You were the first Treasurer of the Federation Balear. How do you remember those times?
I had the honour of being one of the founding partners of the Federation (1978) and served as Treasurer. I remember it fondly, since there was great enthusiasm, as golf in those days was not so commercialized and there were only two clubs: Son Vida and Son Servera. Golf was not as well-known as it became after the appearance of Severiano Ballesteros. On the other hand, golf tourism was in its infancy. Clubs had a very intense social life. For example, after a tournament, the players would eat at the club, where they would spend the whole day. There was a lot of privacy and a pleasant atmosphere. That has been lost little by little, in part by the increase in the number of courses. Golf has changed in many ways, some for the better and others for the worse.
You have always been a big supporter of golf in the Balearic Islands. What is the situation nowadays?
There are two aspects. Golf as a sport and as a tourist activity. In the sporting aspect, some clubs are promoting and encouraging the youth academy. Here, we find Luna Sobrón, Nuria Iturrios, Odette Font and Toni Ferrer as references. In this sense, the training of players, Son Servera Golf Club has played a very important role. Regarding the other aspect, I would say that in low season, golf is a really important tourist offer and it helps to deseasonalise tourism.
How do you see golf in the next five years?
Except for unforeseen events, I see a gradual, sustained growth of around 5% per year in terms of tourists that visit us for golf purposes. That also implies the need to further improve facilities and services of golf courses, in order to be at the level of the competitors we have. In Spain, the east Coast and the Costa del Sol. Internationally, the south of Portugal and, above all, the Mediterranean coast of Turkey, although due to its geopolitical situation it has seen a drop in the number of golf tourists. Comparing prices, Spain, to play golf, is much more expensive than Turkey. On the other hand, Majorca offers a wide variety of attractions for the tourist including; history, culture, gastronomy ,shopping and much more.
What does golf mean in the life of Federico Knuchel?
Firstly, I have always practiced sports. I cannot imagine my life without sport. I currently still play golf, because it is a sport that, unlike others, you can practice for many years. In my heyday I was handicap 8. What is more, it has allowed me to make good friends over the years. In terms of health I feel great, and I attribute part of that fact to the practice of golf. In short, golf has given me a lot. From 2010 to 2017 I was also President of the Association of Golf Courses in Mallorca, which is dedicated mainly to promoting the island as a golf destination. Currently, I’m still the President of the Alcanada Golf, since 2002, after having participated in its laborious and complicated development.