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Quinta do Lago unveils new-look South Course after €7m upgrade

7th September 2021
European golf’s most iconic venue has been given a fresh new look, with Quinta do Lago’s much-loved South Course receiving a €7m upgrade to elevate the playing experience and further enhance the Portuguese’s resort’s environmental credentials. An eight-time host of the Portuguese Open, the popular layout reopened on September 1 following a major overhaul over the last 18 months – the centrepiece of a multi-million euro investment undertaken by Europe’s premier luxury golf and lifestyle resort between 2020-2021. Among the improvements made, all of the South Course’s fairways, bunkers, tees and green surrounds have received an upgrade, with subtle changes also being made to a number of holes to enhance the golfing experience. Sustainability was a goal throughout the project, with Quinta do Lago golf course superintendent Mark Tupling and his team working with the Golf Environment Organisation (GEO) and local non-profit company VitaNativa to record and enhance environmental stewardship across the golf courses. Water management has been a key element of the changes made with new Irrigation Pumps being installed along with enhancements to the existing system – giving greater control and saving precious resources.    Sean Moriarty, CEO at Quinta do Lago, said: “The South Course holds a special place in Quinta do Lago’s history and the hearts of so many of our residents and guests. It is a truly iconic course and the modern new version will present a series of new challenges, all showcased in an idyllic natural setting.   “The Covid-19 pandemic continues to produce new challenges, but one thing we are determined to do at Quinta do Lago is to continue to invest in and improve the facilities and unrivalled experience that we offer as Europe’s premier luxury golf and lifestyle resort. “The new investment that we’ve made in the South Course is befitting a true star of European golf, and the improvements made will help to ensure the course remains a firm favourite with everyone that plays it in the years to come.” A favourite among European Tour professionals, Quinta do Lago’s South Course is regularly ranked among Europe’s top 100 golf courses. The par-72 layout is regarded as one of Portugal’s premier golfing venues and the improvement programme has been undertaken to enhance its reputation even further. Among the work to have taken place, and to help provide a consistent playing experience and unrivalled presentation, all the fairways, approaches, greens collars and tees have been resurfaced with a hybrid type of Bermuda grass. All 48 bunkers on the course have been restored to their original size, with new drainage and sand added and compacted, while several bunkers previously within the pine tree canopy have been adjusted to give access to the green and two bunkers relocated to favour the modern game. In addition, the lakes on the 3rd and 17th holes have been upgraded with new retaining walls giving a sharp modern look consistent with the other lakes on the course; the fairway on the eighth hole has been softened and a

Revamped Marco Simone formally welcomes first major event ahead of hosting the 2023 Ryder Cup

6th September 2021
Last week, Marco Simone Golf & Country Club formally welcomed its first major event following extensive renovation work as the venue on the outskirts of Rome continues its preparations ahead of hosting the 2023 Ryder Cup. Representatives from Ryder Cup Europe, the Federazione Italiana Golf and Marco Simone Golf & Country Club gathered outside the clubhouse for a ribbon cutting ceremony to acknowledge the occasion before the DS Automobiles Italian Open on the European Tour. It is the second time Marco Simone has hosted Italy’s national open, having previously done so in 1994, and last week represents another important milestone for the venue, built and owned by the Biagiotti family who run global businesses in fashion and fragrance, as it showcases its significant redesign to a global audience for the first time. Italian Ryder Cup player Francesco Molinari who entered the history books by winning a maximum five points in Europe’s victory at Le Golf National in 2018, was among the first players to take on the spectacular course, which underwent 18 months of renovation work including the redesign of all 18 holes. The redesign project at Marco Simone, led by European Golf Design in co-operation with Tom Fazio II, focused creating a golf course specifically with the drama of match play in mind, with the previous layout rerouted not only to provide numerous risk and reward opportunities for the world’s leading players, but also to maximise the natural rolling countryside terrain. It means spectators will have unrivalled vantage points of the on-course action as well as distant views of the famous Eternal City, including spectacular views of St Peter’s Basilica and of the Castle of Marco Simone which together will provide the backdrop to golf’s greatest team contest. Franco Chimenti, President of the Federazione Italiana Golf, said: “With the first Italian Open at the new Marco Simone Golf & Country Club, the path to the 2023 Ryder Cup comes alive. A sustainable golf course, representing international excellence, it is our pride not only for golf but for all Italian sport. The unique charm of Rome, combined with the adrenaline of the match between Europe and the USA will make the Italian edition unique. I thank all the institutions, Ryder Cup Europe and Marco Simone Golf & Country Club for supporting the development of the project.” Guy Kinnings, European Ryder Cup Director, said: “With just three weeks until this year’s Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits, this marks another significant step in Italy’s own journey toward hosting its first Ryder Cup in two years’ time. “The redesign project at Marco Simone is spectacular and we are delighted to showcase it to a global audience at the Italian Open, giving fans a glimpse of what to expect when the venue welcomes golf’s greatest team contest in 2023. “The global pandemic has restricted our opportunities to share several key moments in the reopening process, so we are also delighted to be able to join Lavinia Biagiotti and her team, along with Franco Chimenti, Gian Paolo

New evidence reveals commercial gains from tournament hosting

31st August 2021
Hosting a European Tour event gives a venue benefits that go far beyond the exposure from real-time television coverage, according to new analysis. The TV numbers are impressive: more than 35 broadcasters show tournaments, reaching 678 million households in 167 countries. However, a venue can also enjoy increased sales and leads long after the event has finished, as well as the reputational boost gained from hosting the world’s top golfers. The increasing popularity of professional tournaments will be a key driver of golf tourism in the next few years, according to ResearchandMarkets.com – evidence supported by IAGTO’s findings that show eight out of the 10 fastest growing golf tourism destinations host European Tour events. Ian Knox, Head of European Tour Destinations, a network of 30 world class golf venues, said: “We often get asked if tournaments generate a return on investment and if having their course showcased on TV with top international players can actually deliver more golf sales, more tourism or more real estate leads to venues. “Recent analysis by the European Tour captured in our Tournaments that count feature has revealed that hosting a tournament could generate a direct economic impact of $7.5 million to local businesses. It also found that 27% of European golfers are more likely to visit a destination if it has hosted a European Tour event, rising to 52% for under-45s.” Ben Cowen, Chief Tournament Business Officer at the European Tour, added: “The huge amount of television exposure a venue will receive puts it on a platform that it will struggle to achieve in any other way. “Reputation pays. And all the more so when tournaments return to the same venue. Regular tournament hosting, as part of a long-term strategy to attract golf tourists, can benefit venues in that not only do visitors typically stay longer and spend more but the venues themselves are also able to charge and sustain a premium for membership, green fees, golf breaks and real estate.” Prime examples of such a legacy and a strong association with a particular event on the European Tour, outlined in the Tournaments that count feature, are Emirates Golf Club, which has hosted the Dubai Desert Classic since 1989, and Diamond Country Club in Austria, which has held 11 European Tour events since 2010. “As the global travel market opens up and golfers look to book their next golf breaks, businesses should pursue strategies that leverage all forthcoming growth opportunities. “With rising government support for the promotion of golf tourism, there is no better time for businesses to ensure they are front-of-mind and create and capture this growing demand for golf travel,” concluded Knox.

MCB Tour Championship – Mauritius returns for Legends Tour season finale

23rd August 2021
European Tour Destination Constance Belle Mare Plage in Poste de Flacq, Mauritius, will continue its hosting duties with an exciting week of golf planned to round off the season. The Celebrity Series Grand Final will take place on the eve of the MCB Tour Championship – Mauritius as the Celebrity Ambassadors are joined by the winners of the three Celebrity Series events and other invitees to compete to become the inaugural Celebrity Series Champion. Legends Tour players will be joined by amateurs to compete in the popular Alliance Pro-Am format, where amateur guests tee it up in tournament play alongside the professionals while competing for their own prize. Mark Aspland, Head of the Legends Tour, said: “We are thrilled to have secured our return to Mauritius for the tenth anniversary of the MCB Tour Championship later this year. “We have a great relationship with MCB and Constance Hotels and it is an absolute privilege to end our season at the wonderful Belle Mare Plage, which has always proved extremely popular with our players. “We are enhancing this year’s event by hosting the Celebrity Series Grand Final, which will feature some of the most recognisable faces from sport and entertainment competing for their respective charities to earn a share of a £100,000 charity prize pot. “Our Celebrity Ambassadors will join our Legends Tour Ambassadors to help celebrate the continuation of what has been a revered partnership over the last ten years and one we hope will flourish in the years to come. “On behalf of the Legends Tour, I am extremely grateful to Jean Jacques Vallet, Dominic Provencal, who leads the organising teams at MCB, the title sponsor, and all tournament stakeholders for their help in making this tournament possible.” Jean-Jacques Vallet, CEO of Constance Hotels and Resorts, said: “This is an exciting time for everybody who has been involved with this tournament over the years and I am delighted to be welcoming the reinvented Legends Tour to Constance Belle Mare Plage this year. “We are looking forward to welcoming the tournament back in 2021 with a new formula that features an impressive line-up of legends and celebrities from all over the world. We have witnessed some great moments of golf over the last nine years and I am sure that this year’s edition will be even more memorable, with the greatest field we have ever seen. This special event will definitely keep positioning Mauritius as a world class golfing destination.” Alain Law Min, CEO at MCB Ltd, said: “MCB has been a staunch supporter of the Legends Tour through the MCB Tour Championship for a decade and we are privileged to continue our partnership with the European Tour. “This event is especially important this year in promoting Mauritius as tourist and golf destination, as we open our frontiers to our visitors in October. We are delighted to welcome the Legends Tour players and the celebrities who will be playing this year, as their presence adds more prestige to the event

Five things to know: Czech Masters

23rd August 2021
The European Tour returned to Prague last week for the D+D REAL Czech Masters. Here are the five things you need to know. The return of the D+D REAL Czech Masters The D+D REAL Czech Masters makes its return this season after last year’s tournament was cancelled due to the global Covid-19 pandemic. The seventh edition of the event will once again return to Albatross Golf Resort, which has been the permanent home of this event. A European Tour Destination Albatross Golf Resort is one of more than 30 prestigious venues in the European Tour Destinations’ network and is a hugely popular track among the players. The 7,467-yard parkland course underwent winter renovations prior to the 2018 event, which included the introduction of several water features, but the biggest design change came at the final hole. Guarded by water the entire left side of the fairway to the green, nerves will play a big factor for any player with a lead coming down the 72nd hole, lending itself to a dramatic finish come Sunday afternoon. A place for first time winners In the six editions since the event began in 2014, four players have earned their maiden European Tour titles in at Albatross Golf Resort. Thomas Pieters captured his first title in 2015 before the Belgian followed up with a second victory in Prague in 2019 to take his tally to four European Tour victories. Other players to claim their maiden victories include American Paul Peterson (2016), South African Hadyn Porteous (2017), and Italian Andrea Pavan (2018), with Welshman Jamie Donaldson taking out the inaugural edition in 2014 to capture his third title. While Pieters won’t defend his title this week, Peterson and Pavan will be looking to rekindle the form that saw them claim victories in Prague. Pavan, who also finished in a tie for third in 2019 has good memories of Albatross Golf Resort having set the scoring record here of 23 under par during his victory in 2018. Race for Team Europe Four European Tour events remain for players to qualify for the European Team taking on the Team USA at Whistling Straits in September: The D+D REAL Czech Masters, the Omega European Masters, the DS Automobiles Italian Open, and the BMW PGA Championship. A number of players are vying for Captain Padraig Harrington’s attention this week in Prague, including Englishman Danny Willett, who currently sits at 16th on the European Points List and 18th on the World Points List. As it stands, the  nine automatic qualifiers for Team Europe  include Jon Rahm, Tommy Fleetwood, Tyrrell Hatton, and Rory McIlroy from the European Points List, with Viktor Hovland, Paul Casey, Matt Fitzpatrick, Lee Westwood and Shane Lowry from the World Points List.

Five things to know: Cazoo Classic

11th August 2021
The European Tour heads to London Golf Club this week for the inaugural Cazoo Classic. Here are your five things to know. Inaugural event The European Tour returns to London Golf Club for the first time since 2014 this week for the inaugural Cazoo Classic. The final leg in the 2021 UK Swing, the Cazoo Classic will be the sixth consecutive week the European Tour has been in the United Kingdom, and follows last week’s Hero Open in Scotland. It is also the second event during that period sponsored by Cazoo, the UK’s leading online car retailer, following the Cazoo Open at the Celtic Manor resort won by Nacho Elvira. The venue A European Tour Destination, London Golf Club boats two courses – the Heritage and the International – which have both featured on in previous events on the European Tour. The Cazoo Classic will be played on the Jack Nicklaus designed Heritage Course, which is a 7,802 yard par 72 that places a premium on accuracy due to dramatic tee shots and greens guarded by both cavernous bunkers and water. The Heritage features a classic par four finishing hole: A dog leg protected by water on the left and trees on the right, in addition to a raised green. The Par three 11th hole was also the site of Andy Sullivan’s viral ‘Chase the Ace’ challenge. A rich history as host London Golf Club boasts a rich history of hosting elite professional events, beginning in 2008 with the first of two back-to-back editions of the European Open at the Kent venue. Home favourite Ross Fisher emerged victorious in their first hosting of the prestigious tournament, overcoming Sergio Garcia by seven shots. Frenchman Christian Cévaër claimed the 2009 European Open on the Heritage Course, beating a star-studded field which included former World Number Ones Martin Kaymer, Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood. In 2014, London Golf Club’s International Course hosted the Volvo World Match Play where Finn Mikko Ilonen triumphed 3&1 over his Scandinavian counterpart, Henrik Stenson of Sweden, in the final It has also been a popular stop on the Legends Tour in years past, hosting the 2018 and 2019 editions of the Staysure PGA Seniors Championship – won by Philip Golding and Phillip Price respectively. EDGA Coinciding with the European Tour event is also the fourth EDGA (European Disabled Golf Association) event in a row: The EDGA Cazoo Classic. The event is one of five 36-hole tournaments set for this season, which will see golfers taken from the World Rankings for Golfers with Disability (WR4GD) take up the opportunity to tackle the same course set-up as the European Tour professionals. England’s Kipp Popert won last week’s title in impressive style with a final round 66, and he will be part of the same field of eight players who are set to compete this week and next. The top eight players from across the two groups of players will qualify for the EDGA Dubai Finale to be staged at the

Switching strategies: Attracting domestic golfers

22nd June 2021
Global travel restrictions have brought international golf travel to a standstill. But a number of destinations, including Le Golf National in France, have taken the opportunity to strengthen their connection with the domestic market and minimise pandemic disruption to business. We speak to Philippe Pilato, Director of Operations at the former Ryder Cup venue to find out more.

The rise of the long stay home

22nd June 2021
Second homes were traditionally bought with a desire to escape from routine, to destress, unwind and recharge. But the ability to work from home and the desire to flee to a safe haven during the pandemic has changed all that. European Tour Destinations Real Estate Consultant, Sandra Ruttle, assesses why residents are extending their second home stays and what that means for resorts who are now wanting to match a different set of needs and wants.
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