How do you see your 15th anniversary, Kristoff?
Maintaining the standards of a course like ours means that we are constantly in a process of continuous improvement. We have never ceased to bring in changes to enhance the experience of our customers; but this year we have gone further, we are carrying out major changes. We are going to change the pro shop, which, while maintaining its character, will undergo two substantial improvements. Firstly, we will give it a more representative access (at present access is through the caddy master’s area). We are also going to give it a more functional design, renewing the flooring and fixtures to facilitate visitors’ shopping.
In addition to this, we are completely refurbishing all 18 greens of the course. Alcanada has always been characterised by fast, demanding greens. Over the past two years, having evaluated the experience of our clients, we have found that this aspect had suffered a slight downturn. For this reason we have decided on this major refurbishment so that the greens continue to be the watchword of Alcanada Golf.
We are also going to change the sand in the bunkers. To this we must add the replacement of 4kms of watering pipes.
From what we’re hearing, it is a large investment.
Indeed, this investment comes in at around 800,000 euros. At Alcanada, investment is always ongoing when it comes to the maintenance of our facilities so that they are always in an impeccable state. However, this investment is one of the most important carried out since the club was founded.
We undertake it with great enthusiasm and to carry it out in the best possible way we believe it is best to close the course between December 1st and February 28th of 2019. A real challenge! Several of the most well-known courses in Spain have done this over several stages, but we are doing it all in one go! It won’t be until 2019 when golfers can assess the refurbishment for themselves and fight the good fight on the greens that will once again demand their very best.
Congratulations Kristoff, your efforts to maintain excellence and also to care for the environment are laudable. Along these lines, we understand that you have edited a guide of the flora and fauna of the course.
Annually, in our maintenance programme, we review and improve access, paths, streams, dry-stone walls, as well as pruning, pest control and so on. This is both on the course itself and also on plots which border it, whether these are our responsibility or not. At the Alcanada Golf Club we understand that caring for the environment is something inherent to our activity and thus the values of sustainability and ecology.
This is why we thought that gathering information about the different species that can be found on the course in a guide was of the utmost interest. Therefore, we hired Martín Rebassa, a biologist and ornithologist from the L’albufera nature reserve, who did an excellent job. The guides are available in our store and are really popular.
We have noticed that all your buggies are powered with solar energy.
That’s true. This year, 2018, we have incorporated solar energy to all the vehicles being driven around the course. In Mallorca, we have many hours of sunshine and this was a commitment we had had for some time. In addition to low consumption, battery life is prolonged by a couple of years. In our organisation, the value we give to sustainability is a priority; we firmly believe that it is the course itself that should be interested in ecological values (and that’s the way it usually is).
Is it possible that this message is not understood by society?
Yes. I think we focus too much on communicating to people who play golf and fail when it comes to informing the general public about key issues. Players are already aware of the efforts made by courses to favour values. It is those who do not play who might not.
In other countries of the EEC, they are years ahead in this regard.
This and also sharing our respective experiences with our colleagues (who should not be seen as ‘the competition’) are without doubt two circumstances for reflection. As an example I would highlight the great work of the Association of Golf Course Managers, which, among other actions, has edited a book of ‘good practices’. Together we become more.
On a Balearic level, how do you see the health of our sport?
In terms of sport, excellent. Professionally, we still have a year with Luna Sobrón and Núria Iturrios as the golf elite. On the amateur level, the Balearic Golf Federation is doing a great job, as are the golf schools at the different courses. Balearic golf is among the best in our country. I might say I notice the absence of a greater implication through our educational system despite the fact that there have been some programmes such as the “School Golf Course”. This is another area where we are falling behind our European cousins.