La Cala Golf Resort, Costa del Sol
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La Cala Golf Resort, Costa del Sol
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The new opening hole is a reachable par 4 where players face the challenge of landing their shot on the green straight from the tee – while the tee box will now be surrounded by a grandstand that will host over a thousand spectators, creating a hugely exciting atmosphere.
The Solheim Cup, the equivalent of the Ryder Cup for the women’s game, is a biennial team tournament which sees Europe and USA doing battle over three days of competition. The 2023 tournament will be its 18th edition and will take place from 22 to 24 September.
Hole 1 of the event is one of the most exciting moments in golf where the atmosphere and decibels created by the European and American fans with their chants, music and colours provide a fantastic spectacle.
For this reason, the three parties involved in the organisation of the event: Ladies European Tour, Deporte & Business and Finca Cortesin, agreed that the first hole of the 2023 Solheim Cup should be a place where a large number of fans could gather, and at the same time be a challenge for the players.
That place existed, but it was at hole 4, not the original hole 1 of the golf course. So the team at Finca Cortesin, along with Vicente Rubio, its Managing Director, got to work to make the necessary changes.
The new 1st hole at Finca Cortesin is now a 256 metre (280 yard) par 4, with a large lake on the left side of a narrow fairway that reaches the entrance to a large but lively green.
“It is a good decision to have made this change,” said Rubio. “The characteristics of the new hole 1 will allow us more than a thousand people over the tee, which will make for a great atmosphere. I think it’s the perfect hole to start a Solheim Cup.
“This hole is, as they say, a risk and reward hole. Players can either try to reach the green with one shot or play more conservatively. The design of the hole and the great difference in height between the tee and the green will make it a spectacle, and I have no doubt that it will be a success.”
Among those to have already tested the new hole is Suzann Pettersen, the European captain who featured in nine Solheim Cups as a player and two as vice-captain. She knows very well what it feels like to take that first shot.
“The sensations you experience have nothing to do with other moments you can experience in golf, like leading a major, because in this tournament you don’t just play for yourself, you do it for your teammates, for your team,” said Pettersen. “You put all your heart in it and you want to give your best. That first tee of the Solheim Cup is all adrenaline and energy.”
Stacy Lewis, the American captain, also had the opportunity to check out the new opening hole at Finca Cortesin and did not hesitate to praise it, saying: “I don’t think we’ve ever had a hole 1 like this in the Solheim Cup. You can reach the green but the water comes into play quite a lot”.
Lewis added that the stands around the newly shaped tee box will create a superb atmosphere: “It’s like an amphitheatre. The stands are going to be high up, practically above you, which will make the public feel very close. It’s definitely a great hole for the Solheim Cup.”
Finca Cortesin is one of Europe’s premier destinations for golfers, with world-class facilities that includes the 5-star Hotel Cortesin, the state-of-the-art Jack Nicklaus Academy and the superb 18-hole championship golf course.
Designed by world renowned architect Cabell Robinson, it’s regarded as one of the top 10 courses in Spain and one of the best in Europe. It has previously staged three Volvo World Match Play Championships, from 2009 to 2012.
Read more: Solheim Cup heads to Finca Cortesin in 2023