How did the Alcaidesa Links Golf Resort project begin? How long has it been in operation?
The project originated with a group of friends who were sailing in the Mediterranean, alongside the Alcaidesa country estate. One of them, Peter Costain, fell in love with the estate when he saw it from the sea, and he made contact and eventually bought it. That was in around 1988, and he still owns it. The Links course has been in operation since June 1988. Two years ago we held a wonderful party to celebrate our 25th anniversary. The Heathland golf course has been open since June 2007.
What were the priorities when designing the course layout? Please can you tell us about the work done by Peter Alliss and Clive Clark.
The designers Peter Allis and Clive Clark respected the orography of the Alcaidesa land, formed by gentle slopes sweeping down towards the sea and ending on a beautiful beach, which creates a front of almost two kilometres. Most of the holes are alongside the beach.
La Alcaidesa resort is in a unique location between the Mediterranean sea and the Atlantic ocean, with the coast of Africa on the horizon. What are the advantages of being the southernmost golf course in Europe?
Alcaidesa Links Golf Resort is the only links golf course in the south of Europe boasting spectacular views of the Mediterranean and Gibraltar. Alcaidesa is a resort where style, nature, views and the best golf come together in one of the most exclusive areas of the Mediterranean.
What does La Alcaidesa contribute to the southern European golf circuit? What sets you apart?
Our contribution to the European golf circuit is a links golf course where the beach and the sparkling blue sea merge to create a spectacular panorama unequalled on the Costa del Sol.
La Alcaidesa Golf Resort has two different courses: Links and Heathland – what special features is each one adapted to?
Indeed, we have two golf courses. The 18-hole Links course starts and ends at the new Club House. The difficulty of the course is mainly due to the prevailing winds in the area. And the Heathland course offers a variety of natural landscapes ranging from a plateau area, where the course resembles a heathland course, with wide fairways and outstanding views of the Mediterranean and various mountains, to a valley area where the holes meander along the valley and incorporate several water hazards.
Since it opened in 1992, what changes or alterations have been made to the site and the golf courses?
Almost all of the changes have taken place on the Links course, where, considering the terrain and the fact that it is a links course, we’ve improved a number of design features of the holes to make it more attractive and playable. There are very deep bunkers where we’ve improved the drainage and changed some of the tees to improve the hole entry and the way the ball falls.
What is your assessment of the last 27 years?
My assessment is that we’ve had some very intense, full years where I think we’ve achieved our main goal, which was to establish Alcaidesa as one of the most important businesses in the province of Cadiz.
What experience do you offer a golfer who comes to play your courses?
We offer golfers two entirely different golf courses, in terms of both the play and the views. And, of course, there is the beautiful Club House with its impressive views. I would add that we have a professional team of staff who are part of the reason why all our visitors want to return the following year.
And what does a golf circuit like La Alcaidesa offer professional golfers?
There are many professional players who visit us to experience the difference between the two courses, as well as one of the most significant features of La Alcaidesa during certain months of the year: its famous East and West winds. That’s what makes them come here to train before tackling courses in Europe where the weather is often the enemy.
The weather conditions are a vital ingredient in a sport such as golf. Which season would you recommend for visiting your golf resort?
As I said before, the weather is important in this area, but the wind is particularly crucial. Luckily, the temperature is ideal even in the winter. Of course, in the summer many golfers come despite the heat because there’s always a sea breeze, which means you’re still playing in pleasant temperatures.
La Alcaidesa has a coaching service – what does the golf school mean for a golf complex like yours?
We have a driving range with 72 bays on two levels. This means that a lot of professionals come with groups and always practise in our facilities before going out to play.
We have an Academy with almost 50 young golfers, many of whom represent Alcaidesa in tournaments. We feel very proud of them because some are playing at very high levels and excelling on the best circuits, both in Andalusia, in Spain and even internationally.
Do you have many students on each coaching course?
It depends on the season. We usually have 50 or 60 young players of different ages. You have to remember that less than 10km away there’s La Cañada golf club, which has an important course with a great academy that has produced some of the best golfers in Spain currently playing on the various world circuits.
In addition, for the youngest golfers you offer a summer camp. How and when is it organised? Do you offer classes in other languages?
Of course, in the summer we host bilingual golf camps, where we start around 9am and finish around 2pm. These camps make our golf complex accessible to families who only come here in the summer and sign their children up for the camp, some of whom get hooked on golf and then continue playing this wonderful sport.
Tell us about the most prominent tournaments that have been played on your courses. Which are the most important?
At Alcaidesa during the 1990s we held several Andalusian PGA tournaments, some of them just at regional level but later at national level, with top players such as Juan Quiros and José María Cañizares, etc. I mention those two because they are friends of Alcaidesa and anytime I need them they come. Of course, one very important event was the Junior Ryder Cup of 1997, where the European team won, while in Valderrama the American team was the winner.
Do you hold competitions for your members?
Throughout the year we hold a lot of social competitions and some of them are open, when our members enjoy a game and try to lower their handicap. Some of the competitions are sponsored by major brands such as Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Juvé & Camps, etc.
As well as golf tournaments, La Alcaidesa organises parallel events throughout the year. Which is the most prominent?
Our Club House is located between the two courses on the highest level of the Alcaidesa complex, offering unparalleled views.
It offers over 3000 square metres of multi-purpose rooms for meetings and banquets, with capacity for over 300 people, a spacious parking area and a new restaurant with room for up to 200 diners. This makes Alcaidesa an ideal place to celebrate all kinds of events.
You offer foreign visitors on-site accommodation – what does this addition mean for your golf resort?
We have a wide range of different hotels and apartments at the resort, and so we are able to offer our guests very attractive packages combining golf and accommodation, which means players can enjoy our courses and facilities without needing to go anywhere, because at different times of year we have a transfer service to pick up guests and transport them to their accommodation area.
We’re also able to offer very competitive rates in comparison with international markets.
What are your medium- and long-term goals? Do you have any future projects planned?
Our goal in the medium term is to continue improving some of the holes so that the players never tire of our facilities. Right now we’re remodelling hole 4 of the Links course, improving the design and making it more attractive for players. Of course, we’d like to do the same with the Heathland course, where we want to plant an area of trees and improve the lakes.
For people visiting the area, what would you recommend? Any must-see places?
I’d like to point out that Alcaidesa is more than just golf – there are several kilometres of beaches, and our location gives us easy access to the two continents of Africa and Europe. As well as the wonderful villages that lie along the coast of Cadiz and the Costa del Sol, we are less than half an hour from Morocco and 15 minutes from Gibraltar.