Last weekend’s Solheim Cup, held at the Finca Cortesin course, was one of the most thrilling golf tournaments in recent years. The European team staged a thrilling fighback to tie 14-14 with the US women, ensuring they retained the title.
The venue was packed, with King Felipe VI flying in add his support, and he was photographed with Marbella mayor Ángeles Muñoz. Muñoz commented that the tournament had been great PR for the coast in general with “the exceptional image that the Costa del Sol has shown in millions of homes around the world.
“Marbella has always been a destination closely associated with golf and its brand and the Solheim Cup has reinforced this connection at an international level”.
While the VIPs and dignatories (who were no doubt whisked around in private cars to special hospitality areas) may have enjoyed the experience, it was soon clear that many, including the international media, did not.
Too many spectators will have returned home having endured a less than satisfactory experience. There were ridiculous queues for understocked food outlets and no potable water for refill bottles... In truth, it was not fit for purpose.BBC website
The BBC was scathing in its criticism “This Solheim Cup was certainly one of the best we have witnessed. But too many spectators will have returned home having endured a less than satisfactory experience. There were ridiculous queues for understocked food outlets and no potable water for refill bottles. Early in the week many recounted stories of having food, drink and suncream confiscated by security on arrival.
“There was little shade for respite from the hot weather and while the course offered spectacular holes and views, navigating it on foot was far too difficult. In truth, it was not fit for purpose.
Spectators were frequently caught in bottleneck logjams moving from one hole to the next. The appointed taxi system to ferry fans to and from the course, sitting high in the hills overlooking the Costa del Sol, was a shambles. There were no public transport options and even stories of spectators having to walk miles back to Estepona.
US media contended that Finca Cortesin was “running out of food, coffee, water” for fans and the event was “completely oversold with nowhere near enough seating for the number of people here”
No Laying Up co-founder Todd Schuster: “At a time that feels like an inflection point for the ladies game, we’re instead talking about this debacle + insulting television coverage (whether you’re in the UK or US), a poorly-designed golf course (both objectively and subjectively). What an own goal
Getty Images photographer David Cannon: “So sad to see mass exodus of crowds from @SolheimCup at @FINCACORTESIN after nine holes this afternoon. Great golf course but horrific for the movement of crowds and pretty horrific to work at too! Somehow I fear the venue is not fit for purpose for spectators! Such a shame
Freelance reporter Carolyn Scott: “It’s such a shame! Because the fans have made the atmosphere incredible. The course is spectacular. The golf is amazing. But it feels like they’ve prepared for 10,000 people while selling 100,000 tickets”.