Much has already been written about the opportunity for Spain and in particular for the Costa del Sol to host an event of worldwide repercussion such as the Solheim Cup. It is therefore not necessary to gloss in this column the importance that a golf event of such magnitude has reached since its first edition in 1992 after the tireless efforts of an already historic figure like Karstein Solheim, born in Norway, of American nationality, designer of golf clubs and businessman, who was inducted into the “World Hall of Fame” in 2001 in the category of “Lifetime Achievement”.
In my opinion, Spanish golf achieves a fundamental objective for its growth in the short and medium term, and that is none other than promoting it from the barn where it has the most potential for progression, women’s golf.
Although other countries in our environment such as Germany, Sweden, Holland or France are those with the highest absolute numbers of female registered players -145,000 on average-, and others such as Austria, Switzerland and Estonia (also Germany) are those with the highest percentages of female players over the total number of players -around 36% on average-, Spain still has an exciting path ahead, since our number of female registered players is around 64,000, which would represent 27% of the total.
We cannot also forget that the increase in golf among the female golfers would have a leverage effect on younger players, whose number -without a doubt- should be increased, and this despite the fact that Spain is well above the European average – 12% vs. 8%- in the records of the younger categories.
The second great objective that the Solheim Cup should see fulfilled with respect to the golf sector in Spain is the confirmation that the industry around the golf courses and the rest of the subsectors and facilities that complement it, either in its more social model or in tourism, whose impact on local and national economies is much more evident, it is essential for our country.
Not infrequently we have read – from some politicians – that the tourism industry has little added value, and that Spain needs a transformation of its production model.
I can not disagree more.
Although it is true that the industrialization of many areas of Spain would be a very necessary objective, I do not see why this process should not be compatible with the tourism sector, as Malaga is successfully carrying out.
In these times of crisis and uncertainty, it is essential to attract foreign investment, and for this, we, the private sector, must continue to invest in training, digitization, languages, greater service and, of course, transparency, without forgetting the implementation or creation of Quality Certificates. and Tourist Security like some already existing international ones.
There is enormous added value in all of this.
I also understand that reinvestment in assets is fundamental, in this sense the improvement of buildings and the establishment of environmental protection measures related to water and energy consumption or the reduction and improvement of waste treatment, and all those related to the air conditioning of the facilities will have a very positive effect on the tourism industry. For a week we are going to be a showcase to the world, and the opportunity offered by the Solheim Cup cannot be missed.
As for the public initiative, perfecting the connectivity of data networks, improving air and rail connections in the main cities of Andalusia, and that airports expand their spaces to avoid crowds and queues, are essential needs. The possibility of supporting from the administration the implementation of smaller and more efficient airport facilities for the arrival of commercial and especially private aviation would also mean a before and after for the Spanish Mediterranean coast.
Therefore, beyond pointing out the dimension and consequences that the Solheim Cup should have for everyone, I can only publicly thank each and every one of those who have worked tirelessly to bring its celebration to Finca Cortesín.
CEO, Zagaleta Group