has just announced that the 2020 Andalucía Costa del Sol Open de España will be played at Royal Guadalmina Golf Club from 26-29 November.
It was at Guadalmina where a young Azahara learnt to play the game before becoming an international star, and US LPGA Tour champion, and also the club where she won a second consecutive Spanish Women’s Open crown in 2017.
The previous year, at nearby Aloha Golf, Muñoz became the first Spanish women’s golfer to win her home Open. She also finished second behind Dutchwoman Anne Van Dam in the 2018 edition at La Quinta, and was joint fourth when the event returned to Aloha in 2019, also being won by Van Dam.
This year’s Andalucía Costa del Sol Open de España will be the final tournament of the 2020 Ladies European Tour, offering a €600,000 prize fund (double last year’s total) and setting the scene for an exciting finale of the Race to Costa del Sol (the new LET order of merit).
Spanish star Jon Rahm will be in the marquee group on Thursday when the US PGA Tour resumes officially for the first time since the coronavirus outbreak halted golf around the world three months ago.
The three leading players in the world ranking (which was frozen when the main global tours went into hibernation) will be the main featured group in the first tournament back, the Charles Schwab Challenge at the Colonial in Fort Worth, starting on Thursday (11 June) – albeit without fans allowed on the course.
Rory McIlroy (1), Jon Rahn (2) and Brooks Koepka (3) also played together in the first round of the 2020 Players Championship, after which the event was cancelled and the subsequent Tour schedule put on hold.
The omens are good for 25-year-old Rahm, if he can recapture that day’s form: he carded 69, while Koepka had a 70 and McIlroy a 72.
Apart from McIlroy, Rahm and Koepka, other star groups will be Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler and Jordan Spieth, Bryson DeChambeau, Dustin Johnson and Justin Rose, and Phil Mickelson, Gary Woodland and defending champion Kevin Na.
The overall strength of the field is highlighted by the fact that, in total, 101 of the 148 players have won on Tour.
In all, 15 of the world’s top 20 ranked golfers will be teeing up in Texas. Among those missing are Adam Scott (6), Tommy Fleetwood (10) and Tiger Woods (11). Scott has expressed his concerns with the tour’s COVID-19 testing protocol, and is not expected to return to competition for two months, in the lead-up to the newly-scheduled majors. UK-based Fleetwood explained in May that the quarantine times for international visitors would also most likely keep him away from the US for an extended period.
“It isn’t impossible for me to play,” Fleetwood told Golf Digest. “Far from it. But two weeks of quarantine at both ends of a trip across the Atlantic is a huge issue. That factor really made my decision for me. To go over and play in the three events scheduled for June would eat up seven weeks of my life. That’s more than double what a trip like that would normally take. I wouldn’t want to be away from my wife and kids for that long.”
Woods, meanwhile, has only played once professionally at the Colonial, finishing joint fourth in the 1997 event.
The US PGA Championship, at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco, has been moved from May to 6-9 August; the US Open until after the official 2019-2020 season concludes, from June to September 17 to 20 at Winged Foot in New York; and the US Masters at Augusta, normally in April, to an unprecedented late-autumn date, 12-15 November.
The Tokyo Olympics (now including a golf competition, re-introduced in 2016) have been postponed until 2021; and a decision is still pending on the Ryder Cup, due to be held at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin from 25 to 27 September.
European Tour Update
The European Tour plans to resume its 2020 season with the launch of a new six-week “UK Swing”. Suspended on 8 March due to the global coronavirus pandemic, the Tour is scheduled to return to action in July and continue to December.
All tournaments will initially be played behind closed doors, and all will be “subject to stringent safety and testing protocols set out in the Tour’s comprehensive Health Strategy, which will continue to evolve, aligned with international government guidance and health guidelines”.
The “UK Swing” begins with the Betfred British Masters hosted by Lee Westwood, at Close House, near Newcastle, from Wednesday 22 July to Saturday 25 July, followed by the English Open (Marriott Forest of Arden), English Championship (Marriott Hanbury Manor), Celtic Classic and Wales Open (both at The Celtic Manor Resort in Newport) and finally the UK Championship (The Belfry).
The Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucía Masters hosted by the Sergio Garcia Foundation, due to be held from 29 April to 3 May at Royal Valderrama, has not been rescheduled in 2020.
Resumption of Women’s Tours
Both the US LPGA Tour and the Ladies European Tour were also forced to cancel tournaments from March to June.
The LPGA is scheduled to resume on 23 July with the Marathon Classic in Ohio; while the LET is due to return to action with the Ladies Scottish Open from 13 to 16 August. This follows the announcement this week that the Evian Championship – one of five women’s majors, and due to be played from 6 August at the Evian Resort Golf Club in France – has been postponed until next year.
In Spain, the La Reserva de Sotogrande Invitational (scheduled to be played in May) and the Mediterranean Ladies Open (Terramar Golf Club in July) have been “postponed”, but the Andalucía Costa del Sol Open (at a club to be confirmed) is still scheduled for 6 to 9 November.
Which golf courses are open?
We are trying to keep you updated about the golf courses with which we collaborate that have already confirmed opening dates. Remember that right now it is mandatory to pre-book your green fee. You can do it by clicking on each link or calling us from 09:30 to 15:00. Keep in mind that these indications and dates are informative and will be subject to changes based on the government regulations.
- La Sella Golf: May 11
- Las Colinas Golf & Country Club: May 11
- Bonalba Golf: May 11
- Vistabella Golf: May 11
- Lo Romero Golf: May 11
- Puig Campana Golf: May 11
- Campoamor: May 11
- La Marquesa: May 11
- Campo de Golf Villamartín: Open
- Font del Llop Golf Resort: May 18
- Altea Club de Golf: May 11
- El Plantío Golf: open
- Alenda Golf: May 22