News 2002

Golf News 2002

Golf News in 2002 for Costa del Sol and Andalucia. Keep up to date with the news highlights from the world of golf on the Costa del Sol and Andalucia, Spain.

by Colm Gill

Green, Blue and White - The Colours of Golf In Almería

Almería holds the enviable title of being the European city with most hours of sun a year, a total of 3,000. Its most outstanding feature is its cloudless, bright blue sky.

The climate is sub-tropical and the temperature of its waters in the winter is warmer than that of the air.
Phoenicians, Carthaginians and Greeks all commercialised this section of the Mediterranean coast, although the later Arabic influence was strongest due to their stay in the area for almost eight centuries. Commercial and Arabic influences remain visibly to the fore at Almerimar, the purpose-built tourism resort that was constructed on the Almerían coast in the mid-seventies. The blue, blue sky and turquoise-blue of the sea contrast starkly with the white apartment buildings that overlook the predominantly white yachts bobbing in the large marina. For eight months of the year, the snow covered peaks of the nearby Sierra Nevada provides a backdrop to the scene created by a picture postcard development. The diligent promoters completed this Mediterranean idyll with the inclusion of a top quality golf course.

Golfers visiting Almerimar can look forward to a course of wide fairways, with a profusion of trees and plants which afford plenty of shade and, at the same time, serve as natural hazards, protecting the fast greens. The course was designed during the period that Gary Player had just embarked on a second career in golf course architecture and was working in association with the experienced Ron Kirby. The layout is unquestionably American in style but the 18 holes of the par 72, 5892m (yellow tees) course, quite long at its inauguration in 1976, now plays shorter due to the technological advances of equipment, and the tendency for the ball to roll a long way on the generally flat fairways. Beware, though, that your ball doesn't carry on rolling into one of the five holes affected by huge water hazards and fair-sized sand traps charged with protecting the approaches to large greens.

Although technical advances in ball and club manufacture have been huge in the 25 years since the course opened, the passage of time has also seen trees mature so that they have become hazards on many of the fairways they demarcate. Being open to the sea, quite a few of the holes are exposed to breezes blowing in off the Mediterranean - an additional hazard that is, nevertheless, often welcome during the 300 days of sunshine Almería annually basks under. In fact, the lush vegetation affords a pleasant oasis-style feel to a round as the palm trees and lakes create spots of singular beauty set against the arid mountains that are the foothills of the Sierra Nevada.

The par 3, 12th is a place where many a fourball takes stock of round. The island green is marooned in the centre of a lake, giving a tee-shot over 100m of water - will it spoil a good card? Or, will it redeem an otherwise forgettable round? The daunting challenge of facing up to what was possibly the first island green in Europe, is a topic that often arises at the Almerimar clubhouse, set within the Golf Hotel Almerimar between the first and tenth tees of the course. As the conversation mixes with the thousand natural aromas of an Almería evening, green, blue and white are the colours of golf at Almerimar.



Access to Almerimar for golfers will be much easier from this winter due to the launch of a new British Airways route to Almería airport. From November 3, BA franchise carrier GB Airways will operate flights twice weekly, on Thursday and Sunday, with morning departures from London Gatwick.

All services will operate on a new fleet of Airbus A320 and A321 aircraft, which offer enhanced passenger comfort with a wide cabin, leather seats throughout and a minimum seat pitch of 31 inches. Almería airport is 45km away from Almerimar.

Golfers based on the Costa del Sol (250km to Málaga) or Costa Blanca (294km to Alicante) can reach Almerimar using the N340. Take exit 409 marked 'El Ejido' and the course is just 6km away.






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" Putting a smile on a child's face through golf, is the future of golf…"
1st World Conference On Junior Golf 2002

The crucial issue of how to attract future generations to take up golf as a regular sporting activity was discussed by 300 representatives of 35 countries at the inaugural World Conference of Junior Golf in Rome in April.
In the face of fierce counter-attractions from multiple rival sport and leisure pursuits, golf took a global step towards ensuring the flow of young newcomers to its ranks.

The gathering, co-ordinated by conference technical adviser Donato Di Ponziano, Director of the PGA of Europe, provided the opportunity for dialogue on the concept of making golf more attractive and accessible to teenagers.
One necessary ingredient, it was unanimously concluded, was that children must be taught that taking up golf is a passport to fun and enjoyment as well as to comradeship and sporting competition.

"To put a smile on a child's face through golf, is the future golf and the future of those of us who work in the sport. Golf is fun and while we must maintain standards they do not have to be the standards of a hundred years ago" said Donato Di Ponziano. "We must always update ideas to attract children to play the game."

The in-depth three-day programme featured Workshops on the relevant topics of Etiquette, behaviour & justice; Golf & school; Introducing Children to Golf or Golf to Children; Recruiting Juniors; How much psychology and physical training?; Camps and Competitions and was concluded by Noel M Stephens of the R&A of St Andrews whose enthusiastic conclusion was to set plans in motion for the second World Conference of Junior Golf.

Meeting of Missionaries

The PGA of Europe has called a meeting of golfing missionaries to discuss future plans and policies for spreading coaching opportunities to emerging nations on a world scale.

Backed by grants from the R&A, the PGAE has sent out coaches to many new golfing regions.
Now the 'meeting of minds' and 'sharing of experiences' among some of those coaches will help to progress the initial work in previously unchartered golfing territories.

Coaches who have worked in many different countries will attend the meeting at the PGAE HQ : Jean-Etienne Lafitte(Ivory Coast), Donato Di Ponziano(India), Peter Chamberlain(Estonia), Henk Stevens (Sri Lanka), Mark Reed (Slovenia), David Colclough(Peru), Alan Egford(Greece), Alasdair Barr (Ecuador), Sascha Orlic(Ecuador), Simon Dicksee(China).

Others attending will be Nicky Lumb of the PGA of GB&I, Duncan Weir(Development Secretary,R&A) and Lawrence Thornton (General Secretary, PGA of Europe).


Andalucia Golf News Archive