A new golf season has just begun and there seems to be a reassuring sense of optimism in the air. It is also mixed with a deep yearning for better times but we have to be careful: in this case, mistyeyed nostalgia is ill-advised. The commercial figures from golf courses for the last few months have not been bad, certainly better than in recent years. Summer, in particular, was fairly positive for most clubs. Short-term forecasts are, similarly, not too dire – at least at the time of going to press
By no means are we are racing towards full recovery – or the euphoria of the early years of this century – but it does seem as though trends are changing for the better. The industry is no longer in freefall and, in fact, even showing signs of improvement, albeit moderate.
Returning to the figures of four or five years ago is going to take a considerable effort. Many factors have to be taken into account – some beyond our control – and it is best to avoid setting unrealistic short-term objectives because that will almost certainly lead to frustration. We have a great deal in our favour: location (just two and a half hours from any European city), climate, quality, service (can be improved), good ideas, and a dynamic and highly professional industry – all of which should guarantee success when the horizon clears.
We should never abandon promotion and marketing; and not see this as an expense but rather as an investment. This is essential to ensure that our destination is always in the minds of golfers around the world. Drastic cuts in this respect could lead us to disaster, when there are so many other destinations just waiting for us to slip up.
With that in mind, it is very positive that the region continues to host major golf tournaments. Summer ended with the Spanish Women’s Open at La Quinta in mid-September; this was followed in October by the Benahavís Senior Masters, also at La Quinta; and top competition returns to Valderrama in October with the Andalucía Masters – a tournament attracting the European Tour’s top players.
Ending the crisis might be out of our hands but there is a lot we can do to encourage golfers to return. As the premier communication medium for Andalucian golf, all of us at Andalucía Golf are ready to do everything we can to help lay the groundwork for a much healthier immediate future.