On 2nd February we held the eighth Annual Gala of the Balearic Golf Federation at the Palacio de Congresos in Palma. The event was attended by the Mayor of Palma, Antoni Noguera, the President of the Royal Spanish Golf Federation, Gonzaga Escauriaza, and the President of the Balearic Federation, Bernardino Jaume.
As is traditional, the Gala recognized the merits of the winners of the 42 official competitions which were held in 2017. These had over 3,500 players, 350 more than in the competitions held in 2016. The event also enabled the federation to honour three personalities who have contributed to the development of golf in our community. On this occasion the special awards were for Odette Font, Spanish junior Champion for the second consecutive year; for Moon Sobrón, the first Balearic player on the LPGA Tour 2018 and Federico Knuchel, for his dedication to the Majorcan golf tourism industry when he was Chairman of the Association of Golf Courses of Majorca.
In addition, President Bernardino Jaume had words of appreciation for the support provided to local golf by institutions, organizations, corporate sponsors and the media. Likewise, he took stock of the events of 2017 and referred to the objectives and challenges of 2018.
Leaders in the growth of the number of licenses in 2017
In his speech, Bernardino Jaume wanted to emphasize a “magnificent piece of news” for golf in the Balearic Islands; “Our Federation has been the one which has grown the most in the whole of Spain as far as the number of Federal licenses is concerned. At the close the year 2017, we had more than 7,200 Federated Members, with more than 330 new members. This amounts to an average of almost one new member every day last year. After football and basketball federations, we are the Federation with the highest number of licenses in the Balearic Islands. This fact really motivates us to continue on the same path.” Along similar lines, the creation of the Women’s Committee was mentioned, with a tour of three tournaments exclusively for women. Also worth mention was the implementation of the beginner’s tour by the Youth Committee. Moreover, the President of the Balearic Federation recalled the commitment of the Board to continue working so that golf becomes better known in society. “Under the label #golfparatodos, the Federation has been carrying out several projects with this aim; the launch of the School Golf Programme, different types of golf lessons for groups, the baptism in golf for journalists and influencers, the creation of the guide for the members club with a discount card, the new magazine, including the strengthening of social networks and the newsletters.
Golf and tourism, golf and the environment
Jaume also emphasized the close relationship between golf and tourism. “Thousands of tourists visit our islands to enjoy our sport throughout the year, including the low season. This means that golf contributes to deseasonalizing tourism in our islands and to transforming tourism into one of quality”.
In this sense, data from the Majorcan Hotel Business Federation and the CAEB refer to the fact that golf tourism generates annual revenues in the Balearic Islands of about 161 million euros. Similarly, according to data provided by the Spanish Federation, the average daily expenditure of tourists who come to the Balearic Islands to play golf amounts to 205 euros. Most of them come from Germany, United Kingdom, Sweden and Denmark, and they usually stay at four and five-star hotels.
From the point of view of the environment, the President said; “I want to thank those responsible for the golf courses on the Balearic Islands, for their efforts to make them environmentally sustainable and for the investments that they make to this end and for their sensitivity to this matter. We must continue our efforts in this respect and, at the same time, work to make people aware of our commitment to our land and environmental sustainability”.
A great challenge for the future
Finally, Bernardino Jaume publicly remarked on a great challenge for the Federation and for Balearic golf. The Balearics deserve to have a tournament on the European calendar, in the same way that the European calendar deserves to pass through Mallorca. It is an ambitious goal, a difficult and complicated challenge, but I am convinced that if institutions, the Federation, companies, clubs and courses work together, we can achieve it.”
After the prize-giving and special awards, there was a finger food buffet, in addition to a charity raffle in aid of Balearic branch of the Spanish Association against Cancer, which raised 4,500 euros that the Federation subsequently donated to this entity.