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The Danny Willett Effect… and Gareth Bale

It is the ideal marriage. No, not Danny Willett and Gareth Bale (more of them later). But rather… on the one hand, Europe’s premier golf destination and on the other, a huge pool of golfers who like to travel and be able to play any time of the year in the sun. We are talking about the Costa del Sol (of course) and, in this case, British aficionados – although they are not the only north European nationalities taking advantage of the Coast’s incomparable golfing amenities and climate. A study by the European Tour for the final quarter of 2015 found that 11 million people in the UK were actively engaged in the sport, and this figure is likely to rise following Danny Willet’s surprise success in the first Grand Slam event of the year, the US Masters, earlier this month. [caption id="attachment_4315" align="alignright" width="150"] García & Johnston (Photo: RC Valderrama)[/caption] [caption id="attachment_4314" align="alignright" width="150"] Gareth Bale in Sotogrande (Photo: RC Valderrama)[/caption] That in turn will lead to more UK golfers travelling to play the sport, especially during the colder and wetter months when many courses back home are closed or unplayable, and even buying second or holiday properties in such golfing paradises as the Costa del Sol. With its superb year-round climate, 70 golf courses in a 100-kilometre stretch from east of Málaga city to Sotogrande, and excellent flight and other transport communications, the Coast is universally considered Europe’s leading golfing haven. It was also back in the international limelight one week after Willett’s victory at Augusta, with the prestigious Spanish Open golf championship being held at continental Europe’s number one course, Valderrama. Another rather less-known Englishman, Andrew Johnston, affectionately known as “Beef” to his friends and colleagues and sporting a fashionable hipster beard, emerged from four days of daunting golf at the fiercely challenging course to win his first European Tour event and make his own contribution to showcasing the attractions of the “Costa del Golf” to potential visitors (and frontline golf property buyers) from the UK. With complete respect, however, for Johnston’s outstanding performance against a solid field of Tour pros, including dual Grand Slam winner Martin Kaymer, the unexpected star of the show (arguably) on the final day – and main purveyor of The Danny Willett Effect” among his compatriots – was footballer Gareth Bale. The Real Madrid and Wales winger was reported to have played a round at Finca Cortesín (in Casares municipality) in the morning, then created a media frenzy at Valderrama while watching Sergio García as he made a strong run for the title (he eventually finished third), and later played another round that afternoon at nearby La Reserva de Sotogrande. The following day, La Reserva took over from Valderrama as the main centre of press attention, when Spanish Olympics golf team captain Manuel Piñero was joined by fellow veteran star José María Cañizares, Sergio García and José María Olazábal, together with the captains of the teams of Belgium (Philippe Relecom) Portugal (Joao Coutinho), Italy (Gianlua Crespi) and Denmark (Claus Moelholm), to highlight the “crucial” importance of Olympic golf. According to 2013 Ryder Cup captain Olazábal, “an historic turning point that will enable us to reach new generations of golfers and countries which are unthinkable right now”. We stay in this highly coveted area for our featured home this week, a four-bedroom luxury apartment conveniently located opposite Valderrama and priced at an excellent €995,000. Exceptional Homes We appreciate your taking the time to read about this outstanding property, but perhaps it is not exactly right for you? If not, we invite you to have a look at our other special selections for: La Zagaleta, Luxury Villas, Golf Properties, Seafront Properties, Apartments and Special Offers. Click on the category of your choice and follow the link. Also please feel free to roam around our website: www.villamarbellanow.com