Villa Padierna is one of the most spectacular golf resorts in southern Europe and, indeed, the entire Mediterranean area. Its three 18-hole courses, golf academy, racquet club, beach club, wellness centre and luxurious five-star hotel, where former U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama stayed in 2010, is certainly a difficult rival not only to surpass but even to match. The exquisite taste that this elegant hotel oozes, decorated with countless works of art, blends in perfectly with a surrounding landscape that is evocative of Tuscany.
One of the latest additions to the resort's management team, as operations director at Villa Padierna Golf Club, is Pedro Morán. Interestingly, he began his professional career in the golf world 10 years ago at the same club. Later he spent two years at the 27-hole La Almarza golf course in Ávila, and then worked for seven years at Green Mowers, a distributor (among others) of the EZ-GO and Jacobsen brands for all of Spain.
Has Villa Padierna Golf Club changed a lot since you first worked here, a decade ago?
Yes, it has. Then there were two courses and now there are three, and there are also other new facilities. Although it is still a commercial club, it now has more members and more of a social ambience. I have found here an exciting project and a spectacular resort. We are one of the few resorts on the Costa del Sol with three golf courses, including the only executive one in the area, a five-star hotel, a beach club and restaurants, in addition to the golf academy, racquet club, medical wellness and spa... Then we also have in Málaga province the Villa Padierna Thermas hotel in Carratraca, a five-star hotel renowned for its mineral-medicinal waters.
What key news is there this year in regards to the resort’s golfing facet?
Recently, major pruning and cleaning work was undertaken in the area surrounding the holes near the Flamingos lake, so that this great expanse of water can be seen much more clearly. We are also providing more services to clients, adding value to what we have already been doing. We provide water, fruit, tees, hand-wipes... we want people to feel comfortable and enjoy the experience and, of course, to repeat their visit, to enhance their sense of loyalty.
How would you describe the Villa Padierna golf courses?
Our three courses are very different. Flamingos was inaugurated in 2001 by Antonio García Garrido, a famous designer on the Costa del Sol, and it could best be described as a friendly course, a very commercial layout for all types of players. Tramores is an 18-hole executive layout that is a very good course for beginners and children. It is a par-63 with one par-5, six par-4s and the rest par-3s. It was opened in 2003 as a nine-hole course and then expanded to 18. The designer is our greenkeeper, Cristóbal Guerrero.
Alferini, also designed by Cristóbal Guerrero, opened in 2008 and is our star course, our top competition course. It’s more challenging, tougher, more of a hard-core course. We can truly say that, for whoever visits Villa Padierna, we have the course that adapts to their requirements and preferences – and they will surely enjoy it.
What clientele predominates at the resort?
In spring and autumn predominantly foreigners come here to play golf, mainly British, during summer we also have a national clientele, and in winter there is a mix of nationalities.
Is there any project on the horizon to host a professional competition at Villa Padierna?
We are thinking about hosting a high-level professional tournament at Alferini, but we can’t announce anything net. It is a top competition course, which lends itself to these kinds of events.
The resort is also, during summer, the venue for many amateur tournaments...
Yes, and we will continue along the same lines. There are our traditional tournaments, such as the Condesa de Villapadierna, which is celebrating its 13th edition this year, and the Andalucía Golf Challenge. We also have a very special tournament for us, the Foursquare, a championship in which Neguri, Puerta de Hierro, La Moraleja and Villa Padierna members compete against each other. It started out as a Ryder Cup-style event between La Moraleja and Puerta de Hierro, and I was fortunate to participate, and then it became the current Foursquare, which this year celebrates its 10th edition. We will also have some more surprises for this summer, but I still cannot say anything about them yet.
Morán says it is important to highlight the work of the club's greenkeeper, Cristóbal Guerrero, "because he has worked at the club almost all his life and is the person who knows our courses best. Apart from being the designer of Alferini and Tramores, he has worked on the construction of the three golf courses. I think that few clubs have a person with such a deep knowledge of their courses and who knows how to combine them so well with their environment."
Regarding plans for the future of Villa Padierna Golf Club, the operations director says, "The idea in the medium and long term is to generate more members and, as far as possible, to be more of a mixed club, where we combine members with green fee visitors.” To that end, the club’s social events and life will be promoted with the aim of "making Villa Padierna more of a social club". Members have access to all the resort’s facilities: the three golf courses, the racquet and beach clubs, discounts at the spa... "We really offer a range of products and services that no other Costa del Sol golf club does.”