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Autumn Golf in the Sun

New Season under way

Well the new season is just getting under way and as I take my morning coffee I observe the migration of the teenagers as they return north to school to be replaced with the younger families with pre-school kids and that ubiquitous creature, the Northern Golfer. The full English breakfasts are being ramped up to cater for the golfing masses as they set out on their daily endeavor to play the great game of golf.

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We have had one of the hottest summers on record on the Costa del Sol and as such some of the courses are struggling to bounce back to their normal best. However as soon as we have had our first rain of the season they should all be fine again.

A word of warning to start with!

While we have the best golf destination probably in the world we also have some of the most ingenious petty criminals and a few not so petty. And these chaps are not very discriminating as yours truly recently found out on completing his round at a popular local course. To my horror I discovered that both my wallet and phone and those of my playing partner had been removed from our bags (on buggies) during our round.

So the message is, if it can happen to me it can happen to anyone. Please take the necessary precautions to avoid the same thing happening to you. The experience has the potential to ruin your trip! Leave all unnecessary valuables at your accommodation and use club-house lockers or your pockets for the rest.

golfbuggy2Massive Expansion plans for Vilamoura:

Vilamoura

Vilamoura

The American private equity firm Lone Star Funds is seeking partners to invest 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) in Vilamoura, a residential golf resort in Portugal’s Algarve region that’s more than eight times the size of Monaco.

Loan Star is teaming up with Vilamoura World to double the number of homes at the resort to about 10,000 within five years, according to Paul Taylor, chief executive officer of the Portuguese developer. They also plan to build as many as five hotels with about 4,000 rooms on the site, which already has five 18-hole golf courses and an 825-berth marina.

International home buyers are targeting Portugal after the government introduced measures which allow non-Europeans to live in Portugal in exchange for property investment of at least 500,000 euros. The program has raised 1.47 billion euros of investment since it began in 2012, according to APEMIP, Portugal’s Real Estate Professionals and Brokers Association.

“Due to the golden visa scheme, we are seeing a lot of interest from China, Brazil and even India,” Taylor said. He said a reduction in expatriate income tax to 20 percent from 48 percent is also attracting investors.

You can read the full detail by clicking here: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-09-08/lone-star-seeks-1-1-billion-to-enlarge-portuguese-golf-resort

Costa del Sol Hotel News:

There has been a spate of purchases in the hotel sector most notably with Westin returning to manage the La Quinta Resort in Marbella. 2016 prices may reflect the status of the new owners!. Golf hotel Guadalmina and Spa has also been bought over and we expect a sort interruption to service while it undergoes a substantial refurbishment.

Golf Hotel Guadalmina & Spa

Golf Hotel Guadalmina & Spa

Europe’s biggest Golf Resort “La Cala” is on the market following the decision by its Irish owner (Insurance Company FBD) to divest itself of its leisure portfolio.

The landmark Alay Hotel in Benalmadena is also to close for the winter which a complete make-over before reopening in April 2016.

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Golf Courses on the Costa del Sol.

So with maintenance season just about behind us we look forward to a great season with some really significant developments.

La Reserva de Sotogrande, having been taken over by an American venture capital fund is pouring money into the course with the aim of bringing its already high standards up to the very top world class lever.

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Both Real Club de Golf Sotogrande and Real Club de Golf Las Brisas will only have 9 holes open as they complete the world on rebuilding these iconic courses ahead of reopening in late spring 2016 when the Costa will be back to its full quota of world class course.

Real Club de Golf Guadalmina has now invited Golf Experience to sell their green-fees. We are one of a select few agents with the privilege of working with what is one of the oldest clubs on the Costa. We have very special rates and would encourage anyone looking for a special Golf Experience to try the South course, it’s a gem.

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Other clubs with investment underway are Doña Julia (recently bought over) and Calanova who are replacing all their bunkers and work is starting on a permanent club-house building. We have no news in relation to progress or otherwise at Monte Mayor; auuhh I hear you say!.

Geo-Political Picture

We in the tourism sector always have an eye on the bigger picture to help forecast what may be coming down the line. Some events are easier to predict than others. In many respects the industry, while resilient can be vunerable to the very unexpected such as Icelandic volcanoes erupting or the more regular French Air traffic controllers on their bi-annual strike – regardless of whether they have a grievance or not they seem to strike twice a year every year. Nine months ago Ebola was looking as if it could have had serious consequences for international travel but fortunately that situation is now under control.

The last few years of political unrest in the Margeb countries has been very unsettling for their tourism sectors and this has benefited the sector in Spain considerably. Recent tragic events in Tunisia and elsewhere have added to already high occupancy levels in Costa del Sol hotels and are bound to mean full houses at hotels in the Canary Islands this winter. So the advice is book early to avoid disappointment!

The ongoing refugee crisis in the Medditterean will hopefully subside with the onset of winter. This may put increased pressure on an unusual crossing point of Melilla, one of two Spanish enclaves in Morocco the other being Ceuta.

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Melilla Golf Club

This amazing photo shows a lady tee off at Melilla GC while her playing partner observes the hopeful migrants attempting to scale a 30m fence while a border guard tries to obstruct their passage.

Club-hire:

Anyone who has been in our office recently might wonder about the proliferation of sets of golf clubs for hire. We now have 60 sets with something for everyone!. We even have a set of left handed ladies Wilson clubs and despite some initial questions as to the wisdom of the investment they have more than paid for themselves! Our rates are the best on the Costa at €10 a day or €35 a week – none of our sets is more than a year old.

Car hire:

We have just had a record year with our car-hire business with the market continuing to respond well to our no nonsense and no “sneaky” stuff pricing policy. The price we quote is what you pay and you get the best service in the market place!   A quick email or phone call is all it takes to book – no half hour sessions on the internet trying to read nasty small print which is where the devil  lies.

In addition to the full Renault range we can now offer you the full Nissan range of cars. Our collection points are Malaga Airport and Train Station, Gibraltar Airport, Estepona and Golf Experience Office. We can also deliver to any point in between for a small supplement.

This means that you will get through Malaga Airport even quicker than usual because nobody walks faster than Antonio.

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Antonio, Jose & Paco – Your rent-a-car welcoming team at Malaga Airport.

New Mobile friendly Golf Experience Website & Costa del Sol Golf Map

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For all you young golfers who, we are told, are accessing the web more and more on smart phones while on the move we have, at tremendous expense (well really it was a highly competitive price and a fantastic job was done – we simply cant say enough good things about Justin Parks – just hire him – pay him and be happy!) redesigned our www.golfexperience.net to make it mobile friendly. In addition, over 20 years of experience, Murale Design is the leader in custom mural printing. www.muraledesign.com use the best equipment in the industry to guarantee top quality printing for your mural.

Our very popular and much demanded new season Costa del Sol Golf map is now available. They are available at our office and in all our rented cars.

The Wonderful Welsh ! !

I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for the Welsh ! Perhaps it came from growing up on the east coast of Ireland and on a good day looking across to the Irish sea to and seeing the welsh mountains. For ten years now we have had the honour of organising the annual golf trip for the Principality Group from Wales .

This year, to celebrate the anniversary and the upcoming Rugby World Cup Organiser Paul Davies presented me with a Welsh Rugby jersey signed by the great Gareth Davies. What a wonderful gift momento – Muchas gracias !

 

Principality Group – 10th year with Golf Experience!

Principality Group – 10th year with Golf Experience!

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Paul Davies of the Principality Group presenting Seamus with the Welsh World Cup Rugby Jersey signed by Gareth Davies himself !

Quiz

An interesting pub-quiz question: how many land borders does Spain have?

And the answer is: they are of course, France, Portugal, (easy) Gibraltar Morocco & Andora.