The new general manager of La Cala Resort, Ken Flockhart, has revealed key points for effective management and what he would like to achieve whilst running the hotel and golf complex. The experienced manager describes La Cala Resort as one of the most extensive resorts on the Costa del Sol, with three 18-hole golf courses and a 107 room hotel, “not to mention three restaurants and a spa”
Although seasonal variation is inevitable with “high and low seasons”, Flockhart considers the biggest challenges to be “maximising deals in the quieter months” and “exceeding the expectations of a diverse clientele”. In that respect, he highlights the heterogeneous nature of this, seeing as La Cala Resort welcomes golfers, occasional visitors, property owners, guests, wedding guests and even local customers who use its spa or restaurant. To add to this melting pot, with guests “from different countries” and with “various expectations”, his main argument is for the resort to “provide them with a unique experience” with the main aim being “clientele loyalty and guests recommending the hotel resort to others”. To do this, it is fundamental to have “an excellent quality/price balance, complemented by a professional, efficient and friendly service”.
The manager openly reveals the main strengths of La Cala Resort. First of all, “tranquillity” because “our clients should have a stress-free stay”. Secondly, “the service” as “in every department we have an experienced team which understands how important it is to provide an exceptional level of service.” Finally, he stresses the importance of safety ensuring guests “feel calm throughout the stay, no matter how long or short it may be”.
With his eyes fixed on how the hotel industry is evolving in the future, Flockhart is convinced that very soon some hotels will consider “a variety of booking options” for clients, including guests choosing the mattress type, bed sheets, towels, air freshener, mineral water and even the design of the furniture, before they have even checked in.
The resort manager sees great development potential at the complex he is currently managing, after “excellent results” from a joint venture between the resort owning company and the construction firm Taylor Wimpey. This resulted in all sixty Miraval apartments selling out and 30% of the Horizon Project already being sold. With a hotel which year in year out “increases activities” and “demand”, the hotel manager does not rule out that in due course they “will have to consider the possibility of expanding the hotel facilities”. Not forgetting the major attraction: three golf courses which “pose a challenge for golfers of all different levels”.
Flockhart has spent almost thirty years working in the hotel industry. He started out working for Holiday Inn and Marriott in Great Britain where he was born. Still being very young, he decided to take the plunge and relocate to the Island of Grenada. In a very short time, at 29 years old, he was made general manager. After spending four years in the Caribbean, he decided to go back to the United Kingdom where, for the first time, he managed a hotel resort with golf facilities: Old Thorns. After that, he moved to Cyprus and then the Middle East where he was in charge of various five star resorts. He returned to the Island of Grenada and subsequently to the Bahamas. After going back and forth all over the world, he ended up in the Maldives where he managed Kuredu Island Resort & Spa, the best tourist centre in the country. With over 800 guests and another 800 employees, Flockhart ended up feeling like “the mayor of a city, literally managing a self-sufficient community in the middle of nowhere”.
With such extensive experience and a priceless knowledge of resorts, this golf lover is proud of being able to “perfectly manage this large golf resort in the south of Spain, amongst other things”. With this new Andalusian environment, he is surrounded by “friendly people”, as well as “a beautiful green environment with golf facilities and the magnificent Mijas Mountains”.
The new general manager is taking on a key role which is not without difficulties, as he is “coordinating” a team trained by experts in sales, marketing, operations, finance and human resources. In essence, “all this experience and decision making” are “key for the future of the company”.
He praises the Costa del Sol as it has an extensive choice for all kinds of clientele, providing “culture, history, sports and training” combined with an extensive “selection of hotels of different standards and types” and “several gastronomic options from beach bars to Michelin star restaurants”.
With an ever increasing number of visitors, the tourism industry “would hugely benefit, provided that we can maintain trust that the area is safe” Ken Flockhart concludes.
The players from the Ivory Coast national football team spent five days at La Cala Resort. The squad stayed at the hotel and sports complex as part of the preparations for their last sports match of the year: a friendly against France on the 15th November.
For five days, famous professional footballers such as Keita Mamadou, Ibrahima Cisse, Wilfried Bony (who have all played various seasons in the first division of the English league) made the most of the wonderful football pitch and facilities by training hard for the friendly against their tough European rival, the French team. Knowing that the match would take place on European soil, the managers of ‘Les Éléphants‘ (The Elephants) chose to have the players train in a first class, intimate and peaceful environment.
The 23 professional footballers who currently make up the team, accompanied by trainers and the coaching team, chose La Cala Resort due to the quality of its sports facilities and its pitch which meets FIFA’s official dimension requirements.
During their stay, they could also benefit from a wide range of complementary sports services: three 18-hole golf courses, running circuits, squash and tennis courts. The hotel has a tranquil setting, surrounded by nature with sea views of the Mediterranean. It has a large 1300m² modern spa with excellent treatments. The Costa del Sol has a pleasant climate, with an average of 20 degrees maximum in November and the resort is in a fabulous location, no more than 40 minutes away from the international airport Malaga-Costa del Sol. All of these are services which are most appreciated by elite clubs. Season in season out, these services attract the interest of several first class professional teams for player’s meetings in the complex.
On several occasions La Cala Resort has turned into the venue for first class professional teams’ player’s meetings from the footballing world. Throughout its recent history, more than 70 teams from all five continents have scheduled their pre-match meetings here. Amongst them are international teams such as Borussia Mönchenladbach (Germany), R.S.C Anderlecht (Belgium), Al Alhi Dubai F.C. (Dubai), FC Porto (Portugal), Legia Warsaw (Poland), AC Sparta Prague (Czech Republic) and national under-18 and under-20 football teams from the USA, Leicester City, Rochdale and Everton (from the United Kingdom), FC Dynamo Moscow (Russia) and FC Lausanne-Sport (Switzerland).
Described as “idyllic” by sports professionals, La Cala Resort’s facilities are also the venue for several national teams’ pre-match meeting days. Last July, the members of Cádiz FC spent a period of six days there after their promotion to the Second Division of the Liga Española. Previously, premier league teams like Málaga CF and Sevilla Atlético have also stayed there.
From the 21st to the 26th November, the big annual event, La Cala GolfWorld Open, will take place at La Cala Resort. The 12th edition of this sporting event will boast unparalleled sports facilities due to the newly improved Campo Europa golf course. For four days, the best golfers from Andalusia and the international arena will come to compete in one of the most traditional annual events on the golfing calendar.
The most anticipated tournament of the year is on the horizon. On the 21st to the 26th November,La Cala Resort is hosting the twelfth edition of La Cala GolfWorld Open, the best excuse to start off the autumn sports season in style. It will be one of the few occasions where in one championship, golfers can enjoy thisprestigious hotel and sport complex’s three golf courses. This four day competition will put the skill and standards of top amateur golfers to the test.
The competition is open to any male or female golf player with a valid licence for the Real Federación Española or a handicap certificate for any other international federation.
This sporting event will start on Tuesday 22nd November with a ‘Texas Scramble’ competition followed by three individual stableford rounds. Golfers will compete chronologically on the América, Asia and Europa courses. In fact the latter has been turned into a first class course after extensive developments were made last summer. The bunkers have been modernised, the sand traps have been renovated, the tees and greens have been expanded, the drainage system has been changed and various pathways have been redesigned. Not to mention, a large amount of work has also gone into landscaping and the competition green has been improved.
The champion of La Cala Golf WorldOpen will be the player with the best scores obtained after the three day tournament. To qualify for a prize the maximum handicap is 26.4 for men and 36.4 for women. There will be special prizes given for: nearest the pin, the longest drive, the best scratch result over three days and the best daily score etc…
To make the most of the WorldOpen celebration, the Cala leisure and golf complex is offering a package including accommodation and tickets to the tournament at an unbeatable price. Players can enjoy a welcome dinner, 4 competition green fees, a shared buggy, a picnic bag, a light lunch and a breakfast buffet for the days of the tournament, a gala dinner and a thermal circuit in La Cala Spa.
From the beginning, it is essential to be taught by a good golf teaching professional in order to convert our natural swing into a movement that has no flaws or defects and which allows us to make progress more quickly and effectively to our game.
Unless one has the inherent gift of genius like those have been bestowed on some sporting treasures and unrepeatable figures in world sport, such as Severiano Ballesteros; it will be very difficult in a sport like golf, to forge a career – even a small one – without the help of a teaching professional.
And there are sports in which it is very difficult to be self-taught, especially those which require the use of additional ‘tools’ to develop your skills.
Golf is typical in this sense, although you can also try to emulate Seve and many other great Spanish players from that era and earlier (Piñero, Cañizares, Rivero, Garrido …) who developed their skills mainly from working as caddies and teaching themselves, based on observation and practice and, if they were lucky, some advice from the most experienced golfers. In those harsh economic times in Spain, they had instinct, talent and the desire to build a future in the world of golf.
Their natural swing carried them very far, but those days are far behind now, and it keeps getting harder and harder in Spain, to hire the services of a caddie, simply because they have become a rare and endangered species. And if you do find them, they are so different from those from half a century ago, who were trying to make a living by bringing home a few pesetas to help the struggling family economy.
Times change as does the way in which golf is taught. The number of golf fans in Spain has grown enormously in recent decades and there are now approximately 300,000 amateur federated players. To meet the demand for golf lessons, the presence of golf academies has grown, with many of them now equipped with modern technological swing analysis equipment.
To prevent technical errors and bad body posture that may result at the very least in muscle discomfort, it is best to put yourself in the hands of a good golf teaching professional.
Controversy surrounds the origin of the word spa. According to some scholars of this subject, it comes from the Belgian town Spa, known for its thermal baths and excellent natural baths since Roman times, and as mentioned by Pliny the Elder in ‘Naturalis Historia’ in the first century of our age. According to another version, the term is actually the acronym SPA: salus per aquam or Sanitas per aquam (health through water), as this was a deeply rooted concept in Roman culture, which was famous for its hot springs.
Either way, the ancient Roman & Arab baths have been transformed today into modern spas, those establishments where water works wonders on the body and mind. And it is precisely these two elements that come into play in a sport as complicated and enjoyable as golf.
The benefits provided to anyone by a spa are numerous and irrefutable. Pools, hot tubs, whirlpools, water jets, sauna, steam …, all forms contribute to the physical and mental wellbeing.
Although it could be applied generally to all people, spas have additional benefits to golfers, who, by the very nature of the sport, are forced to adopt awkward postures and make sudden rotations. The repetition of movements always on the same side of the body generates imbalances in the muscle groups. The abruptness of one’s own impact against the ball and the vibration it generates pose a risk to the entire musculoskeletal system. Most injuries in the golf world are caused by overloads affecting especially the shoulder, elbow, wrist, lower back and knees.
Not swinging properly, using equipment that is not adapted to the characteristics of the golfer and not warming up sufficiently are all very important factors in the development of muscle ailments that could eventually result in injury if not treated in time.