From 27 October to 3 November, the five winners of the Grand Final of the Andalucía Golf Challenge Circuit, Destination Riviera Maya Golf Club Bahía Principe 2019, travelled to the Mexican Caribbean coast, where for a week they enjoyed the area’s charms, the crystal clear, turquoise waters of the sea, Mayan ruins, cenotes (sinkholes) and especially golf. They played at the best course on the Yucatan coast, which has become one of the most attractive global destinations for golfers.

Twenty-four additional people joined the winners, including companions and other golfers, who were also able to enjoy a comprehensive, perfectly organised golf and tourism program.

The 2019 Circuit was sponsored by Reale Seguros and real estate developer Exxacón, in addition to the Grupo Piñero hotel chain, Bahía Principe. The Circuit began on 10 April at Golf Santander in Madrid and continued at Royal Guadalhorce Golf Club, Mijas Golf (Los Lagos), Santa Clara Marbella, Royal Sotogrande Golf Club, Royal Valderrama Club, San Roque Club (Old Course), Valle Romano Golf Club, Flamingos (Villa Padierna) and La Reserva (Sotogrande); with the grand final played on 7 September at Alferini (Villa Padierna).

The winners of the trip to the Mexican Caribbean were the two top finishers in category one and two and the scratch winner of the grand final. Those qualifying for the grand final had been the first five in each category, plus the scratch winner, for each tournament held during the year.

The winners of the trip to the Mexican Caribbean were the two top finishers in category one and two and the scratch winner of the grand final. Those qualifying for the grand final had been the first five in each category, plus the scratch winner, for each tournament held during the year.

The first category winners were Juan David Carretero, who also won a trip to the Dominican Republic in 2018, and Fernando Vega. Salvador García and José Luis Rodríguez Rodríguez were the second category winners, and the scratch winner was Antonio Javier García. 

The prize consisted of a trip with flights and one-week stay on an all-inclusive basis, plus four rounds of golf at the three best courses in the area, Riviera Maya Golf Club, Playa Paraíso and El Camaleón (Mayakoba), just a few days before the start of a US PGA Tour event that had been held at the course for 12 years. So the group were able to play a course "in tournament conditions", prepared for the tour event that would be held just a week later.

The host hotel was Sian Ka´an of Bahia Principe Riviera Maya Resort, a five-star luxury hotel located halfway between Playa del Carmen and Tulum in a large complex that has three other magnificent hotels next to the beach and its own golf course. This course is now managed by Fernando Padrón, accompanied by all the experience accumulated during a long career. He was director of operations at Royal Valderrama for several years before heading to Mexico a few months ago.

Riviera Maya Golf Club surprised the Spanish expedition in a positive and pleasant way, for both its design and maintenance. The general comments were very complimentary about a course that extends into the dense jungle of the Yucatan and has quickly become one of the main flagships of Mexican golf.

In addition to this course, where two rounds were played, the group also played at two other great courses in Riviera Maya: Playa Paraíso and El Camaleón (Mayakoba).

Playa Paraíso Golf Club, part of the Iberostar hotel chain and less than an hour from Cancun, was designed by Paul Burke (P.B.) Dye in an incredible location, and it is recognised as one of his finest creations. This fantastic course has memorable holes. Its majestic undulating fairways (one of its main features), deep bunkers of fine sand, multiple tees and ingeniously structured and perfectly formed  greens make it a stimulating challenge for golfers. No one leaves indifferent: it is a course that stays in your memory, for its incredible beauty, perfection and degree of difficulty.

What can be said about El Camaleón (Mayakoba)? It is probably one of the best known courses in the world. Located next to the turquoise waters of the Caribbean, surrounded by channels and lagoons with crystalline waters bordering most of the fairways, sheltered by a tropical jungle and mangroves, this majestic course is rated as one of the most beautiful on the planet.

It was designed by one of the greatest golf stars of all time, Greg Norman, and was the first course to host a US PGA Tour tournament outside the United States and Canada. Located about 30 minutes south of Cancun and just 15 from Playa del Carmen, the course meanders through three different environments: rainforest, dense mangrove and sandy areas by the sea. As with Riviera Maya Golf Club, a cenote was incorporated into the heart of one of its fairways.

In addition to four intense days of scheduled golf there were another three “free days” for sea excursions, enjoying the beaches, swimming in the cenotes (thousands of "sinkholes in the middle of the jungle showcasing the fresh, transparent underground water) or visiting Mayan ruins.

Those who had never travelled to the area were especially impressed by the great beauty of the cenotes, unique in the world, and the majesty and history of the Mayan ruins of Tulum, Cobá and, especially, Chichen Itza, one of the better-preserved Mayan archaeological sites.

From the team at Andalucía Golf/España Golf, we would like to express our appreciation for the excellent welcome that Bahía Principe Riviera Maya Resort – one of the leading hotel chains in the Caribbean – gave us, and especially to Vanessa Vignali, corporate director of Bahía Principe Golf, who is always a pleasure to work with.

We also want to express our deep gratitude to the directors of Riviera Maya Golf Club Bahía Principe (Fernando Padrón), Playa Paraíso Golf Club (Greg Bond) and El Camaleón (David López Monar), for all the facilities they placed at our disposal, and the warm affection they showed us.

Unquestionably, a trip to remember for all of us, a large, well-attended and fun group that knew how to enjoy the experience to the fullest. And we were lucky: the weather was unbeatable.

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THE WINNERS

David Carretero

“I was fortunate to get to know the Riviera Maya area about three months ago during my bachelor party trip and I really wanted to play golf, as I had heard the courses were excellent. They have exceeded my expectations. It would be difficult to highlight any one of them because each has an aspect that makes it different from the rest. Wonderful golf courses, all of them 10s. Mayakoba as expected, spectacular, together with Playa Paraiso, which I loved. I want to make special mention of the Bahia Principe golf course because it has no reason to be envious of the other two. I am very grateful to have shared this week with everyone and to have been with such a nice group.”

José Luis Rodríguez

“We are very grateful for the magnificent week we have spent with you. I encourage all amateur golfers to participate in the 10th Andalucía Golf Challenge Circuit, to be able to enjoy the magnificent team you have and to travel to dream areas playing our favourite sport. It will be great to watch the PGA Tour event at Mayakoba on TV, and recall what we did on each hole.”

Fernando Vega

“The trip has been a very beautiful experience, both golfing and personal. We have played at some amazing courses and met fantastic people. Some good friends accompanied me on the trip. Furthermore, the organisation has been, in my opinion, great. We have not had any problem: you have worked hard to ensure that. I hope to participate again next year and, with some luck, I can repeat my victory and travel to the Dominican Republic.”

Antonio García Frías

“A dream prize for any golfer. Go to the Caribbean, with those beaches and those courses... I will be a fixture of the circuit in future editions.”

Salvador García Ramírez

“A gift and a great pleasure. My son accompanied me on the trip and we really enjoyed it. Unforgettable.”

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THE SPONSORS

Vanessa Vignalli: Corporate Director of Bahía Principe Golf

"Bahia Principe Golf was delighted to be side-by-side with Andalucía Golf magazine for a second year in a row, and to continue next year in the Dominican Republic. Thanks to this circuit, in October the five winners visited our Riviera Maya Resort with their companions, plus a group of golfing enthusiasts, in total more than 30 people who had the opportunity to see our Riviera Maya Golf Club course first-hand. The comments by everyone after their visit have been very positive about their experience in Bahia Principe.

“We will maintain our commitment to golf in Spain and to promoting our brand in Andalucía, one of the key markets. We hope that the winners of the next edition, and their companions, will also be delighted with their experience in the Dominican Republic. We are waiting for you with open arms."

Elena Cubero: CEO of EXXACON

“We are very satisfied and proud to have participated in this rewarding experience for all of us. The 2019 Andalucía Golf Challenge Circuit has been magnificent. Our projects, based on “Smart Living”, which unites design with environmental sustainability, are ideal for golfers. Most of our developments are within golf course complexes and are very appropriate for players such as those participating on this great Circuit.”

Javier Pérez-Ximénez: Head of REALE Golf in Andalucía

“REALE Seguros has made an important commitment to golf since 2007, the year we launched the design and marketing of specific products for the world of golf. We support the Andalucía Golf Challenge initiative because we believe that it is possibly one of the best circuits in Spain, and it combines the opportunity of playing at the finest courses with magnificent prizes.”

Stefan Tjellander: Chairman of Holiday Golf

“It has been a pleasure to collaborate with such an important circuit. Good atmosphere, the best courses, success in the number of entries, good playing level... Among the best circuits in Spain and Europe.”


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