Welcome to European Tour Properties – a Network of World Class Golf Venues which all have a close association with The European Tour, one of the game’s foremost organisations.
European Tour Destinations and Courses all have the stamp of tournament quality and present a level of on and off-course facilities guaranteed to provide a memorable golfing experience for all members and visitors.
With facilities located throughout Europe and beyond, many close by to famous cities and cultural experiences, our partner venues offer a range of attractive golf, leisure and accommodation options for visitors, guests and groups. Many also showcase elegant and secluded real-estate opportunities, with bespoke options available.
European Tour Properties – A Network of World Class Golf Venues
Interview with David MacLaren, European Tour PropertiesInterview with David MacLaren, European Tour Properties
This is a big week for The European Tour and The Race to Dubai, but why is European Tour Properties also in the news?
The DP World Tour Championship is the finale of The European Tour’s Race to Dubai. This is a world-class golf event in a leading global destination showcasing some of the finest golfers in the world, so yes, it’s a big week for The European Tour. The fact the event is being hosted at Jumeirah Golf Estates, the first member of the European Tour Properties network in the Middle East and a venue we have been working closely with since October 2013, makes it even more significant.
In addition to this week’s event, a number of our venues, including Quinta do Lago in Portugal, Terre Blanche Hotel Spa Golf Resort in France, PGA Catalunya Resort in Spain and Linna Golf in Finland, were winners at the inaugural World Golf Awards on Saturday (November 15, 2014). So it’s a week of celebrations, which we hope will be capped off by a memorable tournament and climax to The Race to Dubai here at Jumeirah Golf Estates.
Besides hosting the DP World Tour Championship, what is the significance of Jumeirah Golf Estates being a member of European Tour Properties?
European Tour Properties is a network of world-class golf venues, which have a close association with The European Tour. The network features some of the most prestigious golf and lifestyle resorts in Europe and the Middle East, and includes London Golf Club, venue of the recent the Volvo World Match Play Championship and St Leon-Rot in Germany, venue of The 2015 Solheim Cup.
Being associated with the premier global golf venue brand offers obvious advantages from a positioning and profile perspective. It also delivers significant practical benefits including strategic and operational support, sales and marketing activities linked to golf travel and real estate, and access to tournament opportunities. Eight of our 13 venues have hosted European Tour sanctioned events in the past year and we are supporting other venues in their plans to host tournaments. For example, we are working closely with The Dutch, which will host the KLM Open from 2016-18.
How has European Tour Properties helped Jumeirah Golf Estates?
Our strategic and operational support services vary from venue to venue. In the case of Jumeirah Golf Estates, we have worked closely not only on the staging of the DP World Tour Championship, but the development of a state-of-the-art clubhouse and the first European Tour Performance Institute in the Middle East, offering world-class training facilities for all golfers, from elite professionals to amateur golfers.
Our strategic partnership with Fine & Country has created a unique approach to real estate marketing, which is benefiting all European Tour Properties with residential developments, including Jumeirah Golf Estates. In June it was announced that Henrik Stenson, the reigning Race to Dubai champion, would become an Official Ambassador for the golf and residential development at Jumeirah Golf Estates.
What does the European Tour brand bring to a golf resort?
The essence of The European Tour is to bring elite golf to a world stage and so customers playing, staying or buying property at a European Tour Properties venue know that their experience comes with a stamp of tournament quality.
Are there likely to be more European Tour Properties in the Middle East in the future?
Wherever The European Tour develops its global brand, we will look to expand the European Tour Properties portfolio. Clearly, the Middle East is an important strategic market for golf, global sports, travel and leisure and so it is more than likely that we will seek to add new venues in the Middle East. We have recently opened a European Tour office in China and so Asia will also be a focus for European Tour Properties.
What are the prospects for Dubai as a golf travel destination?
Recent research for the International Golf Travel Market showed that the UAE was the third fastest growing golf destination among IAGTO golf tour operators, based on 2013 sales. It will be interesting to see if this trend accelerated in 2014. My view is that the international golf travel market is buoyant and destinations such as Dubai, with its appealing climate, international standard golf venues and hotels, ease of access, plus the additional benefit of global media coverage generated by a European Tour event, are well positioned for growth.
What about real estate?
It’s evident that there has been a general upturn in real estate sales in Dubai. Sales at Jumeirah Golf Estates are strong and the new Redwood development, with its 75 townhouses and 42 villas, has been well received, underlining the importance of real estate developments being able to adapt to shifts in the market. In fact, we are seeing strong sales across the European Tour Properties network – PGA Catalunya Resort has sold more than 100 units since 2011 and continues to out-perform the market in Spain.
As with golf tourism, there is a value in the European Tour brand being associated with a golf and residential community. Real estate purchasers who are golfers will be looking to live somewhere their friends have heard of. In making such a significant personal investment, they want certainty and assurance. I think both the European Tour brand and hosting a European Tour tournament adds profile and credibility, which can translate effectively into incremental real estate sales.
About European Tour Properties
European Tour Properties is a network of world-class golf venues which all have a close association with The European Tour, one of the game’s foremost organisations. European Tour Destinations and Courses all have the stamp of tournament quality and present a level of on and off-course facilities guaranteed to provide a memorable golfing experience for all members and visitors. With facilities located throughout Europe and beyond, many close by to famous cities and cultural experiences, our partner venues offer a range of attractive golf, leisure and accommodation options for visitors, guests and groups. Many also showcase elegant and secluded real-estate opportunities, with bespoke options available.
Jumeirah Golf Estates Clubhouse openedJumeirah Golf Estates Clubhouse openedSignificant milestone reached as Jumeirah Golf Estates clubhouse opened by His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum
Another significant milestone in the continuing development of Jumeirah Golf Estates was reached today, ahead of the DP World Tour Championship, when three of the world’s greatest golfers joined HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation and Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group, in officially opening the new state-of-the art clubhouse.
As the field began to assemble at Jumeirah Golf Estates for the sixth edition of the DP World Tour Championship from Thursday to Sunday, showcasing the climax of the season-long Race to Dubai on The European Tour, His Highness, Sheikh Ahmed, cut the ceremonial ribbon to officially open the new clubhouse before meeting Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose and Jumeirah Golf Estates official brand ambassador, Henrik Stenson.
The VIP party also included European Tour Chief Executive George O’Grady, who greeted His Highness outside the clubhouse, His Excellency Mohammed Al Shibani, Director General of His Highness Ruler’s Court and CEO of the Investment Corporation of Dubai, along with Board Members of Jumeirah Golf Estates, who have developed a strong affiliation following last year’s announcement that Jumeirag Golf Estates would become a European Tour Destination as part of the Tour’s growing network of world class golf venues.
The Earth course at Jumeirah Golf Estates has hosted all six championships since 2009 and only 12 months ago the facility was augmented by another ‘first’ for golf in the Gulf with the official opening of the first European Tour Performance Institute outside Europe.
Attending the clubhouse ceremony were McIlroy, World Number One and newly confirmed winner of The 2014 Race to Dubai to follow his 2012 success, and Stenson, the defending champion after his dramatic surge to victory in both the DP World Tour Championship and The Race to Dubai in 2013. Completing the group was former US Open Champion, Rose, narrowly edged out by McIlroy in the final event two years ago.
World class facilities will be the key elements of the clubhouse, as the competitors in the DP World Tour Championship and their families will discover this week when they experience the state-of-the-art locker room facilities, the notable food and beverage facilities as well as the impressive terrace overlooking the 18th green.
Yousuf Kazim, General Manager of Jumeirah Golf Estates said: “Jumeirah Golf Estates is already a thriving community of families and international visitors, and the opening of the clubhouse is a milestone development that cements Jumeirah Golf Estates’ status as the region’s leading residential golf community. To have His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum here just days away from the DP World Tour Championship is fantastic and a sign of exciting times ahead at our brand new clubhouse.
“Given the extensive array of recreational facilities now on offer in the heart of the community, we anticipate increased demand for our growing property portfolio. The clubhouse will become the social focal point of Jumeirah Golf Estates, bringing first class F&B outlets, events spaces and golf facilities to residents and visitors to Dubai,” concluded Kazim.
Stenson commented: “It is great to be back at Jumeirah Golf Estates to celebrate the opening of this fantastic clubhouse in time for the DP World Tour Championship - a staple tournament in my diary every year. The facilities are on a par with the world’s best, making the community a top choice for golfers, residents and visitors from around the world.”
O’Grady added: “This is the sixth successive year in which we have concluded The Race to Dubai at Jumeirah Golf Estates, now a European Tour Destination. Each time we return here, we never fail to be impressed by the dramatic improvements to all parts of the estate – from the Earth and Fire courses, to the academy facilities which form The European Tour Performance Institute; the road and property infrastructure and, today, the new clubhouse.
“A world class golf tournament deserves world class facilities and the state-of-the-art clubhouse, which will greatly enhance for experience for the leading professionals this week and also the Members who can enjoy the best of Jumeirah Golf Estates on a daily basis.”
HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation and Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates airline and Group, cuts the ceremonial ribbon during the official opening of the new clubhouse at the DP World Tour Championship at Jumeirah Golf Estates
HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation and Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates airline and Group, (far right) chats with (from left to right) Rory McIlroy, Henrik Stenson and Justin Rose during the official opening of the new clubhouse at the DP World Tour Championship at Jumeirah Golf Estates
(L-R) HE Mohammed Al Shibani (Director General of HH Ruler’s Court and CEO of the ICD); George O'Grady (Chief Executive of The European Tour), Henrik Stenson of Sweden, HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum (President of Dubai Civil Aviation and Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates airline and Group), Justin Rose of England, Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland and HE Abdul Rahman Al Saleh (Chairman of Jumeirah Golf Estates) pose for a photograph during the official opening of the new clubhouse at the DP World Tour Championship at Jumeirah Golf Estates.
Players and officials gather for a photograph during the official opening of the new clubhouse at the DP World Tour Championship at Jumeirah Golf Estates
George O'Grady, Chief Executive of The European Tour, (left) shakes hands with HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation and Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates airline and Group, during the official opening of the new clubhouse at the DP World Tour Championship at Jumeirah Golf Estates
European Tour Properties shine at World Golf AwardsEuropean Tour Properties shine at World Golf Awards
European Tour Properties, the network of world class golf venues, celebrated a stellar performance at the World Golf Awards with four member venues picking up major international accolades.
Terre Blanche Hotel Spa Golf Resort, the five-star resort in Provence, France, and venue of the European Senior Tour’s French Riviera Masters, was voted Europe’s Best Golf Hotel.
Spanish Open venue PGA Catalunya Resort, which last month was named IAGTO European Golf Resort of the Year and which this week hosts The European Tour Final Qualifying Stage, was voted Spain’s Best Golf Course, while Linna Golf was named Finland’s Best Golf Course.
Meanwhile, Quinta do Lago, Portugal, which now boasts three championship golf courses, was a multiple award winner. The Algarve resort’s radically revamped North Course – designed by Beau Welling in association with 2014 European Ryder Cup Captain Paul McGinley – won the award for Europe’s Best New Golf Course, while the South Course was recognised as Portugal’s Best Golf Course.
David MacLaren, The European Tour’s Director of Property and Venue Development, said: “European Tour Properties feature some of the most prestigious golf and lifestyle resorts in Europe and the Middle East and it is pleasing to see our member venues, which are all closely associated with The European Tour, recognised at the inaugural World Golf Awards.
“These awards are the latest in a series of successes for our network of 13 world class golf venues in 2014, a year which has seen eight member venues host European Tour sanctioned events, including this week’s DP World Tour Championship at Jumeirah Golf Estates, the last of the Final Series tournaments and the climax to the European Tour’s Race to Dubai.”
David MacLaren added: “The essence of The European Tour is to bring elite golf to a world stage and so customers playing, staying or buying property at a European Tour Properties venue know their experience comes with a stamp of tournament quality.”
The inaugural World Golf Awards – part of the World Travel Awards, which is celebrating its 21st anniversary – were voted for by both golf travel industry professionals and the public. The World Golf Awards Ceremony took place at the Conrad Algarve on Saturday November 15, 2014.
Renovation at Le Golf NationalRenovation at Le Golf NationalLe Golf National is pleased to announce that its facilities will remain permanently open to welcome golfers from all over the world while the Albatros course will be closed for renovation works, starting mid-July 2015.
Once top golfers have competed to win the 99th edition of the Open de France at the beginning of July 2015, the Albatros, the well-established home to the championship since 1991 and the next European Ryder Cup course, will close for under one year in order to be upgraded to host the biggest golfing competition in the world three years later: The Ryder Cup. The works plan will focus on renovating the irrigation and drainage systems, lake edges as well as routes and paths to welcome 50,000 spectators per day.
During this period, Le Golf National, the facility of the French Golf Federation located 25 km away from Paris and just 10km from Versailles, will keep its extensive on-site facilities open: its two other courses including the Aigle, a 18-hole sister of the Albatros, the four star-hotel, three restaurants, two driving ranges and the largest chipping area in Europe spreading over 3,400m².
There are eight months left before the Ryder Cup course closes. Golfers should not wait until the reopening of the course in June 2016 to come and challenge their own golfing skills against it. Exceptional offers, both for individuals and golf business professionals, are available to let golfers cultivate their Ryder Cup experience and dreams in the Paris area. Besides all this, a new exclusive service has been launched to answer any specific requests from international golfers: Le Golf National Concierge Service.
Paul Armitage, General Manager of Le Golf National says: “Having lived the dream in Scotland, Gleneagles 2014, France and Le Golf National are humble before the tasks ahead and very eager to produce one of the greatest amphitheatres the Ryder Cup will ever see! We look forward to welcoming guests and enjoying our new golfing experiences”.
To find out more information, please visit www.le-golf-national.com
Fun for all the family at the DP World Tour ChampionshipFun for all the family at the DP World Tour ChampionshipThe great thing about the DP World Tour Championship, taking place at Jumeirah Golf Estates this week from 20 -23 November, is that you don’t need to be a golf nut to enjoy it. The event is renowned in the region for being one of the best days out on the social calendar for all the family, with plenty to do besides watch The European Tour’s finest players in action.
Most of the off-course activities centre around the bustling Championship Village where there are a mouth-watering selection of food and beverage outlets on offer: BBQ Grill, N_K_D Pizza, Fish & Chips, Costa Coffee, Amstel Light Sports Bar, Patron Bar, Baskin Robins, Hot Dog Stand, Organic, Melt and the Mouton Cadet Bar. You can also purchase the full range of tournament and Race to Dubai branded merchandise while many spectators like to come here just to kick back for a while and relax on the beanbags watching the action on the giant screen.
There’s the Kids Zone where the young ones can play on bouncy castles or on the tennis court – there’s also Short Golf with ‘introduction to golf’ sessions for children aged 6 and above. Free golf lessons are available from Thursday to Sunday from 9.00am – 5.00pm, courtesy of the Emirates Golf Federation in conjunction with the R&A, as well as a Titleist 915 Long Drive Contest.
Out on the range, just outside the entrance to the Championship Village, renowned golf trick shot artist David Edwards will be entertaining the crowds each day with his phenomenal stunts and when play is finished you can rock out to the sounds of popular local bands Maplejacks and Suburban Voodoo.
“The DP World Tour Championship not only offers some of the best golfing action you’ll see all year but also some of the best entertainment,” says Nick Tarratt, Director of The European Tour International Dubai Office. “We get the diehard golf fans who come to see the top 60 players in The Race to Dubai doing battle but we also get friends and family who just enjoy the event as a great day out with lots to do and see over and above the golf.”
Register for FREE tickets to the four-day DP World Tour Championship at www.DPWTC.com and be in with a chance of winning VIP HOSPITALITY tickets.
For HOSPITALITY tickets call +971 (0) 567 359 852 or email HOSPITALITY@DPWTC.COM
McIlroy and Stenson lead all-star cast in DubaiMcIlroy and Stenson lead all-star cast in Dubai
The 2014 European Tour season reaches a climax this week with the sixth edition of the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai, where Henrik Stenson will defend his title and Rory McIlroy will be crowned The Race to Dubai champion for the second time.
Thanks chiefly to his extraordinary exploits over the summer, McIlroy has built an unassailable lead in The Race to Dubai but there is still plenty to play for at the Greg Norman-designed Earth course, which has hosted the US$8 million season finale every year since its inauguration in 2009.
Fresh from finishing third in Turkey last week, Stenson will have one eye on the history books as he seeks to become the first player to mount a successful defence of the DP World Tour Championship title, and another eye on the Bonus Pool awarded to the top 15 in The Race to Dubai.
Despite being in second place in The Race to Dubai, the Swede has no chance of retaining the Harry Vardon Trophy due to McIlroy’s brilliance but, with ten million points up for grabs at Jumeirah Golf Estates, the 38 year old can further close the gap to the World Number One.
He said: “Last year was really special. I went in there with a great opportunity to do something very special, and luckily I delivered. So of course it was very pleasing, and I’m excited about going back to defend my title. I can’t win The Race to Dubai again, but I can win the tournament so I’ll be going all out to do just that.
“It’s going to be good fun. It’s another chance to finally defend a title, so of course I’m hoping to play well this week and give it a shot. I haven’t managed to defend a title yet in my career, so it would be a pretty good week to get that monkey off my back.
“I’m sure it’s going to bring back a lot of good memories when I go back. I made Dubai my home for almost ten years before we settled in Florida, so I’ve got a lot of friends there and it always feels like coming home whenever I go back.”
Stenson won both the tournament and The Race to Dubai in emphatic fashion last year, closing with a round of 64 to finish six strokes clear of the field on 25 under par – so bettering by two McIlroy’s winning score in 2012, when the Northern Irishman finished with five successive birdies to pip Justin Rose by two shots.
That sealed a first Harry Vardon Trophy for McIlroy, who was guaranteed a second last week after his then-nearest rivals in The Race to Dubai – Marcel Siem, Jamie Donaldson and Sergio Garcia – all missed out on the victory they needed in Turkey to ensure that the race would go to the wire.
McIlroy raced away from his rivals in a stunning four-week spell over the summer, in which he won The 143rd Open Championship, the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and the US PGA Championship.
Despite the best efforts of Siem, who finished joint eighth in last week’s Turkish Airlines Open by the Ministry of Youth and Sports, McIlroy remained untouchable and duly became the youngest player since Sandy Lyle in 1980 to win the Harry Vardon Trophy on more than one occasion.
Having captured his maiden European Tour title in Turkey, Brooks Koepka will be bidding to further enhance his burgeoning reputation when he makes his debut in the DP World Tour Championship.
Other notable names in this week’s stellar field include former champions Robert Karlsson and Lee Westwood, who goes into the tournament in fine fettle after finishing alongside Siem in tied eighth place last week.
The same applies to his compatriot and Ryder Cup team-mate Ian Poulter, who pushed Koepka all the way but ultimately came up one shot shy of the American.
Poulter will be determined to make amends for that near miss and he boasts a tremendous record in the desert, with two runner-up finishes to his name – behind Stenson last year and in 2010, when he lost out in a play-off to Karlsson.
His fellow Ryder Cup star Rose, who finished in a tie for fourth in the BMW Masters recently, will also be hoping to continue his impressive record in the DP World Tour Championship, having followed up his runner-up finish in 2012 with another top ten 12 months ago.
Inside PGA Catalunya ResortInside PGA Catalunya Resort
By Will Pearson, europeantour.com
at PGA Catalunya Resort
Ahead of the gruelling, six-round marathon that is the Qualifying School Final Stage, europeantour.com explores stunning host venue and European Tour Destination, PGA Catalunya Resort.
Nestled amongst native forest in the foothills of the majestic Pyrenees mountain range in the north-eastern reaches of Spain and on the outskirts of the Catalan city of Girona, PGA Catalunya and its two spectacular courses – the Stadium and Tour layouts – have hosted the Final Qualifying Stage every year since 2008.
Recently voted European Golf Resort of the Year 2015 in the annual International Association of Golf Tour Operators awards (IAGTO), the longer Stadium Course has - since 2012 - been consistently selected as Spain’s Number One course, ranked 77th in the world as well as third in Continental Europe, so the golfing pedigree of the resort is clear for all to see.
Designed by Ryder Cup star Neil Coles and Spanish golf legend Angel Gallardo, water comes into play across much of the two courses at the European Tour Destination while magnificent views are afforded by multiple elevation changes, however PGA Catalunya’s beauty certainly belies the beastly challenge ahead for the 156 Qualifying School hopefuls this week.
The Stadium Course
Opened in 1999, the revered Stadium Course is the longer of the two layouts at PGA Catalunya Resort, coming in at 7,333 yards and a par of 72, with accuracy off the tee at a premium with elevated drives in play on seven holes – the first, third, fourth, seventh, 13th, 15th and 17th – and water on five holes at the third, fourth, fifth, 11th and 13th.
The Stadium layout also sprang to international prominence again in May this year as host venue to the Open de Espana for the third time, and first since 2009, as home favourite Miguel Angel Jimenez prevailed.
“The facilities here are very good,” said the evergreen Spaniard following his victory. “You have two golf courses, chipping areas, a nice driving range, and a beautiful putting green – it’s an outstanding place.”
Probably the most photographed hole at PGA Catalunya with its elevated tee box, watery perils and striking Pyrenees backdrop, the downhill par four 13th hole on the Stadium course is clearly a favourite for co-designer Gallardo.
“It’s a nice hole,” he reflected. “It’s not long, you can hit a three wood, two or one iron. The green is so difficult, you could put a wedge on the right side of the green and you can pitch one yard from the hole or you could finish in the water. Sometimes it depends on the flight.
“The green is more or less the same shape as the mountains in the distance. That is what I like, it’s all very natural. If you come here at six in the morning in summer and you see all the shadows on the fairway. In the summer time at two o’clock there’s no shadow and it looks completely different. In the afternoon when the sun moves again the shadows go the other way.
“It is a short hole but with incredible views. You only need to use your brain a little bit; this land was born to be a golf course.”
The Tour Course
At 6,610 yards and a par of 70, the equally-beautiful Tour course is perhaps shorter but not to be underestimated by any stretch of the imagination.
Opened in 2005 and also designed by Coles and Gallardo, the second layout at PGA Catalunya perhaps presents a slightly less stern challenge than its elder, more punishing brother the Stadium, with wider fairways and less severe bunkering, so scoring always proves more favourable here.
Saying that, Spaniard Carlos Del Moral bucked the trend in romping to a five-shot victory here 12 months ago, averaging two under par on the Tour Course but five and a half shots under par on the Stadium.
Del Moral is something of an expert when it comes to performing at the Girona resort, having regained his card at PGA Catalunya four times in the past six years.
“It’s quite amazing, this place is one of a kind,” said Del Moral. “It brings me good feelings and every time I play here it feels like home.
“The greens roll so nicely and the layout suits my eye, my draws. Strategically I am very clear when I approach this course and it seems to come naturally to me.
“I am going to keep everything the same, it would be an error to change anything! The misses are tough here and the greens are quick and tricky so you have to play smart all the way around. It really has every shot in the bag.”
PGA Catalunya, and the land on which it is built, has a storied sporting history, as Gallardo remembered.
“The land only cost around €1million, it was very cheap,” said the Spaniard. “The beginning of the story is this land was bought by the RACC (the Real Automobile Club de Catalunya) to build a Formula One track.
“The design for the track was already under way when we were trying to find some land to make a golf course and somebody from the RACC club came to me and said ‘Angel we have a very big piece of land – 220 hectares!’
“I decided to come here and when we saw the site we knew we had to buy. I remember making the joke, ‘I think even Stevie Wonder could build a golf course here!’
“The Stadium course alone is 70 hectares. It is a massive piece of land and that is because when we bought it we were hoping to host The Ryder Cup (which was eventually held at Valderrama in 1997).
“I remember sitting on top of the hill – where the 13th tee is now – with fellow designers Neil (Coles) and David (Williams) and I think I fell in love. I said, ‘I think we can build something fantastic here’ – and they agreed.”
The field will this week be afforded every chance to keep their game in tip-top shape, however, with the use of a superb driving range and a vast 2,000 square metre putting green and chipping area, while four different types of grass are used on the practice greens and five bunkers – each containing a different type of sand – to replicate the traps of some of the world’s most iconic golf layouts.
The resort also features the world’s first Sergio Garcia Junior Academy, which focuses on nurturing young golfing talent for the future, and on introducing the sport to children with physical and learning difficulties through its “Golf Adapted” programme.
It’s the final countdown for Q SchoolIt’s the final countdown for Q School
After the Qualifying School Second Stage came to a dramatic end last weekend, a total of 69 have advanced to this week’s Final Stage, which returns to European Tour Destination PGA Catalunya Resort this week.
The Girona resort will host the final leg of the Qualifying School marathon for the seventh successive year, having first taken up the responsibility in 2008.
Last year saw Carlos Del Moral win the six round marathon, which is played over the Tour and Stadium courses, for a second time in his career, as he and 27 players from 15 different countries earned their stripes and became fully-fledged European Tour Members.
The Qualifying School specialist will be back in familiar surroundings and hoping to make it a hat-trick of victories this time around, after missing out on securing his card for next season.
This year’s instalment of the Qualifying School – which was first played at Foxhills and Walton Heath in 1976, four years after the birth of The European Tour – will see a minimum of 25 players advance from the ranks and take up a card on The European Tour, where a further golfing education awaits.
Many of those graduates will be hopeful of enjoying further success, as many of Europe’s leading golfers passed the Qualifying School examination, with some even going on to win Major Championships and play in The Ryder Cup. Thus, the Qualifying School has developed a reputation as one of the most exacting methods of golfing selection.
Some of that may be credited to its demanding process: a field of 156 players will play two rounds over each of the Tour and Stadium Courses. After 72 holes, the field will be cut to the leading 70 and ties, who will then play two further rounds.
The Final Stage field is made up of the 69 progressing players from the Second Round and a further 87 players who were exempt for Final Stage.
This exemption rule includes:
• 2014 European Tour players to narrowly miss out on their card for 2015 (111 to 145 place in the Race to Dubai Rankings)
• Challenge Tour players who qualified for the Grand Final but failed to snatch a top 15 place in the rankings (and the European Tour Membership that accompanies it)
• Past Qualifying School winners (e.g. David Dixon, 2011)
• European Tour event winners (post-2005)
• The 2013 Challenge Tour Rankings winner
The scene for this finale is a fitting one, as PGA Catalunya Resort was recently awarded ‘European Golf Resort’ of the year – one of many accolades that the venue, which has held the Top100GolfCourses.co.uk ‘number one course in Spain’ title since 2012, has received.
Mike Stewart, Qualifying School Director, is thrilled to be returning to PGA Catalunya Resort. He said: “PGA Catalunya Resort is an excellent facility that year-on-year has welcomed the Qualifying School back with open arms, and this season promises to be yet another thrilling conclusion to the process as some of the newest and the most experienced players battle it out for their European Tour cards.
“Knowing that the players will be greeted by some of the best practice facilities around, as well as two stunning championship layouts, will no doubt help them get through what is bound to be a long and stressful week.”
Julio Delgado, Chief Executive of PGA Catalunya Resort, said: “The European Tour Qualifying School Final Stage is an important annual fixture at PGA Catalunya Resort and we are proud to be associated with an event that has a history of introducing the next generation of European Tour stars.
“We continue to invest significantly in our two courses, which are both used for the Qualifying School Final Stage, as well as our world-class practice facilities. The Stadium Course is recognised as the number one golf course in Spain by the Top 100 Golf Courses of the World website and is a fitting venue for such a high-calibre event.”
A big venue deserves big players, and there will be some household names in action next week. The 2011 Madrid Masters winner Lee Slattery, who so narrowly missed out on retaining his card after the ISPS Handa Perth International, will fancy his chances of securing a swift return to The European Tour.
Similarly, Philip Price and Johan Edfors are other entrants who will be hoping to draw upon a wealth of European Tour experience in their efforts to return to the top tier.
Meanwhile, the likes of Andrea Pavan, who topped the Challenge Tour rankings in 2013, would have been hoping to follow in the footsteps of the likes of his compatriot Edoardo Molinari and Tommy Fleetwood, previous winners of the Challenge Tour; but a return to PGA Catalunya Resort at least presents the Italian with a shot at redemption.
For the likes of Price and Edfors, the Qualifying School is an opportunity to return to past European Tour glories and redeem themselves after recent blips in form, but for so many young hopefuls, the Final Stage is the last stepping stone to fulfilling a life-long ambition. Dreams will be made at PGA Catalunya Resort, but hearts will also be broken.
Network venues benefit from joint exhibition initiative at IGTMNetwork venues benefit from joint exhibition initiative at IGTM
European Tour Properties, the network of world-class golf venues operating under the umbrella of The European Tour, was once again prominent last week at the annual International Golf Travel Market (IGTM), this year held at the stunning Villa Erba convention centre on the banks of Lake Como in Italy.
The IGTM is a premier event for the golf travel industry, this year gathering together a record 1500 golf industry personnel including 520 exhibitors, 360 golf tour operators and 100 members of the media from across the globe. The appointments-based exhibition is recognised for bringing together an unrivalled number of industry buyers from all key golf markets across the globe.
Each year, European Tour Properties offers all its Member Venues the chance to send a delegate to IGTM, in order to take advantage of the appointments schedule, destination briefings and free networking sessions available at the industry-only event, which runs for three days.
Delegates on the European Tour Properties stand this year included member venue colleagues from PGA Catalunya Resort, voted the International Association of Golf Tour Operators’ Resort of the Year for 2015 at the event’s Gala Awards Evening; Le Golf National, host venue of The 2018 Ryder Cup; Terre Blanche Hotel Spa Golf Resort, host venue of the French Riviera Masters on The European Senior Tour; Diamond Country Club, near Vienna and host venue of the Lyoness Open on The European Tour International Schedule; Golf & Country Club Fleesensee near Berlin; and Estonian Golf & Country Club.
David MacLaren, The European Tour’s Director of Property and Venue Development, said: “IGTM continues to grow in size and significance, and has become one of the most important sales activities that we undertake for our member venues. It is a unique meeting place for buyers of golf – tour operators – and sellers of golf – venues – and as such provides a unique platform for our Destinations and Courses to promote their world class facilities. The status of our venues within the world of golf is perhaps best exemplified by the fact that two of our Destinations, Terre Blanche in 2013 and PGA Catalunya in 2015, have been awarded one of the industry’s most prestigious accolades, that of IAGTO European Golf Resort of the Year.”
Miguel Girbes, General Manager of PGA Catalunya Resort, added: “PGA Catalunya Resort enjoyed a successful and productive week on the European Tour Properties stand at IGTM. This is a very important event for us as it is a key opportunity to meet and do business with golf tour operators.
"The quality of tour operators coming to the stand, both from our current target markets and global markets we wish to develop, was outstanding. There is no doubt that our association with The European Tour brand and its network of world class golf venues creates a compelling and distinctive story that appeals to leading international tour operators and their customers, and generates significant sales opportunities for our business."
PGA Catalunya Resort voted European Golf Resort of the YearPGA Catalunya Resort voted European Golf Resort of the Year
PGA Catalunya Resort, host venue for the Qualifying School Final Stage and a member of The European Tour Destinations network, has been crowned the 2015 Golf Resort of the Year for Europe by the International Association of Golf Tour Operators (IAGTO), the global trade organisation of the golf industry.
This latest distinction was awarded at the IAGTO Awards Gala Dinner during the 17th edition of the International Golf Travel Market (IGTM), held in Lake Como, Italy.
The award is the latest in a series of high-profile accolades for the resort, which has previously been voted Spain’s number one golf course by Top100GolfCourses.co.uk for 2012-2015, awarded the Best Golf Development in Europe by European Property Awards for 2013-2014, and listed amongst the World’s Top 100 Golf Courses by Golf World.
The Golf Resort of the Year Award was voted for by IAGTO’s network of more than 500 specialist golf tour operators, from across 61 different countries.
Each operator was asked to nominate the best performing golf resort in Europe, North America and the rest of the world in the current year, based on the satisfaction ratings of their golf travelling clients.
During the Gala Dinner, IAGTO Chief Executive Peter Walton commented on how gratifying it was to see PGA Catalunya Resort gain recognition from IAGTO’s tour operator members, and be voted the 2015 Golf Resort of the Year for Europe.
Walton added that the award not only underlined how the resort had progressed to the top spot in Spain in the rankings of revered golf publications and websites, but also recognised its continued investment in cultivating its long-standing relationships with golf tour operators and their clients.
Julio Delgado, Chief Executive Officer of PGA Catalunya Resort, said: “Our mission has, and will always be, focused on delivering an outstanding and memorable golf experience, while adapting to changing market demands, world-class golf courses and facilities, as well as a sought-after real estate development. Whilst we are proud of what we have achieved, we know we are just at the beginning of a very exciting journey, and we look forward to many more milestones to come.”
London Golf Club proves fitting venue for Match Play dramaLondon Golf Club proves fitting venue for Match Play drama
Praise has poured in for London Golf Club, the jewel in the crown of the European Tour Properties network, after it successfully hosted the 50th edition of the Volvo World Match Play Championship last week.
Having staged the European Open in 2008 and 2009, it is the third time that London Golf Club has hosted a European Tour event since the joint-venture relationship between the north Kent venue and the Tour was launched six years ago.
According to the players, officials and the tens of thousands of spectators who streamed through the gates last week, despite receiving substantial rainfall in the build-up to the €2.25million tournament, London Golf Club proved itself an outstanding host venue for the event, which was won by Finland’s Mikko Ilonen.
Ilonen, who beat World Number Five Henrik Stenson 3&1 in a high quality final, said: “Everything about the London Golf Club was top notch. It would be nice if the tournament settled somewhere, so why not there? It was the perfect venue, and everything worked great last week.
“It was challenging in the beginning because of the rain, but the guys did such a great job to get the course ready and up to speed. I have to say the greens were absolutely perfect – definitely some of the best we played on all year.”
As part of its exclusive joint venture partnership with The European Tour, London Golf Club – which boasts two championship courses in the Jack Nicklaus-designed Heritage and the International, host for the Volvo World Match Play Championship – became the first ‘Destination’ in the Tour’s network of world-class venues.
David MacLaren, Director of Property and Venue Development for The European Tour, said: “The launch in 2008 of our unique joint venture partnership with London Golf Club and the establishment of the venue as the very first European Tour Destination marked the beginning of a multi-faceted and fruitful partnership, and one of which we are immensely proud.
“We strive to offer only the finest facilities and playing conditions to our professionals and venue customers, and in all these aspects London Golf Club consistently exceeds expectations.”
Located on the south-eastern reaches of the capital and within touching distance of Canary Wharf and the city, London Golf Club recently received planning permission to expand its operations to include a five star, 130-room hotel and luxurious spa development, a nine-hole European Golf Design introductory course and a European Tour Performance Institute, with a new academy and state-of-the-art driving range – all further testament to the club’s growth since the joint venture initiative was announced.
Charles Fairweather, Chairman of London Golf Club, said: “The vision for the future of London Golf Club is a bold one, with a five star hotel, new academy golf course and the UK’s first ever European Tour Performance Institute. Future plans include additional sporting pursuits of excellence which will further enhance the club’s reputation as one of the country’s leading sports and leisure destinations, situated just 17 miles from the centre of London. Our unique joint venture partnership with The European Tour enhances these ambitious plans and our position as a leading golf destination.”
Austen Gravestock, Chief Executive of London Golf Club, said: “As the first ever European Tour Destination and host to three Senior Tour Tournaments, two European Opens and now the Volvo World Match Play Championship, London Golf Club is a brand, like our partners, that is synonymous with quality golf.
“Despite the best efforts of mother nature last week, we were still able to show the golfing world, and more importantly a stellar field of 16 world-class players, just why our courses are renowned throughout the world for their condition.”
George O’Grady, Chief Executive of The European Tour, said: “We would like to commend Charles Fairweather and the venue team, led by Austen Gravestock and Peter Todd, who have overseen London Golf Club’s development into one of the country’s leading facilities. With the plans they now have in place, the club’s future looks very bright indeed.
“The joint venture partnership has been extremely beneficial for both London Golf Club and The European Tour, and we were delighted that our Members were so complimentary about the venue during the Volvo World Match Play Championship. It was a tremendous tournament, thanks in no small part to the quality of the course and the hard work and determination of the club’s staff. We should congratulate everyone at the club for the contribution they made to the event.”
McGinley unveils revamped North CourseMcGinley unveils revamped North Course
A week after leading his team to a magnificent 16½-11½ win against America in The 2014 Ryder Cup, Europe’s victorious captain Paul McGinley was on hand to open his latest design project, the redeveloped North Course at the prestigious Quinta do Lago resort, part of The European Tour Properties portfolio.
The popular Irishman has redesigned the layout in close collaboration with renowned American architect Beau Welling. The €9.6m redevelopment is part of the €29m investment programme that has already been undertaken by Quinta do Lago since 2009, with a further €21m earmarked for improving its facilities over the next three years.
The redesign sees McGinley strengthen his association with a resort which he has often frequented over the past 20 years. In 2011, the Irishman opened his Paul McGinley Golf Academy, before launching a new state-of-the-art TaylorMade Fitting Centre last year.
McGinley said: “This has been a very exciting project to be involved in, and Beau and I are very proud of what we have created.
“I’ve been coming to Quinta do Lago with my family for many years now, and it keeps getting better and better. The new design will test golfers in many different ways, and I believe this is a great addition.”
The new layout has been built to the highest specifications, with the emphasis firmly on precision and strategy. Whilst many modern-day venues tend to focus on length, Welling and McGinley were keen to design a course where accuracy and course management are the key factors.
The renovation has also allowed Quinta do Lago to further reduce the impact on the environment by using recycled water and solar energy to maintain the course. The reduction of grassed areas will lessen the impact on the environment, and the new design will include the creation of some new animal and plant habitats.
Set amongst 2,000 acres of the picturesque Ria Formosa Natural Park, Quinta do Lago has become one of the most highly-regarded golf and residential developments in the Algarve since it opened in 1972.
Located just 15 minutes from Faro airport, the resort offers residents and guests an unparalleled location benefiting from a year-round temperate climate, a variety of lifestyle pursuits and a strong sense of community.