The Managing Director at Finca Cortesín, Vicente Rubio, and the General Manager, Golf and Leisure, Francisco de Lancastre, speak in this interview about key aspects related to the major international women's golf event that the acclaimed Costa del Sol resort will host next year: the Solheim Cup.
This biennial tournament – the women's equivalent of the Ryder Cup – which pits the best players from the United States and Europe against each other will be played in September 2023. Bearing in mind Finca Cortesín's experience of hosting top-level golf events (it was the venue for three editions of the Volvo World Match Play Championship), as well as its first-class facilities and excellent customer service, the success of the next Solheim Cup is more than assured.
In order to make this dream come true, holding the 2023 Solheim Cup here, it has been necessary to count on the collaboration and support of many public and private institutions. What is your assessment of this joint effort? Do you feel satisfied with what has been achieved and with your relationship with the institutions? Have they been easy?
We feel extremely lucky to have a very good relationship with many of the partners involved in the organisation of the event including xxxx, xxxx, and xxxx. It has been important to develop these relationships so that the best possible experience can be created for all during next year’s Solheim Cup. We will continue working closely with the event promoters, Deporte & Business, over the next 12 months to make sure everything is in place and ready ahead of the first tee shot.
In your opinion, what have been the most important aspects that prompted the LET to choose the Finca Cortesín resort as the venue for the 2023 Solheim Cup?
We are extremely proud to be hosting such a prestigious event as the Solheim Cup. It has taken many years of planning since the resort was first opened in 2006 to get into the position of being able to host global tournaments. There will be many characteristics and qualities that the Ladies European Tour look for in their assessment when choosing who will host the event.
In my opinion, the resort has one of the best golf courses, not only in the region, but in Europe, with many features that are suited to top-action match play golf. However, unlike many other facilities that might have been vying to host the event, Finca Cortesín also provides first-class leisure facilities with a world-class hotel, restaurants and spa facilities. The opportunity of having everything the players will need on-site is unprecedented and would certainly have been a big bonus in helping Finca to be awarded the host status.
Do you see any parallels or differences between the 2023 Solheim Cup and the 1997 Ryder Cup? Both on a sporting level and in terms of the worldwide repercussion and image positioning of the Costa del Sol’s golf options?
I’m sure the 2023 Solheim Cup will have many parallels with the 1997 Ryder Cup at Valderrama. In a similar fashion, it will help to showcase everything that the Costa del Sol has to offer and hopefully drive an influx of new golfers to the area. However, the event next year will also have the opportunity to create its own legacy that focuses on inspiring and driving participation among women and girls in the region and throughout Spain. Our aim is to see more female golfers representing Spain on the global tours in the near future.
Finca Cortesín has always been firmly committed to women's golf. Could this tournament be for you the culmination of a policy that has been followed since the club's origins? What other initiatives do you have planned in this respect?
Finca Cortesín has always been committed to raising awareness for women’s golf in Spain. In recent years, we have been devoted to supporting a number of young and up-and-coming domestic players at a professional level. The resort currently has three ambassadors – Nuria Iturrioz, Noemí Jiménez Martin and Laura Gómez – who represent Finca across the globe on the Ladies European Tour.
We are also proud to announce that Marta Figueras-Dotti has been made an honorary member at the resort. As Spain’s first ever female professional golfer, she is an inspiration to many of the current domestic players on the LET and LPGA Tours. Her affiliation with both the Ladies European Tour and the Solheim Cup is second-to-none and we are proud to have her as part of everything that Finca Cortesín aspires to be. She has also played a key role in the 2023 Solheim Cup being played in Spain.
What do you think will most surprise the players at the 2023 venue, and the spectators?
I think many of the players will be surprised at how convenient it will be to access all the facilities at the resort. By staying on-site, it will take them only minutes to get from their rooms to the golf course or the practice facilities during the tournament. They will also have the opportunity to relax and seek down time between matches with the team rooms set up in the hotel, while the restaurant and leisure facilities will also be accessible.
From a spectator’s perspective I think it will be the best Solheim Cup that has ever been held. Fans will have the opportunity to see the world’s best female golfers up close and personal, with plenty of entertainment set to take place across the three days on the course. Those attending the event will also be able to visit many of the iconic landmarks and attractions that the Costa del Sol has to offer, as well as take advantage of the warm climate that the region experiences throughout the majority of the year.
FRANCISCO DE LANCASTRE
We are just a year away from the Solheim Cup being played at Finca Cortesín. How do you think it has influenced the positioning of the club at a global level to have been chosen as the venue for this transcendental event for golf in Andalucía and Spain?
Hosting the Solheim Cup is a huge honour for everyone associated with Finca Cortesín. Having the opportunity to host the event in Spain for the first time is an amazing achievement and one that will certainly help to propel both the resort and golf in the area to the next level.
As well as showcasing the world-class golfing facilities at the resort, we are also keen to highlight to people watching around the world and those attending in person the incredible experience that the Costa del Sol offers. There is still a lot of hard work that needs to be put in between now and the event getting underway next year, but we will be ready for the first tee shot and deliver the best Solheim Cup ever.
Finca Cortesín was designed and created as a project at the highest level, suitable and ideal for hosting major tournaments such as the Volvo World Match Play Championship. Do you think that holding the Solheim Cup here is going to provide a definitive boost to position the course as one of the great courses in Europe?
The golf course at Finca Cortesín is already one of the most highly regarded in Europe, having previously hosted other high-profile events such as the Volvo Match Play Championship on three occasions. However, the Solheim Cup will definitely help to further elevate the positioning of the course and highlight its key features and characteristics to millions of people watching around the world.
It will be amazing to see the golf course once it is ready for the Solheim Cup beginning in 12 months’ time. Since the opening of the resort in 2006, Finca Cortesín has always aimed towards hosting an event of this calibre.
Does the course need or are you going to make any renovations or changes in order to host the Solheim Cup?
There are a few major upgrades that will be taking place between now and the start of the Solheim Cup next year. Many areas of the golf course will be focused on to make sure everything is ready. The maintenance team led by Ignacio Soto has been focused on improving visibility for spectators during the event, and obviously also improving all aspects of the course’s presentation that we can in the lead up to the event.
Why do you think that the course design by Cabell B. Robinson is perfect for a competition like the Solheim Cup?
The course is set up perfectly for match play golf. It is not too long so there will definitely be lots of scoring opportunities and potential for players to shoot birdies throughout their matches. There will certainly be entertainment from a fan’s perspective as there are quite a few reachable par-5s, in addition to drivable par-4s that will bring out the best in the players.
Players will have to attack the course as it will take birdies and not pars to win holes during the matches. However, it will also present a challenge for the players, as many of the greens will be fast, so they’ll need to be accurate with their approach shots to make sure scoring opportunities are achievable.
What do you see as the main strengths of your course and resort?
The golf course will bring about lots of entertainment, with many of the matches set to be completed around the closing holes such as from the 15th onwards. In terms of the resort, we are hoping to provide both teams with the best possible hospitality throughout the week. Both sets of players will be staying in the hotel and have access to all the dining and leisure facilities when away from the course. Our aim is to showcase the very best of Finca Cortesín to everyone throughout the duration of the event.