Doña Lucia Golf in Estepona (Costa del Sol) is one of the few golf courses currently under construction in Spain. The course was designed by Stirling & Martin, of Global Golf Company, and is being built by one of Spain’s top international golf course construction companies, GTM Golf. The company recently completed Trump International Dubai, owned by the US president.
Most of GTM Golf’s professional staff and management team are from Jersa, formerly one of Spain’s leading construction companies.
“Doña Lucía is indeed one of the few courses currently being built in Spain,” confirms Carlos Gallegos, head of GTM’s marketing department. “In fact, it is the only 18-hole course under construction, as most of the others are renovation or expansion projects, whereas in this case the work is being undertaken almost from zero.”
The project dates to 2006. “Jersa began building it,” explains Gallegos, “but it remained on standby because of the crisis. Last year the developer Azata, owner of the land and real estate development, decided to re-launch the project and they contracted us to carry out the work because, in reality, we are the ones who initiated it more than 10 years ago.
“At the time, the course design was slightly more difficult, but now Stirling & Martin have re-designed the layout so it is more interesting and attractive for the average player. I also believe it will be much more enjoyable.
“GTM Golf was set up in 2011, but most of its team are from Jersa, which was affected by the crisis, like the majority of construction companies. The new company not only comprises Jersa’s technicians, specialists and professionals but has also brought on board its know-how and the experience of having built 67 golf courses.
“It hasn’t been easy entering the market again,” admits Gallegos, “but bit by bit, and doing things well, we are once again on the right path.”
- In addition to this course, Doña Lucía Golf, you have recently also completed some other important projects…
- That’s true. Between 2013 and 2014, as Spain was paralysed, we decided to position ourselves overseas and seek opportunities outside our borders. It was during this period when we were commissioned for Trump International Dubai, designed by Gil Hanse and owned by the US president. I think it’s one of the best courses we’ve built. It was a difficult job, with a lot of pressure, including from the media, but the final result was very good. It has just been inaugurated, and everyone describes the course as spectacular.
- What was it like building in Dubai? Did you need to take specialist staff and workers there?
- We sent all our specialists, project managers, etc., from here: the other non-specialist staff we contracted there though a local partner. We monitored and managed the work.
- How many people did you move to Dubai?
- Up to 20 people during the critical moments, and each of them was responsible for another 20 or so workers. We had 300 at one stage.
- In Spain you have also completed some major projects during this time…
- We’ve done a lot of course renovations and remodelling. To highlight one… La Zagaleta, the renowned Costa del Sol urbanisation which has two courses. They commissioned us to completely remodel the Old Course and, with the help of all those involved, we achieved a magnificent result.
Around this same time, we revamped the bunkers and green fringes at La Reserva de Sotogrande, which was a particularly challenging task because we had to complete it in a short period of time and with the course open for play. Right now we are focusing on the Doña Lucía project.
- At what stage is this project?
- It’s quite advanced. First of all we had to repair what had been done in 2006 because it was extremely deteriorated, and then we had to move a huge amount of earth to adapt the plot to the design changes: shape new fairways, eliminate some of the bunkers… Soon we will begin work on re-overlaying the sand and we hope to be able to re-seed at the start of summer.
Once the seeding is completed, the course will be ready to continue with the grow-in during one year. We hope it will be ready for play in mid-2018.
- Do you have any other work on the horizon?
- We have several projects pending, in both the short and long term. We were recently contracted to complete a major reform at Royal Pineda in Sevilla. It will be a very interesting project, as we will be renovating the irrigation system, bunkers, lakes, pathways, tees, greens… and all under the direction of Acttua Golf Services, the same engineering company we worked with on the La Zagaleta renovation.
Below, La Zagaleta, La Reserva and Trump International Dubai