PGA Catalunya Resort, the world-class golf venue near Barcelona, is to undergo significant upgrades to its award-winning Stadium Course, as part of a three-year partnership with The European Tour that will see the Qualifying School Final Stage held at the acclaimed 36-hole resort until at least 2014.
Work on the Stadium Course, which was the venue for the 2009 Open de España, won by France's Thomas Levet, and which was recently ranked the number one course in Spain by the Top 100 Golf Courses of the World website (www.top100golfcourses.co.uk), is already underway, and includes:
• Construction of seven new championship tees, lengthening the course by approximately 200 yards (currently 7,172 yards, par 72)
• Toughening up the iconic, lakeside 3rd green by tapering rough to make a narrower entrance, and extending the back of the green into the lake to bring the water more into play
• Lowering the cut of the rough around the expansive par-3 11th green to collar length, to create more of an island green
• Planting 10 large cork trees to the right of the 18th fairway to add definition and tighten the landing area
• Adding green-guarding bunkers to create more challenging approaches on selected holes
The project follows an extensive upgrade in 2010/11 when the grass type on the fairways was switched to resilient, drought-resistant Bermuda grass - the same variety used at Augusta National, home of the Masters.
PGA Catalunya Resort's Stadium Course was designed in 1997 by Neil Coles MBE and Angel Gallardo, respectively the Chairman and Vice Chairman of The European Tour's Board of Directors. The two former European Tour winners were invited to review the course and oversee the project.
Mike Stewart, The European Tour's Qualifying School Director, said: "PGA Catalunya Resort's reputation speaks for itself - and is among the very best golf venues that The European Tour visits. The quality of its Tour and Stadium courses, as well as its facilities, is reflected in the numerous Qualifying School Final Stage events that have taken place here.
"As part of our three-year agreement with PGA Catalunya Resort to host the Qualifying School Final, we are delighted that the club has commited to build on its new status as Spain's best golf course and its suitability to host world-class tournaments by upgrading the Stadium Course."
David MacLaren, Director of Property and Venue Development at The European Tour, added: "Since it was first conceived, PGA Catalunya Resort's Stadium Course was built for greatness - and seeing it secure its place among Golf World's 'Top 100 Courses of the World' has been of huge importance to The European Tour.
"Over the years, our relationship with PGA Catalunya Resort has grown into an enriching and multi-faceted one, with both parties working increasingly together to drive the development of the venue into a truly world-class resort."
The Stadium Course has received numerous accolades since it opened in 1999: it was named in Golf World magazine's list of the 'Top 100 Courses in the World' in 2011, and was also included in Golf Monthly magazine's ranking of the 'Top 50 Courses in Continental Europe'.
Julio Delgado, Chief Executive of PGA Catalunya Resort, said: "The Stadium Course has attracted thousands of amateur golfers, professionals and international stars who have all fallen in love with the course - just like the designers themselves.
"The European Tour's continued commitment to PGA Catalunya Resort, and in particular to the critically-acclaimed Stadium Course, has enabled us to deliver on our promise of making PGA Catalunya Resort one of the world's finest golf resorts."
For more information about PGA Catalunya Resort visit www.pgacatalunya.com.