Spain’s Costa Dorada and the PGAs of Europe have laid the foundation of a successful, open-ended and mutually-beneficial collaboration following the staging of the recent Fourball Championship and the forthcoming Coaches Circle and Heads of Training Summit.
So delighted were the Tarragona Tourist Board and the Lumine Golf and Beach Resort at the staging of the PGAs of Europe Fourball Championship, with its field of 58 pairs of PGA professionals from far and wide, and their high-quality play, that the Spanish hosts are looking forward positively to 2013 and beyond.
The intention is to use their two fine courses for a 2013 Fourball Championship by attracting a field up to 120 pairs for the better-ball competition that is so popular with the pros and such an integral part of Ryder Cup competition.
Similarly, the visiting players and officials were enchanted by all that the region can offer, with its superb golf courses, ideal location and tourist attractions and they, too, are more than happy to look ahead to more such occasions in the future.
Calle Carlsson, general manager the Lumine Golf and Beach Club said: “This event was arranged at relatively short notice so we’re delighted with the number of entries. We’re looking to get 120 pairs next year for our two very different but challenging courses.”
Carlsson’s upbeat reaction was endorsed by Octavi Bono, general manager Patronat de Turisme, Costa Dorada who said: “The event was a great success and we want to build on it to help promote our region as a golfing destination. I’m hopeful we’ll be able to stage it again for the next two years at least.”
With the first joint-initiative completed to the satisfaction of all concerned the PGAs of Europe are now returning to the Lumine Golf and Beach Club (March 12-16) for the Coaches Circle and Heads of Training Conference. This package of events could be the start of a lengthy and fruitful relationship as Ian Randell, the PGAs of Europe’s chief executive confirmed.
“Everything has been first class, especially the facility and the hospitality, “he said.” We hope that this is the start of a long partnership between the PGAs of Europe, the Costa Dorada Region and the Lumine Golf and Beach Club.,” he said.
The tournament was won by England’s Matt McGuire and Craig Swinburn, over the resort’s Greg Norman-designed Lakes course.
Having established a four-stroke advantage after the first two rounds the pair were in no mood to squander their hard work in the third. So, after posting a two round total of 16-under-par, consolidation and prudence were on the menu.
Gone was the scorching early pace to be replaced by a more conservative four-under-par 67, more than enough for the English duo to keep their nearest challengers at bay.
At the close, their advantage had been trimmed to three as a result of Michael Jones and Gary Houston posting a second successive round of 65 to finish second on 17-under, two strokes ahead of a five pairs who tied for third place.
The quintet comprised: Matthew Dearden of Wales and France’s Paul Brown; Grant Hamerton and David Smith of England; Italian pair Alessandro Napoleoni and Emanuele Canonica; and previous winners Simon Edwards of Wales and England’s David Shacklady. Edwards and Shacklady won the tournament in 2004, the last time it was contested before being revived in 2011.
“Playing a tournament like this in such good conditions a couple of months before the season starts at home is great preparation,” said Swinburn. “The course was also in brilliant condition and the hospitality superb so, hopefully, more pairs will enter next year. We certainly intend to defend our trophy.”
On the eve of the Fourball Championship being staged there for the first time, the surrounding Costa Dorada region of Spain had been officially unveiled and acclaimed as ‘a new destination for golf tourism.’
The proclamation of the location as a ‘must visit’ destination for golfers from far and wide, amateur and professional, was made by the Tourist Board of the Tarragona provincial government as they also announced the promotional collaboration with the PGAs of Europe.
The press conference was staged to emphasise the important role that golf will play in the development of tourism to the region and the significant contribution that the PGAs of Europe will make in the coming years as a promotional and marketing aid with the necessary experience and expertise.
The occasion took place at the Provincial Council Palace Tarragona, and was attended by Josep Poblet, President of the Provincial Council Tarragona, Ian Randell, Chief Executive PGAs of Europe, Lluís Rullán, President of Mediterranea Lumine Beach & Golf Community and Xavier Graset, alderman of Tourism at Vila-Seca.
Each of these dignitaries highlighted the outstanding quality of the golfing facilities in the area that features seven golf courses, three in Lumine (a total of 45 holes), one in Bonmont, one in Aiguesverds, Costa Dorada and another one in La Graiera.
Josep Poblet, underlined the quality of this ‘new benchmark’ for Costa Dorada provided by the PGAs of Europe and added that it is ‘closely linked to the recognition and prestige that this sport bring’ for tourism’.
Luis Rullán, stressed that ‘not all efforts are focused on attracting foreign tourists, as the sport is being adopted more and more by local residents. ‘About 50% of the clients at Lumine Golf are residents of the province, a very positive balance for a sport that is growing in Tarragona’, he said.
Interviews from the event can be found HERE.