It would have been a shock to learn otherwise but Spain has been suffering something of a battering in recent years on various well-documented fronts. On this occasion, however, no unpleasant surprises: according to a new study of European golfers, the country maintains its supremacy as the most popular travel destination for visitors from the UK, France, Germany and Scandinavia.
More than 28 per cent of the respondents had played golf in Spain over the previous 12 months, citing such favourable key contributing factors as the standard and range of the country’s golf courses, consistent levels of high quality accommodation and the favourable year-round climate.
The findings were part of a new research document entitled “European Spotlight on Golf Tourism to Spain”, commissioned by Reed Travel Exhibitions, organisers of IGTM (which will be held from 11 to 14 November at Costa Daurada in Cataluña) and produced by Sports Marketing Surveys Inc.
Second in popularity behind Spain was Portugal (17 per cent), followed by Great Britain & Ireland (16.1 per cent), Turkey (7.5 per cent), France (7.1 per cent) and United States (6.9 per cent).
Club de Golf Valderrama, the most known Spanish golf course internationally, has announced a series of improvements to the field with a total investment of 3 million euros.
The venue for the 1997 Ryder Cup, two World Golf Championships and 16 editions of the Volvo Masters, is currently undertaking major investments. Valderrama has been consistently ranked among the best courses, recently ranked in 45th place in the World and number 1 in Europe by Golf Architecture Magazine, this top 100 ranking is elaborated with votes from the most prestigious golf course designers and architects in the World.
The first investment undertaken has been the complete renovation of the pumping system, this new system has significantly reduced water and energy costs. The second major improvement on the course has been the new bunkers. All traps have been renovated by installing new drainage, liners and sand. The new sand conforms with USGA specifications and has been chosen after months of testing. “Bunkers have always been an issue at Valderrama. We have rebuilt the bunkers following the strictest and highest specifications and I am proud to say they are now matching the quality of our greens and fairways” says Valderrama’s general manager, Javier Reviriego.
This is only the first phase of the renovation project, Valderrama is currently working on the improvement of many cart paths and the landscaping of the course, in order for the greens and fairways to be free of bad weeds.
Planned for the immediate future is the construction of a new pitching and chipping green, in a large area next to the current practice range.
With the announcement of these improvements and the mention in the press release itself, one would think that a major golf tournament might be soon announced for Valderrama.