Catalonia is famous for its beautiful architecture, delicious food and rich culture but it will be celebrating sporting heritage this year as it approaches its golfing centenary.
Golf has enjoyed a long and rich history in the Mediterranean destination in the south west of Europe and a unique marketing campaign is being launched to mark the first 100 years of the game in Catalonia and promote its magnificent golf courses.
The Catalan Tourist Board has devised the campaign which will highlight the many top quality golf courses to be found throughout Catalonia’s four provinces of Barcelona, Lleida, Girona and Tarragona. Catalonia will play host to one of the golf travel industry’s most important gatherings this year when the International Golf Travel Market (IGTM) is held on the Costa Daurada in November. Senior tourism officials will be using this as an opportunity to meet key influencers in the golf travel industry to promote Catalonia as one of Europe’s finest golf destinations.
Xavier Espasa Añoveros, pictured, the general manager of the Catalan Tourist Board, said: “Catalonia has a proud heritage in golf and as we reach such an important milestone in the history of the game here we will be highlighting our wonderful selection of top class golf courses.
“We have some of the most high profile courses in Spain and this is an ideal time for us to be telling people what we have to offer. Staging IGTM will be a focal point for our celebrations and through the 100 Years of Golf campaign we will be inviting some of Europe’s most influential golf travel operators and media to come here to enjoy the Catalonian golf experience for themselves.”
Today Catalonia boasts 38 golf courses ranging from European Tour venues to family-friendly nine-hole courses.
Golf in Catalonia dates back to 1914, when a group of Britons who were building the railway line between Barcelona and present-day Metro del Vallès, created the Sant Cugat del Vallès golf course. It was the first course in Catalonia and one of the first in Spain.
Today Catalonia boasts 38 golf courses ranging from European Tour venues to family-friendly nine-hole courses. Prominent among them is the PGA Catalunya Resort, whose Stadium Course was selected in 2012 as the best in Spain and the third best in Continental Europe by the prestigious Top 100 Golf Courses panel.
Other renowned courses include the Real Club de Golf El Prat, the Real Club de Golf Cerdanya, the Llevaneras Golf Club, the Pals Golf Club, the Costa Brava Golf Club and the Lumine Golf Club, pictured above.
A range of tour events have been held on Catalan courses including the Spanish Open, which is one of the oldest in Europe, on several occasions, the Catalonia Open, the Sanyo Open, the Sarazen Open and the Johnnie Walker Trophy. The destination has also played host to the European Tour Qualifying School tournament and the Catalonia Ladies Masters on the Ladies European Tour.
One of the inspirations behind the growth of golf in Catalonia was the legendary Seve Ballesteros’ exploits in winning Major Championships and leading the European Ryder Cup team. Seve was a frequent visitor to Catalonia to follow his beloved FC Barcelona.