A historic meeting recently took place at La Reserva de Sotogrande with Manuel Pinero the Captain of the Spanish men’s Olympic golf team. Manuel Pinero was the winner of two World Cups (also including one as the leading individual), the 1985 Ryder Cup, nine European Tour titles and five Spanish Championships. He is an icon of Spanish and international golf. Manuel recently moved to Sotogrande too become part of a major project. The goal of Mr Pinero is to transform La Reserva, one of our most prestigious golf clubs, into one of the most prestigious and exclusive Golf Clubs in Europe.
George O’Grady, President of International Relations of the European Tour, José María Olazábal, Sergio García, José María Cañizares as well as the captains of the teams of Belgium, Philippe Relecom; Portugal, Joao Coutinho; Italy, Gianlua Crespi and Denmark, Claus Moelholm attended the meeting to highlight the “crucial “importance of Olympic Golf.
“It will be a historic turning point that will enable us to reach new generations of golfers and countries which are unthinkable right now”, said Olazábal. Special mention was made of Severiano Ballesteros, “who did more than anyone else for European Golf,” said Piñero. “The Spanish team will carry Seve’s image on their equipment, “We want to make it very clear that we are there representing him,” he added. “In Spain we must never forget the likes of the Miguel brothers, Ángel and Sebastián or Ramón Sota and, of course, Severiano Ballesteros, who did more than anyone else for European golf.“Seve is the real Captain, for his spirit and for his understanding of golf. Sergio and I agree that we will carry his image on our uniform, as we want to make it clear that we are there representing him.
“As well as Seve, we have Olazábal with us, his eternal friend and team partner. I am here replacing the replacement, and I told José María that I will step back and hand him the captaincy should his health improve in the next few months. I also want to thank Sergio García, who represents the new generation of golfers that are raising our sport to increasingly higher levels. “I have told the players to prepare for the Olympics the same as they would for a Major – they know what to do. From the opening ceremony on August 5th to the start of golf on the 11th, we will have plenty of time to study the course. I know that the players have to carry their sponsors’ marks but I would like them to wear the same colours, and, as I said, Seve will be present on their equipment.”
I have been fortunate enough to become friends with Mr Pinero and I have witnessed the changes that have been made at La Reserva GC over the last few years. La Reserva has a special place in my heart. It is ranked in my Top 3 golf courses in the world and also holds fond memories for me. I caddied during the NH collection Open, hosted and commentated for the Gecko Tour at their tour championship final and and The Ernie Els for Autism Charity golf day there a few years ago. Most recently I was working at La Reserva during the MENA Tour’s Sotogrande Masters.
With Mr Pinero’s input I have witnessed the clubhouse transform into what can only be described as a palace fit for a king. The golf course is in world class condition all year round with shiny white marble sand bunkers glistening on the velvet carpet like fairways. Not a hair is out of place on this majestical golf course. I am really pleased to see that the same old friendly faces are still at the “New” La Reserva. Jesus, the friendliest man in the world is still behind the bar with all the amazing catering staff and David and the boys are still driving out to collect your clubs when you park. If anything Mr Pinero’s arrival at La Reserva has made the club feel more alive and awake. I am positive that the vision of Mr Pinero and Sotogrande SA to make La Reserva worthy of hosting a future European event is a foregone conclusion. With Olympics just around the corner and the captain of our Spanish national team also at the help of my favourite golf club in the world, I suspect it should create massive local interest. I will be writing about it anyway.