Q&A With Francisco de Lancastre David, Finca Cortesin General Manager
Finca Cortesin in Spain will play host to the Solheim Cup this September 23-25, marking the first time this duel between teams from Europe and USA teams will occur on Spanish soil. TROON Magazine spoke exclusively to Francisco David, the resort’s general manager, golf and leisure operations, to celebrate six months to go before the event kicks off.
TROON: You have spent 17 years in the golf industry, including positions held in Portugal and Dubai. Tell us about your love affair with Finca Cortesin considering this is your second tenure at the property?
FRANCISCO DAVID: Throughout my career I have been fortunate to have spent time at some of the most renowned properties in Portugal, Spain, and the UAE, both in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Finca Cortesin, where I previously held the position of Director of Golf back in 2015 and 2016, is a very special place. The vision of ownership is very clear: to make sure everyone is aligned towards making it one of the leading resorts in Europe. From the spectacular hotel to the quality of our real estate, and the amazing golf course designed by Cabell B. Robinson, Finca Cortesin is certainly amongst the very best resorts you can visit and experience.
Having only recently partnered with Troon at the end of 2022, can you tell our readers a little more about Finca Cortesin?
Finca Cortesin is a resort set on a 215-hectare (531-acre) estate surrounded by undisturbed nature. The resort is centered around six main areas of business: an award-winning hotel; exceptional real estate; a championship-caliber golf course that hosted the Volvo World Match Play in 2009, 2011 and 2012, and will host the 2023 Solheim Cup; an outstanding spa and leisure facilities; a magnificent Beach Club; and an exclusive shopping area. We are located in one of the most sought-after areas in Southern Spain, close to Marbella and Sotogrande, and only 50 minutes from the Malaga International Airport.
What are your main responsibilities on a day-to-day basis as general manager?
My main responsibilities are to oversee the Golf and Resort Leisure business on behalf of the ownership. Working alongside a dedicated team, we ensure the resort delivers the highest standard of service while achieving our financial goals. Our Resort Leisure business has grown substantially in the past few years as our real estate business has expanded, and we deliver a dedicated and personalized array of services to our property owners, from concierge and property rental services to facility maintenance and landscape services — a fully integrated resort living service.
Are there any significant course enhancements happening prior to the event?
Our team, led by head greenkeeper Ignacio Soto, has worked over the past couple years on some projects to further enhance the course. We are fortunate that it is already of championship standard and not a lot of changes have been required. However, we made a few minor changes to several key areas, including the bunkers and irrigation system, to enhance the overall conditioning and playability across the layout.
Where will the players stay and is there any major grandstands and hospitality set-ups?
Both teams will stay at the resort in our hotel. This was a fundamental reason behind us being awarded the Solheim Cup as we wanted all the players to experience the resort and enjoy our hospitality during the event. As for the hospitality, the promoter of the event, Deporte & Business, are planning to set up large marquee areas on the Nos. 1, 16, and 17, where all the major action is set to be showcased.
What attendance do you expect for the tournament?
The promoter and different stakeholders involved in orchestrating the ticket sales are very happy with the performance generated up to this point. Approximately 50,000 tickets have been sold so far throughout the week, so they are expecting tickets to be sold out by September.
With such a vast number of visitors into the region, the economic impact must be significant for local stakeholders.
The region is already an extremely sought-after tourist destination, and events such as these help to elevate its status even more. The economic impact for the region during the week of the event will be tremendous, but it will also help to create a major legacy for the region in the years to come as well.
With your local knowledge, what activities and experiences would you recommend to spectators visiting the tournament?
Andalucia and the Costa del Sol are some of the best regions to visit in Europe, as you can combine rich cultural visits with terrific beaches, lifestyle, and some of the best golf courses in the world. Certainly, it is a destination that has much to offer and one that will keep fans entertained both on and off the course during the Solheim Cup.