|Prof. Christoph Madl, MAS, Geschäftsführer der Niederösterreich-Werbung
In this interview ahead of the UNIQA Ladies Golf Open presented by Raiffeisen, the general manager of the Lower Austrian Tourism agency, Prof. Christoph Madl, discusses the importance of the tournament to the region.
What makes golf so special?
Golf, at all levels: pro and amateur, combines the social and outdoors aspects with the challenges of the sport. All those who golf have the advantage that they get to know the various regions with their individual golf courses. Often either training or competitions offer the chance for shorter or longer stays with the opportunity to make new connections, meet old acquaintances and friends while enjoying culinary specialties of the region.
What can spectators learn from the pros and stars of the Ladies European Tour?
Observing the pros at their game can help improve one’s own game. Spectators see the top players’ technique up close. Seeing how players keep their cool and maintain their concentration in all situations: especially getting back into the groove when things are not going so well in the game. The players’ expertise on the course is exciting to experience, but they also have moments when their game is not perfect. Our greatest enemy is always “me”. Disappointments and mental blocks are the biggest challenges to overcome on the course. The fact is that one can always learn something new: most easily from the pros and ideally outdoors on the golf course.
What three aspects put Lower Austria at an advantage in regard to golf?
Lower Austria enjoys a top ranking among the Austrian Golf regions: the courses are places to enjoy in the middle of a region filled with lovely landscape, culture and culinary arts. Each of the over 40 courses offers a different aspect of the region, five of the 13 leading Austrian golf courses is located in Lower Austria. Top level Greens are not just pie-in-the-sky dreams here, they are reality. They reflect a diligent care of and respect the environment and a very keen awareness of the treasures of each region.
Almost four percent of the population over 15 years of age plays golf on a casual basis. Approximately a third of these 105,000 golf fans lives and plays in Lower Austria. Many professional players are repeat visitors: they like playing our courses because the high quality of the greens and clubs, the atmosphere and the hospitality they experience here bring them back again and again.
Events such as the Ladies Golf Open project this positive image far beyond our natural borders. These tournaments are important catalysts for amateur sport and golf tourism.