Magdalena takes over golf course

Tobago House of Assembly Chief Secretary Orville London met with Principal at EFM Hospitality Nikolas Eastwick-Field (left) and General Manager John Murphy (right).
Magdalena Grand Beach and Golf Resort in Lowlands, Tobago is spending US$2M to upgrade its latest acquisition, the former Tobago Plantations Golf Course and Club House.

The resort’s general manager John Murphy said in an interview on Wednesday (27th November 2013) that the PGA designed 18-hole championship golf course was taken over by Magdalena on November 1 and “we began immediately in repairing the outer buildings”.

He added that the US$2M was being used to refurbish the buildings including the club house and its facilities as well as the purchasing of new gold carts.

He added that the course was being brought up to standard in time for the arrival of 40 Scandinavia golfers who will be on board the fully loaded Scandinavia to Tobago inaugural charter service on Tuesday by the Greece-based company Apollo Airlines Virtual. Apollo serves major European cities with both charter and scheduled services using its modern B737NG aircraft with a capacity of 261 economy passengers and 24 business class passengers. So far almost 2,500 passengers from Sweden, Finland, Norway and Denmark have been booked to use the service over the next 17 weeks.

Murphy said the golfers will be here for two weeks while another 60 will arrive the following week so that there will be 100 golfers here on December 11. “This will be a significant statement. There will be golfers coming over the 17-week period of the Apollo charter services to Tobago and the three-week package will be extended to four weeks,” he added.

Murphy was being interviewed following a tour of the course by THA Chief Secretary Orville London and himself. Murphy said golfing was not only very big in Europe and Scandinavia, but also in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom. “We are marketing the course as part of the hotel so we will bring in golfers from these areas and the region and from Trinidad,” Murphy added.

He said a very big season was anticipated and thanked the Chief Secretary and the Division of Tourism for working side by side with him in putting the project back together.

He said 26 persons have been employed in operating the course.

Chief Secretary London said these were very exciting and interesting times for tourism in Tobago, coming out of a very difficult five years but fortunately for Tobago things seem to be on the upswing. “One of the most exciting piece of information we have had is the flights coming in from the Scandinavian countries is the golf element. I was very impressed with the work done at the Magdalena and the golf course to bring it up to the level where those golfers coming in from Scandinavia would have the kind of experience that would ensure that they and other golfers would return,” London said.

He noted that the Scandinavian charter were not only about golf, adding that his information was that the charters were sold out and fully booked. He said this meant that other guest houses and hotels on the island were going to benefit significantly from what transpired over the next 16 to 17 weeks.

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