HESPERIA ACQUIRES MAJORITY STAKE IN LA MANGA CLUB

Hesperia Investment Group (GIHSA), headed by its president Jose Antonio Castro Sousa, has reached an agreement with Arum Group to acquire a majority stake of the luxury resort La Manga Club, with a total area comprising of 560 hectares with a privileged location in front of the Mar Menor and Mediterranean seas and adjacent to the nature reserve of Calblanque.

La Manga Club is a tourism and residential resort with a wide range of sports facilities which until recently belonged to Inmogolf, a company linked to Arum Group. Additionally, GIHSA will invest in the improvement of the complex in order to create the best leisure and sports resort in southern Europe.

Arum Group will continue to run the real estate business in La Manga Club through its subsidiary Inmogolf, with a great development potential due to the touristic appeal of its excellent location. Jesús Abellán, CEO of Arum Group, said: “Hesperia is the optimal partner to continue with this expansion project as this deal strengthens not only the resort’s further extension but also the development of the whole area, with a huge potential for residential tourism growth.”

A strategic deal for GIHSA

Since its opening in 1972, La Manga Club has gone through different development stages until becoming one of the most renowned leisure and sports resorts in Southern Europe. With this strategic deal GIHSA boosts its business activity in the premium resort business arena and brings its expansion plan a step further after initiating its new independent business plan at the end of last year.

Jordi Ferrer, CEO of GIHSA said: “This operation perfectly matches our growth strategy in the hotel market with quality assets that allow us to keep consolidating as a reference in the Spanish hotel industry and, in particular, this acquisition will allow us to create the best resort in South Europe.”

La Manga Club adds to Hesperia’s property and asset management portfolio comprising of more than 5,000 rooms owned, operated and managed by Hesperia; 29 hotels with six leisure resorts located in the Balearic Islands, Peninsula and Canary Islands, as well as 23 urban hotels situated in Spain’s main cities.

The resort becomes part of Hesperia Hotels & Resorts’ catalogue of leisure and sports facilities, which so far was focused on the Canary and Balearic Islands where it owns four resorts. Three of them are included in the strategic alliance with Apple Leisure Group (ALG). In this sense, GIHSA is considering the option of closing a commercial deal with an international operator for some of the hotels at La Manga Club. Ferrer added: “Our strategy consists in always looking for the best alternative for each hotel.”

La Manga Club’s five-star Hotel Príncipe Felipe comprises of 192 rooms with magnificent views over the North and South golf courses, as well as an outdoor pool, restaurants, bars and several meeting, conference and events rooms.

Aside from the hotel, there are 200 four-star apartments on the resort (Las Lomas Village) especially designed for families and sports teams, with common areas that include two pools as well as leisure zones and restaurants. Within Las Lomas Village is a 2,000sqm Wellness Centre with 13 treatment rooms, saunas, steam rooms, Jacuzzis, a High Performance Sports Centre, gym and a 25-metre indoor pool.

On the resort there is a golf academy, pitch and putt facility, a junior club and play area and a wide range of bars and restaurants which the guests of the Hotel Príncipe Felipe, Las Lomas Village and resort owners and residents all have access to, without forgetting the beautiful cove called La Cala on the Mediterranean side of the resort.

LEADBETTER UNIVERSITY OFFERS NEW LEARNING OPPORTUNITY FOR GOLF COACHES

Ambitious golf coaches can now raise their skills to a higher level thanks to David Leadbetter’s world-class tuition methods.

The Leadbetter University is a new online learning platform for golf professionals to extend their depth of knowledge and understanding directly from industry-leading experts through a combination of online courses, livestream and in-person coaching seminars.

Leadbetter University was founded by world-renowned coach David Leadbetter, who has played a pivotal role in 26 Major victories and supported seven players to become the world number one. Equally impressive is Leadbetter’s record of training and developing hundreds of world-class golf instructors, including Gary Gilchrist, Denis Pugh and Chris Como - all having trained through the Leadbetter Golf Academy system. 

The latest online learning techniques will be used to deliver education modules covering every aspect of golf instruction from swing techniques, biomechanics, mental training as well as a special focus on youth-specific development. Leadbetter was keen to ensure a broad range of information was available from multiple sources so that coaches can develop their own style of teaching.

The courses have been written specifically for Leadbetter University by a number of industry-leading experts including European Tour biomechanist Jean Jacques Rivet, performance expert Dr Jim Loehr, The Grey Institute, Dr Martin Toms. The courses are all interactive including videos, activities, tasks and challenges.

There will also be occasional tutorial cameos from some of Leadbetter’s extensive list of Tour players, to pass on some of their wisdom which has taken them to the heights of the sport. The first of which comes from Ernie Els through his foundation Els4Autism, who educate coaches on how teach children with learning difficulties.

The platform launches with five courses but 20 will be available within the coming months and all Leadbetter University courses have been approved by the PGA, meaning members will receive MSR credits for their study.

Leadbetter said: “The Leadbetter University is a fantastic opportunity for coaches to develop their knowledge. We have always believed in a holistic approach to coaching and this brings everything together in one place. We want coaches to continue honing their skills by studying from the experts – people I have relied on in my career to deliver the very highest level of instruction.  

“By launching Leadbetter University now, I hope to encourage and help the next generation of budding golf coaches to become even better at what they do. I know the key to growing the game is to make it easier for people to learn, so it’s paramount we give golf coaches the best level of training and support, especially in emerging golf markets.”

Ben Riches, chief executive at Leadbetter Golf Academy, said: “David Leadbetter has given so much to the game over the years, and Leadbetter University continues that tradition. We wanted to provide golf coaches the world over with access to learn and develop their skills across every aspect of the game. Leadbetter University extends beyond David and the Leadbetter network and our goal is to aggregate the best knowledge in the game into a single platform so that the next generation of golf coaches feel inspired and can learn from the best.”

This is the first initiative to launch following Leadbetter’s acquisition by the Golfzon group in 2018. The goal is to combine Golfzon’s digital technology and Leadbetter’s coaching knowledge to improve how golf is taught and played around the world.

Some courses will be made available for free. Paid courses start from $199. Pre-enrolment for Leadbetter University courses is now open for start date of September 6, 2019. For more information or to enrol, visit: https://university.leadbetter.com

FIRST-CLASS SLALEY HALL READY TO DELIVER THE MAIL

More than 120,000 golfers had their sights set on Slaley Hall, in Northumberland, when they signed up for the ever-popular Daily Mail Foursomes in February – and, with just two rounds left to complete, a place in the last 16 is beckoning.

The magnificent four-star hotel, which is part of the QHotels group, will host the final four rounds of the event – last 16, quarter-finals, semi-finals and grand final – between October 6 and 8.

The Daily Mail Foursomes is the oldest national sponsored event in amateur golf and celebrates its 55th anniversary, this year. Since its launch some 5.5 million golfers have taken part in the club qualifying competitions and more than 100,000 play annually in the national inter-club knock-out rounds.

Both of last year’s competition winners have already been defeated on the road to Slaley Hall: women’s champions Forest of Arden lost 4&3 to Bloxwich, in round three, while the 2018 men’s winners, Cosby, crashed out in the sixth round, defeated 3&2 by Ramsey (Cambs).

Tournament organiser Hamish Webb said: “The standard of competition in this year’s event is as high as ever – which is illustrated by the fact both reigning champions have been eliminated already. We’re getting to the sharp end of business now, with the final inter-club qualifying round beginning on August 16. By the second week of September we will know the names of the 32 pairs heading to Slaley Hall – and it promises to be a fabulous experience.”

Jonny Mould, Slaley Hall’s head of golf, added: “Everybody here at Slaley Hall is really looking forward to hosting the finals of the Daily Mail Foursomes. Amateur club-golfer events do not come any bigger or more prestigious than this and we can promise two courses in tip-top condition, traditional northern hospitality and an award-winning resort.”

Managed by Almarose, one of the UK’s leading independent hotel management companies, Slaley Hall was voted ‘best golf hotel/resort in the north of England’ for the fifth successive year in the 2019 Today’s Golfer Travel Awards.

It is set in 1,000 acres of Northumberland moorland and forest. It is a magnificent four-star hotel in an elegant Edwardian mansion, with two challenging championship courses – the Hunting and the Priestman – which have played host to no fewer than 18 European Tour and European Senior Tour events.

The 7,000-yard, par-72 Hunting, designed by Dave Thomas, has lush sweeping fairways, streams, lakes, towering trees and banks of rhododendrons – but, aesthetics aside, it will catch out the unwary. Well-placed bunkers and tricky greens make this USGA standard course a real challenge. The quality of Slaley Hall’s elder layout is illustrated by the fact the course is often dubbed ‘The Augusta of the North’.

The Priestman course was designed by Neil Coles and opened in 1999. Beautifully maintained, the course has matured magnificently. It sits on the west side of the estate, with panoramic views of the Tyne Valley and some daunting water features, and wind can be a factor on a course which hosts regularly European seniors’ events.

Almarose – part of Aprirose – is one of the UK’s leading independent hotel management companies, managing a diverse collection of 20 branded and private-label hotel properties.

www.slaleyhallhotel.com

THE NEW BAY CLUBHOUSE AT COSTA NAVARINO HAS VIEWS TO THRILL

When it comes to future debates about the best view from a golf clubhouse, the new earth-sheltered facility at Costa Navarino’s Bay Course is going to feature highly.

Opening in early July, the 2,000m2 uniquely designed building blends harmoniously into the natural landscape and is only clearly visible when playing the closing hole. Its indoor and outdoor spaces afford stunning vistas across the renowned Robert Trent Jones Jnr-designed golf course to the historic Bay of Navarino, further enhancing the Bay Course’s positioning among the most breath-taking golf courses in Europe.

Designed by Athens-based AETER Architects – with interiors by London’s MKV Design – the clubhouse is aligned with Costa Navarino’s sustainable principles to preserve and enhance the local environment. The clubhouse is ideally located in a varied landscape with features that combine a pristine coastline with tree-lined hills, olive groves and breath-taking views.

Based on the doctrine of bioclimatic architecture it features planted roofs, which will, ultimately, include a total of 27,500 plants and trees – both around the clubhouse and on its roof – as well as materials and systems that maximise the building’s energy efficiency.

The spacious interior features restaurant and bar facilities – including, for six weeks in July and August, a pop-up, Funky Gourmet restaurant, the first time a two-Michelin-star dining experience will be available in Greece outside of Athens. 

The clubhouse’s unique design and facilities – including an impressive pro shop and relaxation areas – will further enhance the golf offering at Costa Navarino and the unique experiences for its guests.

One of the world’s leading sustainable destinations, Costa Navarino is renowned for its pristine coastal location, breathtaking landscape, cultural heritage, luxury hospitality and real estate. A commitment to the highest standards of environmental and social responsibility exist throughout its operation, as well as a desire to promote the entire region of Messinia, while protecting and preserving both its natural beauty and heritage.

www.costanavarino.com

QUINTA DO LAGO NAMED BEST IN PORTUGAL BY WORLD’S BIGGEST GOLF TITLE

Quinta do Lago’s reputation as one of Europe’s elite golf and lifestyle destinations has risen to new heights after receiving a glowing new endorsement from Golf Digest magazine – the world’s biggest golf media title. 

The exclusive Algarve venue was the only resort in Portugal, and one of only eight across the continent, to be chosen by the magazine as a recipient for its coveted ‘2019 Editors’ Choice Award for the Best Resorts in Continental Europe’. 

Revealed in the latest issue of Golf Digest, the list features a who’s who of the top names in the global golf industry, and was finalised following close consultation with a combination of the magazine’s international affiliate titles and around 1,200 golf-course raters. 

“The winners of Golf Digest's Best Resorts in the Editors' Choice category are those which we'd recommend to any golfer,” said Max Adler, editorial director at Golf Digest magazine.    

“Resorts named as our Editors' Choice are first-class facilities that, first and foremost, have an exemplary offering of unique and quality golf courses. The accommodations must also have amenities that separate themselves above the fray.” 

Located just 15 minutes away from Faro airport, Quinta do Lago – host venue for this year’s Justin Rose Telegraph Junior Golf Championship – has been at the forefront  of Europe’s elite golf, sports and family destinations for nearly five decades and, with a combination of world-class golf and lifestyle facilities, is the perfect choice for a sporting break. 

As well as three 18-hole championship golf courses – the North, South and Laranjal – and outstanding practice facilities, guests can stay in shape at the state-of-the-art performance centre The Campus, a world-class sports hub designed for professionals and amateurs alike to keep fit. 

Complementing the golf facilities is a choice of 13 first-class bars and restaurants that deliver a range of delicious world cuisines – including the acclaimed Bovino Steakhouse and recently-opened Dano’s Sports Bar & Restaurant – with accommodation on offer at the resort’s recently-acquired boutique Magnolia Hotel

Sean Moriarty, CEO at Quinta do Lago, added:  “It’s a great honour for the resort to be chosen for this new international recognition, and to be the only venue in Portugal receiving this award gives the achievement added significance. 

“It’s been another outstanding year of success for the resort on and off the golf course and I’m sure that, with the recent establishment of The Campus as a world-class training facility, and the launch of Dano’s and the Magnolia Hotel, even more exciting times lie ahead.” 

www.quintadolago.com

ALCANADA REVAMP CAPTURED ON CAMERA

Club de Golf Alcanada’s winter revamp can now be seen in all its glory with the launch of a new video.

An extensive €700,000 renovation took place over the winter to replace all 18 greens, upgrade the irrigation, renew all sand in the bunkers and various other improvements.

The course reopened on March 1 and the new greens have since earned rave reviews, which has taken an already-impressive course to a whole new level.

The full three-minute video explains the ambitions of the project, while it also contains footage of the works as they took place, the pivotal figures involved in the process – and, of course, the customary stunning views across the Bay of Alcudia with some spectacular drone photography.

Alcanada’s director of golf, Kristoff Both, said: “We can all look back on the work that was undertaken at Alcanada with a great deal of pride and now it’s fantastic to be able to show that transformation to everyone.”

To see the full video, click here: Welcome to the new Club de Golf Alcanada 

www.golf-alcanada.com

SLIEVE RUSSELL ANNOUNCED AS PGA NATIONAL IRELAND

Slieve Russell Hotel, Golf & Country Club has become one of only a handful of facilities around the world to be endorsed by The PGA.

Situated in the glorious setting of Ballyconnell in County Cavan, Slieve Russell has joined the association’s seven other branded resorts as ‘PGA National Ireland’.

The hotel provides luxury accommodation in a tranquil setting amongst stunning lakes and scenery. The venue also offers a haven of comfort and relaxation with its world-class spa, a state-of-the-art conference centre and a range of indoor and outdoor leisure activities.

Slieve Russell’s acclaimed 18-hole championship course has hosted two European Tour events and was home to the Irish PGA Championship in 1996. In addition, the venue also stages an annual PGA pro-am, with the popular event featuring a collective prize fund of €1.2million since it was first held in 1997 –the highest paid PGA pro-am tournament in Ireland.

Designed by Paddy Merrigan, the natural landscape of West Cavan provides a stunning backdrop to what many describe as one of the finest parkland courses in Ireland. It is accompanied by a nine-hole par-three academy course and an adventure golf facility to inspire the next generation of young players.

Tony Walker, general manager at Slieve Russell Hotel, Golf & Country Club, said: “The golf and leisure facilities that we have at Slieve Russell are among the best in the country, and rebranding as PGA National Ireland will further enhance our position at the forefront of Irish golf.

“These are exciting times for us and this new partnership with not only help to improve our profile domestically, but also to open up many new promotional opportunities abroad.”

All PGA-branded facilities benefit from the direct use of The PGA brand and its associated value built up over the last century. 

The affiliation serves as a highly valued international seal of approval and assures visitors and owners that the course and facilities are of the highest quality. 

PGA chief executive, Robert Maxfield, added: “We are delighted to welcome Slieve Russell to our exceptional list of PGA-branded properties. The PGA National – Ireland further strengthens The PGA brand’s reputation internationally and we look forward to promoting Slieve Russell to both PGA Members and golfers across the globe.”

Set just 90 minutes from Dublin and two hours from Belfast, Slieve Russell is also the home club of up-and-coming Irish golfing stars Lisa and Leona Maguire, both of whom turned professional in 2018 after stellar amateur careers that saw Leona twice ranked as the world’s number one amateur, and twin sister Lisa winning 15 amateur titles.

Complementing the golf course is a 222-bedroom, four-star hotel; an award-winning Ciuin Spa; and an outstanding golf academy where resident head PGA professional Gordon Smyth and his team are available with expert tuition, state-of-the-art video analysis and training programmes to help golfers of all abilities achieve their goals.

www.slieverussell.ie

PRAIA D’EL REY RAISES BAR WITH €4M HOTEL AND GOLF INVESTMENT

Golfers and families can look forward to an improved five-star experience when visiting Praia D’El Rey Marriott Golf & Beach Resort from this summer following a €4m upgrade of the facilities at the award-winning Portuguese venue. 

To help celebrate its 15th anniversary, the resort on Portugal’s Silver Coast has completed an extensive three-year investment programme in its golf, hotel and lifestyle amenities – helping to further elevate its status among Europe’s premier destinations. 

Among the improvements made, all 177 hotel rooms and common areas have been renovated and remodelled with a new modern, ‘natural design’ concept – guaranteeing increased comfort and a superior contemporary experience. 

In addition, an array of new five-star dining experiences can now be enjoyed following a significant upgrade of Praia D’El Rey’s bar and restaurant facilities – including the resort’s renowned Emprata, Mare and Tempera restaurants offering a wider and more varied choice of fresh and authentic local produce than ever before. 

And the level of investment has been matched on the golfing side, with the resort having carried out a number of improvements including a major renovation of its golf academy to complement the five-star golf experience that members and guests can enjoy on its two 18-hole courses, Praia D’El Rey and West Cliffs Golf Links – named as the ‘World’s Best New Course’ at the 2017 World Golf Awards. 

Francisco Cadete, director of golf at Praia D’El Rey Marriott Golf & Beach Resort, said: “Whether you’re looking for a golfing or family holiday, Praia D'El Rey Golf & Beach Resort is the perfect place to visit, and the new investment will help cement our position as the number one golf resort in Portugal for modern travellers. 

“The diversity of five-star experiences provided and the excellent customer service, combined with a unique location close to the sea, two world-class golf courses and cultural heritage sites, make this a magical place where leisure and relaxation go hand-in-hand in the most special way.” 

Situated an hour north of Lisbon on Portugal’s stunning Silver Coast, Praia D’El Rey is regarded among Europe’s premier golf resorts and features outstanding sports and leisure facilities – including two 18-hole championship golf courses ranked among Europe’s top 50 courses. 

As well as golf, the resorts boasts an extensive array of world-class sports, leisure and accommodation facilities including a Marriott hotel, a wide selection of villas, a tennis academy and wide range of watersports, and a luxury spa and health club, while the comprehensive range of therapies and treatments on offer at the Kalyan Spa promise to restore energy and balance to the body after a day at the beach. 

For more information on Praia D’El Rey Marriott Golf & Beach Resort and West Cliffs and to book, go to www.praia-del-rey.com and www.westcliffs.com.

COSTA CÁLIDA TAKES OFF INTO EXCITING NEW ERA

The sky is now the limit for the region of Murcia as its new airport has put the jets under the UK tourist numbers.

The Region de Murcia airport in Corvera, officially opened by King Felipe VI in January, is expected to bring an influx of 20-25 per cent to the number of visitors to the region thanks to an increased flight capacity.

The previous airport – based at San Javier around 30 miles away – was limited in its ambitions for tourism growth as it shared flight capacity with military flights. But as from April, the new site serves 22 commercial destinations in six countries with additional flight routes set to be added later in 2019, while Jet2 has already confirmed two new routes (each flying three times per week) from London Stansted and Birmingham for the summer of 2020.

There are now regular flights to and from London Gatwick, London Stansted, Luton, Leeds-Bradford, Glasgow Prestwick, Bournemouth, Nottingham, Bristol and Manchester with Ryanair, Easyjet and Jet2 among the airlines to have moved their operations to the new airport.

And that is expected to see a significant growth of visitors with 1.3m passengers set to use the new terminal during the course of 2019.

In its first full month of business for February 2019, more than 45,000 passengers used the new airport – an increase of 2.5 per cent from the corresponding month in 2018 recorded at San Javier. Of those passengers, more than 84 per cent were flights between the UK and Murcia.

The UK continues to be the strongest market for Murcia with more than 400,000 visitors in 2018 (around 41 per cent of the total number of tourists to the region.)

However, the number of UK visitors has seen a huge boost in the first two months of 2019 with a 30 per cent increase on 2018 figures for the same period and that upward trend is expected to continue throughout the year.  

A spokesperson for the Instituto de Turismo de la Región de Murcia, said: “The new airport provides many more flight options and convenience for our guests. It will make a huge difference to the region and will make it even more attractive for UK holidaymakers. New flight routes and services are being added all the time so it is an exciting future for the region.”

For more information, visit www.corveraairporttravel.com and www.murciaturistica.es/en