The San Roque Club. High quality in 2 designs

Stephen Dundas, Project Manager of Golf Estates, tells us about the future of the company and the projects to be undergone, including the complete remodeling of the Club.

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What did Golf State see in The San Roque Club that made them decide to buy it?

We had looked at many projects between 2017-2019 in various parts of Spain but when we knew about San Roque being available, it was an easy decision. The club has such great history. The 13 tour schools, 2 Spanish opens, the official accommodation of the Ryder Cup in 1997 and of course the special relationship Seve had with the club and its previous owners. All of this combined with a passionate and committed membership made it an easy choice.

The club has undergone a major transformation, tell us about all these changes.

Yes, a huge transformation, especially during a pandemic. We did a complete renovation of the Old Course which included new drainage, irrigation, tree redevelopment, bunker development and new grass in all areas. we then reconstructed the golf academy bringing in the latest technology and we are now the home of the Jason Floyd Golf Academy. Last but not least was a total renovation of the club house including restaurant, golf shop, events area and locker rooms. All of this was done in 11 months.

The Old Course at The San Roque Club has been one of the most highly rated courses in Europe. Why did you decide to modify Dave Thomas’ original design? What are these improvements?

You are correct. It is one of the most valued and respected courses in Europe and for that reason we haven’t changed the routing of the course. However, yes, we have made some improvements to how the course will look and play. The first thing is the course will play firm and fast. The golf course in the past used to be a very wet course, not anymore. Secondly, we have created more space off the tee which will encourage players to use their driver more. The third thing is we took out 29 bunkers but the 40 we have remaining are more severe and more strategically placed. The final thing is the greens and the surroundings of the greens complexes. They are quite a few gentle run off areas if you miss the greens which will present you with various different options but basically the course is going to be fun from the tee but will be a challenging for your second shots and on and around the greens.

What is the experience golfers will find at The San Roque Club from now on?

We use a phrase, GATE TO GATE EXPERIENCE. This basically means that from the second you arrive to the minute you leave, the service and quality in all areas will be the best of the best. We want our members and guests to feel special, we want them to feel relaxed when they are here and we want them to have fun.

As for the partners, how have they handled the whole process and what are the plans for the future for them and the new ones?

Our existing members have been incredibly patient and supportive throughout the renovation process and during the Covid-19 situation. They even helped us during the construction to plant the grass. It was important to make them feel part of the project and as a result we now have a big board on the wall to entrance of the club with all the names of the members who helped. New memberships have gone very well. We starting selling in September 2019 and we have sold over 100 since then. this is something we are very proud of. At present we have 421 members. Our aim is to get to 550 and we expect to achieve this by summer 2022.

The marketing of a resort with two golf courses in such a competitive area requires a well-defined strategy, how are you working along these lines?

This is a great question. The plan that we had when we took over in 2019 in terms of marketing looks a little different now due to the pandemic. We are concentrating for the moment on the local market but I am happy to say that bookings for the second half of the year are looking good. We have done a lot of press articles locally and internationally that has given us a lot of exposure so I believe we are in a good position going forward.

In terms of accommodation, one of the improvements was to build a boutique hotel in Tony Jacklin’s former home. Tell us about this and whether the property is planning to build a hotel with more capacity to expand the resort.

For the moment, we have 1 villa that is available and we are building 4 more. We will have a 33 room boutique hotel plus a 2 bed apartment at the top of the clubhouse. Construction on all of this is due to start in September this year with a completion date of early 2023. This will give us accommodation for 110 people.

Once all these improvements have been completed, are there any plans for further improvements in the future?

We are always looking at interesting projects but it has to be something that we feel we can develop and improve and something that would fit with our existing portfolio of golf courses. There are many projects on the market at the moment but very few of them fit with what we are looking for.

Does The San Roque Club plan to host a professional tournament in the future?

No. From the very beginning we were very clear about this. I think having a big event is a good idea when you are a new product on the market and people haven’t heard of you but as you mentioned, San Roque is very well known and respected throughout Europe. It is also a very costly exercise with very little return and it is also very disruptive for the members who basically lose the use of their course for around 1 month.

If you had to define The San Roque Club in one sentence for someone who has never been there, which one would it be?

The San Roque Club is a place where you will be made to feel very welcomed, we offer a very friendly and efficient service with great quality facilities. The San Roque Club is a place where you will be very happy to come back and recommend it to your friends.

About The San Roque Club

The Japanese group Asahi Kanko was the owner of The San Roque Club since 1991. In 2019 Golf Estate, company that runs several golf courses in Russia, management the course.

Since then, Golf Estates has started a great project for San Roque Club. This course is with Valderrama and Real Club de Sotogrande part of the so-called Golf Gold Triangle and it has been one of the iconic itineraries in Sotogrande for decades, one of the most exclusive areas in the south of Europe.

The San Roque Club was designed by Dave Thomas and it is surrounded by beautiful oak tree hills. The Old Course of San Roque Club hosted important events such as the Final of the Classifying School of the European Circuit between 1993 and 2007 as well as two Spanish Opens in 2005 and 2006. This is a clear example of the quality of this course. The eighteen holes of the New Course are the perfect contrast to the Old Course. This second course was designed by Perry Dye and Seve Ballesteros.

 

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