The winner of two World Cups (also including one as the leading individual), the 1985 Ryder Cup, nine European Tour titles and five Spanish Championships… Manuel Piñero is an icon of Spanish and international golf. To such an extent that his professional and personal cachet has attracted the attention of the new owners of La Reserva de Sotogrande, and both parties have reached an agreement for the celebrated golfer to become part of a major project now underway to transform this prestigious club into one of Europe’s most exclusive and prominent resorts.
When they contacted me to become involved in the project,” said Piñero, “they told me that, above all else, they wanted me to feel that the club is my home, and also for me to give them an idea of what I thought an elite and high-end club should be.
“I will provide all my experience to help make this club a standard-bearer, not only in Spain but throughout Europe and around the world. We have the fabric and everything necessary for this club to be at the highest level. And in particular for everyone who has a home and their family here, and who come to visit us, to feel comfortable and relaxed and enjoy the club. My objective is that one day those of us who are bringing this project to fruition feel proud to have achieved something special.”
- The course is justifiably recognised as being one of the best on the Costa del Sol and in Spain. What can you tell us about the course from a golf professional’s perspective?
- It is undoubtedly a magnificent golf course, first-class, the same as the clubhouse and all the services it offers. I will aim to contribute my experience to help achieve the excellence which is the goal for all of us who are involved in the project. I will use my knowledge in an effort to improve that which I believe can be improved.
The course maintenance is very good; people with new ideas have become involved and you can notice a major improvement in that respect. And, as far as the layout is concerned, they are going to carry out some minor fine-tuning – not too much because we have a good base – to improve the few aspects that can be improved, in my view, at a course that is already at the highest level.
- What fine-tuning is planned?
- On some of the holes, for example, which are overly demanding from the tee we will try to make them easier, because we can’t overlook the fact that, even though a major championship can be held here, this is a course for our clients to enjoy. The idea is for the course to not be excessively tough, or cause suffering from tee to green: a pleasant, friendly and fun course for people. And that will be my focus: to create an accessible course that most players can enjoy.
- Some major investment is earmarked to make this club one of the finest in Europe. There are even plans to build a massive lake for water sports. What will this “new” Reserva de Sotogrande be like?
- It’s going to become something that has never been done on the Costa del Sol before. We have some first-class resorts in this area but the truth is there are none as fully comprehensive as this one, with a golf course and clubhouse of this category, such a privileged setting not far from the sea and beautiful natural surroundings, and when the investments are completed it will be even better and more exclusive, with water sports, one of the best equestrian centres… a complete and fully integrated club like no other on the Coast.
- It appears as though your own sporting background is going to have a prominent presence at the club...
- Yes, they are preparing something in that respect, with my whole sporting life, photographs, trophies… It’s a lovely idea, a great honour for me, because I don’t think there is anything like that in Spain dedicated to a professional.