The endangered new golf courses in Andalusia

The Junta compromises the construction of golf courses in Andalusia.

The present regulation of golf in Andalusia, without precedent in Europe, concerns all the new golf courses, accompanied or not of housings, which have not concluded before February, 2008. As well as to the built golf courses that will have to adapt to the new requirements. The controversial decree, in the intention of promoting only the implantation of golf courses for the best tourism, generates a collateral damage that compromises the future of the golf in Andalusia. The decree allows the construction of residential complexes around a golf course only when the autonomous administration declares the golf course of tourist interest. The new condition contains an enormous complexity with a lot of technical requirements of design, tourist arrangements, and environmental and economic considerations. To get the approval it is necessary to involve many professionals that carry great economic expenses. But the worst is that the new norm does not regulate the criteria of the number of housings that the declaration could grant to the promoter. In Ignacio García’s words, “The decree has killed the known development around the golf courses and endangered construction of new facilities in Andalusia”.

The crisis of the brick and the golf decree finish with the panacea of the golf in Andalusia.

The projects that combine golf, hotel and urbanization of luxury, stimulated by promoters and mayors during the past decade, were the remedy of the problems of the municipal economies in Andalusia. But in only four years, the initiatives have stopped crowding on the table of the offices of the town halls to remain relegated, at best, to the locker. It is the end of a model of development.

Two simultaneous factors have put the end to the panacea of the golf: the economic crisis and the regulatory decree of the sector in Andalusia. The value of the brick that before was making the investments profitable in golf has collapsed in four years, and the banks that long ago were granting money to baskets, now they do not want to talk about urban development projects. There is no profitability, there is no financing.

The decree of golf approved in Andalusia on February, 2008, after eight years of cabalas and delays, establishes technical and environmental strict requirements for the projects with an objective double: that the golf course does not turn into an excuse to qualify plots of land and to sell houses – or “macro-resorts accompanied of a garden on little holes”, said the Presidency´s counselor at the time, Mr. Zarrías-. And that the Andalusian Government reserves the last word on every project across a “technical commission of qualification” formed by representatives of diverse Councils. Nevertheless, four years after the approval of the decree, there is no golf course constructed with the approval of this commission, information that gives an idea of the break that suffers the sector.

The president of the Andalusian Federation of Golf, Ángel de la Riva, holds that the regulation includes parameters that are dissuading many promoters. “It is not possible to reproduce the situation in which everyone that had a bit of hand in a town hall was managing to do a golf course with thousands of housings, but it is not possible to demand the promoter of golf the construction of a hotel in all cases”, De la Riva said to the press. “Only the maintenance of a golf course needs an average of 2 and a half millions of Euros per year”. In the same information, the president of the Federation wishes that the norm “should be perfected” soon. Meanwhile, with the crisis and the decree, the revision of the situation of the sector offers the next panorama: the promoters are not ready yet to propose the construction of new golf courses in Andalusia.


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