TAKING issue with Andrew Ede Sunday 28th November - “ Crazy Golf - Too many courses in the Balearics”, Andrew Ede appears to be upset at the lack of local golfers on our golf courses, drawing the conclusion that there are too many courses for the local players.

That's like saying there are too many hotels for the locals to stay in.

Most of the golf courses were never built with local golfers in mind. They were built for the industry that is Golf Tourism.

The same industry that many Mediterranean countries either have already developed or are trying rapidly to catch up - Turkey being a good example.

At the beginning of 2000 there were five courses in the Palma area and four in the north east corner around Arta. Consequently golf tourism was split between these two zones. Over the last ten years the courses in the south have more than doubled in number hence the focus of golf tourism, and most of its benefits have been south centered.

Ask hotels like the Marina Portals, Son Caliu, Magalluf Park, Antillas, to name a few how their spring and autumn occupancy would fare without golf tourism.

The conclusion from this is the north of the island needs more courses if its going to be a viable golf tourism area. One 18 and one 9 hole (Alcanada and Pollensa) simply are not enough. More courses will attract holiday golfers, which will encourage hotels to open longer, which will encourage bars and restaurants to open longer.

Those services should then focus on developing the other areas which complement golf in being out of season attractions. I am thinking especially of cycling, bird watching, and walking - all of which are ideal for the north of the island.

The Palma area is now well established on the golf tourism map, the north will continue to lag behind until the imbalance of course numbers is addressed.

Andrew, an empty golf course is far more attractive than an empty hotel. The flora and fauna is happy to take advantage of the recycled water used by law at all the courses nowadays.

Its a shame we can't make the tourists drink it too.

John Little


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