Costa Navarino and Monte Rei celebrate back-to-back WLG award successes

The stunning Greek resort of Costa Navarino, in the Peloponnese, has been honoured at the prestigious World of Leading Golf (WLG) awards for the third successive year.

WLG, an organisation representing many of the most renowned golf clubs and resorts in 17 countries, has held an award ceremony only for the past three years – and Costa Navarino is the only resort to have collected a ‘gong’ at each of the ceremonies.

In the first year it was for ‘best newcomer’; last year it was for ‘best service’; and this year, at a ceremony at Golf Son Gual, in Mallorca, it took the title for ‘best overall impression’.

The ‘environmentally responsible’ resort, in Messinia, comprises a number of distinct and complementary sites featuring five-star hotels, residences, spas and leisure facilities, including two stunning championship golf courses: the Dunes and the Bay.

But it wasn’t the only destination to get the warm familiar glow of award success, for Monte Rei Golf & Country Club, in the Eastern Algarve, took the top award for the second successive occasion. Last year it was titled ‘best member’ – this year the title was renamed ‘best overall venue’, but the outcome was the same.

Monte Rei features a championship Jack Nicklaus signature course in more than 1,000 acres of countryside, and was voted Portugal’s number one in the 2016 Golf Digest ‘best courses’ ranking.

Club de Golf Alcanada – the only course in Mallorca adjacent to the sea – received the award for ‘best service’, with particular emphasis being placed on the friendliness, competence and up-selling ability of its employees.

Its Robert Trent Jones Jnr course opened in 2003 and blends naturally into the typical Mallorcan terrain, while offering magnificent mountain and sea views, amid mixture of pine and olive groves. In addition, the club boasts a centuries-old Mallorca clubhouse with a sun-baked terrace.

For golfing gourmands, it did not come as too much of a shock to learn that the award for ‘best culinary offering’ went to Golf Club Beuerberg, in Eurasburg, Germany.

Beuerberg, located 20 miles south of Munich, opened in 1982 and is a former host venue of the European Ladies Open. The restaurant, under the experienced auspices of Urs Zondler, who has been in charge of the kitchen since it opened, is renowned not just for the quality and variety of food, but also the ambience and service.

Abu Dhabi’s Yas Links joined WLG only in early 2016, yet it created such an impression that it was awarded the title of ‘best course condition’.

Sprawled out along almost two miles of sandy Arabian Gulf coast, the Kyle Phillips’ design was the first links course in the Middle East. Measuring 7,414 yards off the tips, Yas Links took more than three years to construct and has eight holes abutting the coastline itself. It is ranked number one in the Middle East and #46 in the world by Golf Digest; and it sits at #62 in the world ranking with Platinum Clubs of the World.

The three-time Volvo World Match Play venue, Finca Cortesin – located just inland from the Malaga coast – took the honour of ‘best newcomer’, which seems to be a platform for future glories.

Its 6,802m, par-72 championship course opened in 2007 and is ranked as one of Spain’s best. Designed by Cabell B Robinson, it makes the most of its natural Mediterranean landscape and includes 20 varieties of flora and a forest. It also incorporates a Jack Nicklaus Academy and offers a golf-club valet and cleaning service, state-of-the-art practice facilities, buggies with the latest GPS technology, and an on-course buggy bar for ice-cold drinks.

Claus Feldt, WLG’s chief executive, said: “Once again we were able to reward the crème de la crème of WLG members. The standard of competition for all of these awards is probably the highest anywhere given that all WLG members have to attain amazingly high levels anyway; so to emerge victorious in any category is a real badge of honour for golf resorts.

“It makes you really proud to work in an industry where so many people take such immense pride in what they offer to their clientele. We should also give our thanks to everybody who came along to enjoy the evening’s activities and to Andreas Pamer and his team at Son Gual for the use of their stunning venue and their excellent hospitality.”

Alcanada’s director of golf, Kristoff Both, added: “It was a really memorable and enjoyable evening; a great opportunity to meet with like-minded people, and to exchange views and ideas in a very convivial atmosphere. To receive this prestigious award alongside so many other fantastic clubs is a huge honour for us.”

WLG and its member clubs are passionately committed to preserve golf culture, but not only by heeding to such things as rules, dress code and etiquette – they commit to the very highest of quality standards concerning the design and caretaking of golf courses and services, as well as the levels of ambiance and gastronomy.

(External source)

Finca Cortesin reveals 2017 golfing news at International Golf Travel Market

Top Spanish golf resort Finca Cortesin topped off a successful 2016 at the International Golf Travel Market (IGTM) in Mallorca this month with their news for the season ahead.

Director of Golf, Francisco de Lancastre said: “IGTM was particularly busy for us this year and we had a full diary every day of the event. We have firm ambitions to be Europe’s top golfing experience and to this end have a lot of improvements going on that we wanted to share with partners old and new. IGTM was the perfect platform for this.”

Finca Cortesin has unveiled new and improved practice facilities at their Golf Club with new tee line and range furniture, following a substantial renovation. The Jack Nicklaus Academy has benefited from new flightscope technology and guests will also enjoy the arrival of a new club car fleet of buggies, all with premium seats and the latest GPS technology.

With on-going 2016 improvement plans already underway, the resort also plans to increase their gap in between tee times in March 2017 from 12 minutes to 15 minutes, making the experience more seamless for guests. The renovation of the entire golf course maintenance machinery with Toro Company will also be completed by Summer 2017.

Francisco de Lancastre continues: “Looking ahead to 2017 we also plan to renovate our greens from a cool season grass to a warm season grass. This will allow us to improve the quality of our greens throughout the year by adopting a Bermuda species which has important environmental benefits – something we feel very passionate about here at Finca Cortesin.”

Finca Cortesin is a five star boutique hotel in the southern Spanish province of Andalusia. Alongside its 6,802 meter Championship golf course and a Jack Nicklaus Golfing Academy, the hotel has Spain’s only snow cave and a Michelin starred restaurant Kabuki Raw. The hotel has developed a reputation as one of Spain’s top golfing destinations with impeccable facilities and wonderful service.

(External source)

About Finca Cortesin
Finca Cortesin is an independent luxury development located close to Sotogrande in Spain. Overlooking the Mediterranean Sea to one side and the tranquil hills of Casares to the other, Finca Cortesin was designed in the style of a traditional Spanish ‘finca’ (rural estate). The Andalusian retreat features an elegant 67-suite hotel, an 18-hole golf course with a state of the art Jack Nicklaus Academy, a 6,000sqm beach club and a top spa featuring Spain’s only snow cave with bespoke treatments by French beauty brand Boilogique Recherche. The hotel offers four restaurants including El Jardin de Lutz serving authentic Spanish cuisine, and signature Japanese restaurant Kabuki Raw. The development also features exclusive villas available for purchase or rental.

Spontaneous Andalusian Golf Break

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What to do when you realise you have so many holidays left for the year? No question, you find some great ideas where to spend them. As summer started to turn ugly in Central Europe we decided to head to South Spain, enjoy the sun, the culture, the history, the tapas, the vino, the flamenco, the hospitality, the picturesque ancient towns and the golf. And no doubt – they have plenty of all.

Starting from Malaga, we had on our itenerary penciled in for Nerja, Granada, Cordoba, Sevilla, Jerez, Cadiz, Sancti Petri, Vejer de la Frontera, Gibraltar, Ronda and Marbella. Basically every single corner of Andalusia.

Everybody knows that golfing is easy in South Spain as they have plenty of courses, both at the Costa de la Luz or the Costa del Sol (aka Costa del Golf). The problem is even to decide which one to play as due to the sheer amount of possibilities you are seriously overwhelmed and need either expert advice or a lot of reading. I did both and had an initial list of courses to take into account.

Pretty early in the process I ruled out three courses, not because I changed my mind but because I figured I won’t spend that much money on golf. Don’t get me wrong, I’d absolutely love to play these but for somebody who has to work hard for his lifestyle, the requested green fees are totally out of this world:

  • Real Club Valderrama (Best course in Continental Europe since 1988), Robert Trent Jones design
  • Real Club de Golf Sotogrande, Robert Trent Jones design
  • Finca Cortesin Golf Resort, Cabell Robinson design

And also, as we planned a road trip through all of Andalusia we didn’t want to spend too much time in the Sotogrande region anyway – because there are much nicer places to see and visit.

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So we decided to change plans and put down these four courses as the ones to play:

  • Real Club de Golf Sevilla, José Maria Olazábal design
  • Montecastillo Golf Club, Jerez, Jack Nicklaus design
  • Novo Sancti Petri Golf, Severiano Ballesteros design
  • Real Club de Golf Guadalmina, Marbella, Javier Arana design

One thing I can tell you now as we already arrived back home, we didn’t fully make it through this list unfortunately. But the other thing I’d like to report; golfing in the south of Spain is pretty amazing! And the whole region of Andalusia is so rich in culture, history and lifestyle that golf became a fairly peripheral matter quickly.

Do yourself a favour, book a trip and find out for yourself what an amazing piece of land this is.

Keep checking back at golficiency.com for the course reviews of the Andalusia trip.

Photo credits: Westin La Quinta Resort, Marbella