Antonio Sánchez Marcos

Most golf course managers in Andalucía – with some exceptions of course – report that 2012 wasn’t all that bad a year, and clearly better than the previous three. It seems as though the prevailing trend has been reversed and, while this doesn’t signify a “complete recuperation”, it does mean things are not continuing to worsen, and there are signs of a tepid recovery.

We haven’t returned to the figures of 2007 or 2008 but the latest information does give cause for hope and a degree of optimism – which is clearly needed.

It is still not known what repercussions the brutal, unfair and disproportionate increase in IVA (VAT) will have over the next few months but, if things are done well, perhaps it will not have the negative effect we expect. Without a doubt it has been a stab in the back for golf tourism but we don’t have any option other than to try to overcome it.

Unfortunately, not all the golf courses and areas of Andalucía have reported things going “so well”. Two clubs have been forced to close (not only because of the crisis) and others – due to their location or the wrong management policies – are suffering.

One piece of data that should be taken into account is the fact that courses of a higher level – i.e. those that are maintained best, offer better service, etc. – are the ones that are functioning well, and they tend to be the most expensive, so it’s not all a problem of prices. Golfers want quality, and a good relationship between this aspect and what they pay, and they don’t necessarily only consider their wallets.

Not dropping our guard in 2013, not abandoning promotional campaigns and not slipping into a pessimistic and paralysing state of melancholy are the keys to ensuring that this year is better than the one that recently ended.

Shortly before the closing deadline for this edition of AG/EG, we learned of the death of Don Jaime Ortiz Patiño. There is no need here to go over his record. Everyone knows what he contributed to golf in Andalucía, what he represented… For us, he was always a key supporter, a friend. The man who wanted to have us by his side, working on the major events he was involved with and which left such an indelible mark on the history of golf in Andalucía: the Volvo Masters, the Ryder Cup, the World Golf Championships… We appreciated his efforts and we loved being around him. We remember him with great affection, knowing that the significant highlights of his legacy will always be with us.