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The Club...

André Gutzwiller's Letter

  • 01-primer plano de hamilton stutt
  • 02-1955-2010
  • 03-cartell club
  • 04-Trabajadores 1976

The course opened with only six holes [from the fourth hole it skipped to the eighth], recalls Jose-Maria Coma, then there were nine, and by 1969 it had come up to eighteen.

When it had just gone into operation, the Gutzwiller group published a “Cohier des charges pour /es zones reservées a /0 construction des vi//as“ which announced that the purchasers of a site were compelled to observe certain specifications of quality that would be supervised ultimately by the promoters, such as keeping to high European standards, a regional style in accordance with a given model, minimum permitted separations and a percentage of built surface not over 25% of the 800 sqm lots and 12% of the 2000 sqm lots. There were also rules of good neighbourship inside the development: purchasers had to sign an agreement that banned such things as visible lines of laundry, putting up tents and parking caravans.

The floral wealth of the land was already being underlined when the different areas of the urbanization were named after the trees and flowers that grew there, orchid, mimosa, poplar, begonia, eucalyptus, dahlia, daisy, cedar... The streets were named a few years later.

In a letter to the club about his recollections of the first years of the enterprise, Andre Gutzwiller speaks of the "the epic of Santa Cristina... A lot of time, a lot of patience, a lot of surprises, a lot of administrative setbacks, a lot of things that compelled me to dedicate most of my time to my Spanish affairs when our participation was originally supposed to be merely financial. No water, no electricity, obviously no phone, no bridges across the river, no roads l...) At last the work began. l often went with Stutt to supervise the field work; it was beginning to shape up, we dug wells, we sowed fields, we planted more than 4000 trees and bushes (...) lt was all planned for the 4th of September, 1967. But man abides as God decides".

lndeed, a forest-fire that raged across the municipalities of Tossa de Mar, Sant Feliu de Guixols, Llagostera, and Santa Cristina d'Aro towards the end ofluly, burned some 4000 hec- tares of cork-oaks and bush. "Everything was burned except the clubhouse."

On the 9th of September, 1967, about a month after the fire, the golf club was opened officially. On Sunday the 10th of September, the newspaper Los Sitios reported that the full extent of the course was planned to add up to 5745 metres with 18 holes, 10 ofwhich were already usable." The event was presided by the highest authorities, the Captain-General of Catalunya, the Duke de la Victoria, and the Archduke Robert of Austria and his wife as the guests of honour. The opening was also reported on the front page of La Vunguordid on the 13th of September 1967, with two photographs; one shows the location being blessed by the parish priest of Santa Cristina de Aro, and the other shows Andre Gutzwiller giving the prize of the opening-day competition to the winner, whose name was not mentioned. Andre E. Gutzwiller concluded his letter with the following words: "lt is with pride that we hosted the Grand Prix of Catalunya, in which a participant shot a hole in one into the 8th hole (lt waslorge Rottier Gaillard, whose team was second in that year's competition (1969) and champions the year after). The construction of the dressing rooms was the last of my active participations in the heroic odyssey of Santa Cristina. lt then passed into the hands of Claude Burrus who didn't waste a minute in getting rid of the golf club."

Gutzwiller's team began to actively promote the sales in vari- ous points of Europe and the development took off with a group of French clients from Toulouse, some English people, Germans and of course, the Swiss contingent; then came at least seven flight commanders of KLM who formed a significant Dutch colony, as described by Peter von Groenewoud. There were also Spanish purchasers, mainly from Madrid and Barcelona. Some documents regarding the club at this early stage have reached us, showing the identity of the Club de Golf Costa Brava Committee with Andre Gutzwiller as chairman, on the 15th of Juty 1968 (A full account of the members of the club's various boards of directors can be seen in chapter 5 of this book).

A few local rules of a general sort appear, establishing things such as the following: "If the ball stays in the ditch that crosses the 4th fairway it can be dropped behind it with no penalty". Regarding the 16th hole it says that "the ditch there is at about 110 metres from the starting tee for red balls wit‘! be considered in the same way as a “water hazard" (those ate the words).

Twelve competitions were programmed for the season of 1969. The course already had 18 holes, the 18 holes the club has had up to April of 2011, the ones played offieially for the first time during the Grand Prix of Catalunya on the 26th and 27th of April the Hexagonal was played five years running during Gutzwiller's chairmanship, and the winners were Marcos Viladomiu, Javierviladomiu, Francisco Jover and Enrique Conti.

The great classic of Catalan Golf, which came to the Costa Brava Club in its third edition, has returned often because the Santa Cristina course is considered to be one of its traditional venues. Among other trophies, the programme mentioned the lnauguration Trophy on the 18th and the 20th of July; in the middle of August there was the Junior Championship of Catalunya, a pro-am on the 17th of August and the Club Trophy in September.

Another memo published in 1969 is an “Extract of the Established Regulations and Statutes", where it says that "Golf Costa Brava, S.A., Real Estate Agents, as the enterprise being hereby constituted, is the proprietor of the land where the golf course and the clubhouse are presently located (run of 18 holes). The document explains the types of membership, the opening fee and yearly charges, and the cost of other services, such as golf club rental for the full day, 150 pesetas, for 18 holes, 100 pesetas. Green fees for 8 days, 2000 pesetas, —the possibility of a daily pay-&-play fee didn't exist yet— ; (rnembers' were free to bring guests, who were hospitably welcomed).

In November of 1968 the Scottish actor Sean Connery, then identified exclusively with James Bond or Agent O07, stayed at La Gavina; he arrived accompanied by people from the film industry and three famous British golf professionals, Max Faulkner (who won the Spanish Open in 1952,1953 and 1957), Brian Barnes (who also won the Spanish Open at El Prat in 1978), and John Garner [another staple of the European tours in those days). The four of them went to play at the Costa Brava Golf Club, although Bond, James Bond, got the biggest slice of the media.

José-Maria Coma, our member number 6, who joined the club in 1967, remembers thataround 1970, after having played golf all day with Luis Forn, they went to the club restaurant which is now the hallway of the management office; at the time there wasjust a single long table, which they shared with Tita Cervera, her husband Lex Barker and Robert Taylor. "ln those days there was no bar, no restaurant proper, no changing rooms or hot water. The masio was little more than a roof. Now it is among the best clubhouses in Catalunya. The employees are extraordinary, polite and efficient." Mariona and Cristina Platon agree entirely: "We want to stress that the staff is very good, they all deserve top marks.”