29th January,2015

“The Marbella Swing” and “Gambas Pil-Pil”

~~First day we arrived in Malaga our Bulgarian friends George, Ivan the CEO and CFO of Lighthouse and Vladi  many of you would know him as the French master chef from Balcono del Monde and Getty Restaurant at Thracian Cliffs, they welcomed their Romanian friends with the Spanish word of “Caballeros” and “Happy New Year”. The words were repeated all night at the restaurant as good friends do, many Bulgarians and Romanians like to clink their glasses together when they drink, that night they were many clink of glasses which actually makes me tired, in our culture we only lift the glasses up. Now, let’s not forget the “Gambas Pil-Pil” which my members eat every day and night for the whole week we stayed in Spain.
Pil-Pil it seems to me to be particularly popular in the Malaga area and of course with my members. Pil-Pil is usually served sizzling hot in individual terracotta dishes.  This is definitely not a dish for those on a diet!Somebody should have told Misu Negritoiu that because every day of the week Pil-Pil was on his menu. Good start because Misu first words when we arrived in Spain was “Boys, I am on a diet”.
I’m not sure about you my readers, but I have no shortage of members from my golf club at Lighthouse who think every time they tee it up they’re four hours away from their lowest score and from taking a few dollars out of my pocket.So the game is on George, Laurentiu,Misu and I, the bets are on 20 Euro, the format match play over 18 holes. I got the money from George who after a fall in the hilly Marbella golf course blamed me for parking the buggy in the wrong place, hahaha my CEO sometimes blames me for the rain at Lighthouse and tells me to stop the “Australian Voodoo”. Now with one player out, Laurentiu Jiga had to be my next victim. George become Laur’s coach for the remaining of the game, both lost. The next day George being injured cancelled the golf game and took me and showed me the magic of Puerto Banes and the succulent lifestyle of this city. Sensational place, it was a win, win situation for me.
Our favorite destination Spain and our golf tournament “The Marbella Swing” on the hilly golf courses of Marbella is in our 2nd edition and it is now deemed as a “major” event, when the loud insults,phones ringing on the golf course and swing suggestions are magnified to epic proportions.
The format was like last year, stableford points and members playing with 75% of the club handicap. Five rounds of golf at the most exclusive golf courses on the Costa del Sol. First day is our practice day which this year was canceled due to rain. So the boys had to start the tournament without any practice, some played in rain a few holes at the golf clubs that were opened and some went to the driving range getting ready for the next day.
Day one begins with an early morning start and 40-minute drive to Marbella,Los Naranjos golf course is a Robert Trent Jones Design  and Top 5 in that region after Valderama.Both were build in the 1970’s.Los Naranjos has been a Scandinavian owned since 1989 and a group of Swedish businessmen took control in 2007 from compatriot Percy Nillson.First day leader in “The Marbella Swing 2015” was George Tchouklev with 24 points followed close by Cornel Danila 23 points and Laurentiu Jiga with 22 points. First day nearest the pin was won by Cornel Danila with a great shot on the 2nd hole par 3.
Day two is a double header, the boys  have a money game in a 2 day golf tournament to accommodate Bogdan Dodu who cannot complete the 4 days golf tournament.Los Arqueros Golf Course is again a 40 minute drive towards Marbella. George had a valid point and asked me why didn’t I book the hotel rooms in Marebella.My answer was simple;”because I am just a humble golf instructor”. Day two total lead and MONEY game went to Cornel Danila with 51 points, second place George Tchouklev with 46 points and third position Mihai Tecu 44 points.Nearest the pin went to Ionut Sisu with a great shot.
Next it’s off to Santa Clara Golf Club which start it the activity in 2001, is a 18 hole golf course, par 71 designed by Enrique Canales.The golf course is always in great shape, and playing incredible holes like 14 par 5 reminds me, and my golf players, how lucky we are to have these world-class courses only 4 hours direct flight from Bucharest. Third day players with a chance to win “The Marbella Swing 2015” were Cornel Danila, Ionut Sisu and Laurentiu Jiga.
Day four and the boys tee off at Atalaya golf course which owes much of its charm and beauty to the fact that it was created back in 1968 before the rash of golf urbanization development that has seen golf courses spring up all over the Costa del Sol. Set against the stunning backdrop of the Sierra Blanca mountains the boys played the last day on the Atalaya Old Course which is lined up with mature eucalyptus trees, cactus and palms. The winner of “The Marbella Swing 2015” and MONEY game was Cornel Danila with a grand total of 101 stableford points for the four days of play, second place goes to last year winner Laurentiu Jiga with 89 points, third place goes to Ionut Sisu one point behind with 88 points and in fourth place was Misu Negritoiu with 82 points. The nearest the pin was won in the last day by Vladi our French master chef with a great shot five meters from the pin on a tough par 3.
The winner of the Rolex watch in “The Marbella Swing” shortest drive was won by Mugur Mehedintu were the ball with his driver went backwards about forty meters. I would let Mugur explain how that happened when the season starts for our members at Lighthouse Golf Club.
I will close the blog story with how I see winning; in my days when I won I didn’t examine it very much, I just congratulate myself, I easily assumed that I have some special qualities, however when I lost really told me who I was. So to my golf players who lost at Marbella in Spain I can say that loosing can be valuable. How you behave in those moments can perhaps be more self-defining than winning could ever be.
See you next year for our third edition of “The Marbella Swing”. Tradition continues.