Valderrama Shines Global Spotlight on “Costa del Golf”
The resurgence of tourism on the Costa del Sol in 2016 is having a particularly positive effect in one of the area’s key sectors. Golf courses throughout the Coast – which includes Málaga province and the Mediterranean part of the Cádiz coastline – are also reporting increased visitor numbers this year, as travelling golfers from northern Europe rein back their recent wanderlust for other countries such as Turkey and opt for the safer and more established “Costa del Golf”.
With more than 70 golf courses from Nerja in the east to Sotogrande in the west, the Costa del Sol is recognised as the premier golf destination in continental Europe, and the international flag-bearer is Royal Valderrama Club.
Earlier this year Royal Valderrama – host of the 1997 Ryder Cup, 16 Volvo Masters from 1988 to 2008 and two World Golf Championships (1999, won by Tiger Woods, and 2000) – hosted its first Spanish Open. The irrepressible Andrew “Beef” Johnston broke through for his debut European Tour title and has gone on to become a global media sensation. Now it has been announced that the Tour will return to the famous club next year (19-22 October) for the resurrected Andalucía Valderrama Masters.
The event was first held in 2010, when Graeme McDowell won four months after securing his first major championship title in the US Open, and Sergio García succeeded him in 2011, in the process becoming the first Spanish player to win a Tour event at Valderrama. García will also be co-host of next year’s event, through his charity foundation.
With the Spanish Open not expected to attract sponsorship next year, the Andalucía Valderrama Masters will probably be the only men’s Tour event in Spain. It is also likely to attract a strong field, being the final tournament in Europe before the global circuit concludes its season with a series of events in China, Turkey, South Africa and Dubai.
The 2017 event was officially presented by the regional minister for tourism and sport, Francisco Javier Fernández, during a press conference at Royal Valderrama yesterday. Announcing plans to extend the agreement for five years, Fernández said the government’s support for the tournament was a key part of its promotional strategy to showcase “the excellence of Andalucía’s golf courses” by holding major international events in the region.
The minister also noted that Andalucía had recently been named “European Golf Destination of the Year” by the global golf tourism industry organisation IAGTO (International Association of Golf Tour Operators) during the International Golf Travel Market (IGTM) held in Mallorca.
According to Fernández, 480,000 tourists travelled to Andalucía last year to play golf. A significant proportion of these visitors were based on the Costa del Sol, where more than half the region’s courses are located and the associated real estate developments are a hugely attractive lure to encourage many to buy a holiday home near a golf course.
Or perhaps even a frontline golf plot to build their own dream villa… Like the two featured here in Sotogrande Alto, close to Valderrama, priced at €1,270,000 and €550,000, respectively, and also representing an excellent investment opportunity.
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