“We take great pride in making history”

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir August 17, 2023 14:04
Next month will see the 2023 Solheim Cup take place between Europe and the USA at Finca Cortesín in Spain. Here, we speak to the resort’s general manager, Francisco de Lancastre, about how the preparations for the event are going.

Hello Francisco. Tell us about how the resort’s preparations for hosting the Solheim Cup this September are going?

The resort is eagerly awaiting the arrival of the Solheim Cup this September, and we are fully prepared to provide an exceptional experience for all participants and guests. With unwavering dedication, all business areas of the resort have wholeheartedly committed themselves to showcasing our facility in the most splendid manner. We cannot wait for September to arrive, as it will be a remarkable opportunity to shine a light on our resort and create unforgettable memories for everyone involved.

What do you think it will mean to host this prestigious event?

Hosting this prestigious event holds tremendous significance for us on multiple fronts. Firstly, it is an immense honour to be chosen as the host venue for such a prestigious event in world golf.

Secondly, as the first host in Spain, we take great pride in making history in Spanish golf and showcasing our country’s passion for the sport.

Moreover, hosting the event serves as a testament to the credibility of the exceptional product we offer, affirming the high standards we maintain across our golf course, hotel and real estate. This opportunity allows us to not only elevate our reputation but also create an unforgettable experience that will be remembered by players, spectators and the global golfing community alike.

How is the resort trying to actively recruit and encourage the participation of more women as golfers?

At the resort, we have been wholeheartedly committed to women’s golf for several years, thanks to the unwavering support of our ownership. We have actively sponsored and supported Spanish female golfers, particularly during their transition from amateur to professional golf. We are proud to have three talented professional golfers such as Noemi Jimenez, Nuria Iturrioz and Ana Pelaez associated with our resort. By nurturing and empowering these remarkable athletes, we aim to inspire more women to participate in golf, creating a welcoming and inclusive environment that encourages female golfers to excel and thrive.

The resort also became a signatory of The R&A’s Women in Golf Charter in September 2022 to celebrate one year to go until the Solheim Cup. As part of the charter, we have committed to hosting golf clinics and creating a number of entry-level internships across our golf operations and agronomy departments.

Finca Cortesin is renowned as one of Europe’s most sustainable venues. Please can you tell us what measures have been brought in across the entire resort?

Sustainability is a core value at Finca Cortesin, and we have implemented numerous measures across the entire resort to minimise our environmental impact. From day one, we have been dedicated to using 100 percent recycled water for irrigation, ensuring efficient water management. Additionally, our commitment to sustainability is evident in our choice of 100 percent warm season grasses, as we transitioned our greens to Bermuda MiniVerde grass, which requires less water and maintenance.

Ladies European Tour 2022. The Solheim Cup Vice Captains announcement, FInca Cortesin. Spain. August 15 2022. 2023 Solheim Cup Captain Suzann Pettersen with the trophy. Credit: Tristan Jones/LET

Our efforts have been recognised through certifications such as GEO, ISO 14001, and ACOSOL, further acknowledging our commitment to sustainability. Furthermore, we take pride in producing our own honey, contributing to local biodiversity and providing a delightful experience for our guests. These are just a few examples of the many sustainable initiatives we have implemented at Finca Cortesin, showcasing our dedication to being one of Europe’s most sustainable venues.

How has the golf industry in Spain changed over the last few years? What is it like today? Has the pandemic changed participation and memberships, both domestic and foreign?

The golf industry in Spain has undergone significant changes in recent years, and today it is thriving. Like many golf markets worldwide, the pandemic acted as a catalyst for growth across all aspects of the business. At our resort, we have witnessed an increase in memberships, green fee play, and usage of our academy, and this trend is reflected throughout Spain, particularly in Andalucía, which is the country’s main golf market.

Over the past five to 10 years, the golf industry in Spain has experienced positive development. There has been a notable investment in enhancing the quality of the golf product, focusing on providing an exceptional customer experience and improving agronomy practices. Furthermore, the industry has shown a strong commitment to sustainability efforts, promoting responsible practices. These investments are now yielding the expected returns, with the golf industry in Spain flourishing and delivering outstanding experiences for both domestic and foreign players.

The pandemic has undoubtedly influenced participation and memberships, driving an increased interest in golf. As people sought outdoor activities and socially-distanced sports, golf became a popular choice. This surge in demand has contributed to the growth of the golf industry in Spain, creating opportunities for players of all levels to enjoy the sport and experience the remarkable golfing destinations the country has to offer.

 

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir August 17, 2023 14:04
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