PGA Golf de Catalunya welcomed Europe’s leading golf course architects for the annual conference of the European Institute of Golf Course Architects 11th – 13th April.
More than 90 course architects and golf industry professionals attended the event at the 36-hole resort near Barcelona, which will host the European Tour’s Qualifying School Finals in November.
Ken Moodie, President of the EIGCA and himself a golf course architect with 20 years’ experience, said, “PGA Golf de Catalunya has everything you want in a golf facility and it will be fascinating to see how the professionals at Qualifying School tackle both courses.
“It is an ideal location with pine trees, sandy soils and undulating topography, with good use of valleys and lakes. While the Green Course is well known for hosting championship golf, the new tees on the Red Course, and the speed of the greens, will make it a very good challenge.”
A wide variety of topics were covered during the three-day conference, hosted at PGA Golf de Catalunya’s stylish, on-site hotel, Melia Golf Vichy Catalan, from technical matters such as the problems of salt in water used for irrigation, to the topical, including the changes made to Augusta National in recent years.
Julia Green, EIGCA executive officer, said, “The PGA Golf de Catalunya resort provided an ideal venue for our Conference and AGM, with modern conference facilities accommodating small meetings to large gatherings, superb food, and friendly, helpful staff to help with the organisation. I cannot recommend it too highly.
“From a golfing perspective, it was ideal for the playing of our President’s Cup, (won by Steven McFarlane of Gary Player Design) with two excellent and testing golf courses, as well as comprehensive practice facilities. We had delegates travel from all over the Continent, so being only a few minutes from Girona Airport, served by more than 30 destinations throughout Europe, it was highly accessible for all our members.”
PGA Golf de Catalunya opened in 1999 and quickly established an international reputation for outstanding quality. The Green Course was designed by European Tour legend Neil Coles, a senior member of the EIGCA, and leading Spanish tour professional Angel Gallardo, in association with David Williams and European Golf Design, combining years of experience to create an architectural masterpiece. David Williams is also a senior member of EIGCA and, indeed, in 2000 was its first president.
The 6,560-metre, par-72 Green Course was considered so good that it was ranked in the Top 10 courses in Europe by Golf World magazine within a year of opening. In the same year, it hosted the Gene Sarazen World Open, won by Thomas Bjorn and, in 2000, the European Tour’s Peugeot Open De Espana.
In 2008, the Green Course received a rating of 18/20 from the influential Peugeot Golf Guide, bettered only in Spain by Valderrama, which consistently ranks as Continental Europe’s best course. Coles and Gallardo also designed the shorter Red Course at PGA Golf de Catalunya, which opened in 2005.
PGA Golf de Catalunya is the venue for the PGA European Tour’s Qualifying School final stage, which takes place from 13-18 November 2008, over both the Green and Red courses.