PGA Catalunya Resort, near Barcelona, has reinforced its position as one of Europe’s finest golf destinations with the announcement that its Stadium Course has become the highest ranked Spanish course in Golf World’s influential ‘Top 100 Courses in Continental Europe’ listing, published in the November 2013 issue of the magazine.
The 6,705-metre course, which has twice hosted the Spanish Open, has risen from 8th to 5th in the new Golf World magazine ranking, one of the oldest and most authoritative in European golf.
PGA Catalunya Resort’s growing reputation as one of Europe’s must-visit golf venues comes as recognition of the significant enhancements that have been made to the Stadium Course over the past 18 months, under the supervision of designers Neil Coles MBE and Ángel Gallardo. These include:
- Construction of seven new championship tees, lengthening the course by approximately 185 metres
- Toughening up the iconic, lakeside 3rd green by tapering rough to make a narrower entrance, and extending the back of the green into the lake to bring the water more into play
- Lowering the cut of the rough around the expansive par-3 11th green to collar length, to create more of an island green
- Planting 10 large cork trees to the right of the 18th fairway to add definition and tighten the landing area
- Adding green-guarding bunkers to create more challenging approaches on selected holes.
The project also follows an extensive upgrade in 2010/11 when the grass type on the fairways was switched to resilient, drought-resistant Bermuda grass – the same variety used at Augusta National, home of the US Masters.
Commenting on the decision to make the Stadium Course Spain’s No. 1 for the first time, Golf World Magazine editor, Nick Wright, said: “Having played the Stadium Course this year, I was able to see first hand why it has earned its rise in our rankings. From the moment you step onto the first tee, you are very aware that you are on a ‘proper’ golf course. You are challenged from your opening tee shot to the approach on the 18th. At the same time, it’s a golf course that is very playable and can be enjoyed by all abilities.
“The recent course changes have, in our opinion, further enhanced that playing experience. Blend in the very obvious investment in off-course facilities and real estate and you have a world-class facility in stunning surroundings. And we haven’t even touched on the practice facilities – in my experience among the very best in Europe. You could quite easily spend a day working on your game and (almost) have as much fun as you would on the course itself.”
This year, the 36-hole venue – a European Tour Destination – also saw the opening of The Residents’ Club, an exclusive luxury sport and leisure complex for the resort’s property owners, as well as a variety of new luxury villas and apartments.
The Resort was named ‘Best Golf Development in Europe’ at the European Property Awards in London on September 24, in recognition of the continued investment and development of the estate.
Other landmarks have included the opening of the world’s first Sergio Garcia Junior Golf Academy, the Spanish golfer’s first teaching academy, the 2,000 square-metre putting and short game green, the only one of its kind in Europe, becoming home to Dave Pelz’s Scoring Game School in Spain, and the announcement of a three-year partnership with the European Tour, which sees the Qualifying School Final Stage return to PGA Catalunya Resort until at least 2014.
PGA Catalunya Resort Chief Executive, Julio Delgado, said: “Our reputation as a world-class facility is growing rapidly and our rise in Golf World Magazine’s rankings not only recognises the Stadium Course as Spain’s No.1, but underlines the focused investment we are continually making in our facilities to further enhance the experience for members, visitors and our growing community of property owners.”
Less than an hour’s drive from the vibrant city of Barcelona and only 20 minutes from the Michelin-star restaurants of Girona, the 36-hole resort has consistently ranked among the 10 best European golf venues since it opened in 1999, attracting discerning golfers, international elite amateur teams and professionals, as well as major international events, including two Spanish Opens, the 1999 Sarazen World Open and European Tour Qualifying School Final Stage events since 2008.
PGA Catalunya Resort www.pgacatalunya.com