Cuban Yanet Méndez was the winner with handicap advantage of the 12th edition of the international elite event Cuba Golf Grand Tournament, which from October 27 to 29 brought together in Varadero fifty players from Canada, the United States, Argentina, France, Spain, Ireland, Nigeria and the host country.
Sponsored by the Cuban Ministry of Tourism, the Palmares S.A. Non-Hotel Company, OSDE Cubasol and Varadero Golf Club, three prizes per category were disputed in the contest and professional or amateur players over 18 years of age with a certified handicap equal to or less than 24 in the case of gentlemen; and equal to or less than 30 in the case of ladies, participated.
The tournament, which applied the Official Golf Rules and the local ones of the Varadero Golf Club, was played in four rounds: two of practice and two of competition, which totaled the final result of each player.
After 22 years playing golf, Méndez is confident that she can give much more; although her work and being a mother of three children consume most of her time, she continues to study the course or the green, as she says in her capacity as an expert.
With great confidence, the 33-year-old woman told the national and foreign press present at the event that she dreams of being a professional one day, and that she plans to become the first Cuban woman to have a zero handicap.
When giving the closing words of the event, Luis Martínez, president of the OSDE Cubasol, congratulated the winners and highlighted the success of the event, while he called for the 13th edition of the Cuba Golf Grand Tournament, to be held from October 26 to 28, 2023.
Winners of the 2022 Cuba Golf Grand Tournament
First place: Peter Whitehead
Second place: Michael Goldberg
Third place: Hubert Meagher
First place: Pierre Lemay
Second place: Sylvain Lapointe
Third place: Derek Stribling
First place: Marie-Josee Couture
Second place: Yanet Méndez
Third place: Elke Schmidt
A unique course in an exclusive environment
Designed by architect Les Furber in the style of Robert TRENT Jones, the Varadero Golf Club has a par 72 course located on the north coast of the Hicacos Peninsula, with challenging difficulties for any category of players.
The course gained international prestige when in 1999 and 2000 it was the scene of the Grand Final of the European Challenge Tour, where 15 of the 45 analysts reached the Order of Merit of the European PGA qualifying tour.
The Varadero Golf Club offers a unique environment in its famous Mansión Xanadú clubhouse and its Mirador Bar, where it is possible to enjoy a spectacular view of the contrast between the green of the course and the turquoise blue of the surrounding beach resort, considered one of the best in the world.
According to statements for TTC by José Tovar, general director of the Varadero Golf Club, a restoration is being carried out in the Mansión Xanadú, considered a National Heritage Site, to give it back all its architectural values, which ranges from the exterior areas to its interior design.
Built in 1928 as the residence of Mr. Irenes Dupont, the house was designed by architects Félix Cavarrocas and Evelio Govantes, and stands out for its location in an excellent beach area, together with the use of precious woods in its works — including mahogany, cedar, jiquí and sabicú — in combination with marble from Cuba, Spain and Italy.
Located on the Peña de San Bernardino, the highest point of the peninsula, it was the first stonework building in Varadero with three floors, seven rooms, three terraces (one of them currently converted into a closed bar), seven balconies, a dock, a wine cellar and a 9-hole golf course — later expanded to 18 holes.
Golf, another tourist attraction of the Cuba destination
The Cuban tourism industry has promoted the inclusion of golf among the attractions offered by the island, especially in Varadero beach resort, which has been a destination for this sport since the 1930s.
With two golf courses, the Varadero Golf Club, and the Capdevila course in the capital, Cuba plans to continue inserting itself in the world market for this sport. In fact, before world tourism slowed down due to Covid-19, the Caribbean island had planned three projects with joint ventures for the development of this sport and tourism modality in the central province of Cienfuegos.
The multi-stage project planned to include the construction of a 450-room 5-star hotel with an 18-hole golf course, and some 450 villas and 1,150 apartments. Two more golf courses, new residential projects and the development of real estate and hotel infrastructure with links to other tourist centers such as the northern keys of Villa Clara, Varadero and Havana were also planned.
Despite the 17.83% decrease during the two years of the pandemic, golf has become a magnificent recovery tool for the global travel sector. With the tensest moments over, it is time for this sport, previously considered aristocratic and for minorities, to help the popular tourism industry move again with the financial agility it requires.
According to international experts, the global tourism market is already being driven by golf’s growing appeal across the globe and the increasing popularity of professional golf tournaments.
In addition to the giant golf market in the United States, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean have also registered visible growth for some time, the latter blessed by the climate and its paradisiacal landscapes, indisputable allies of this outdoor sport that is usually practiced on large surfaces.
Before the arrival of the new coronavirus, the Caribbean region had more than 100 golf clubs and 1,150 exclusive hotels for enthusiasts of this sport.