By Nick Totten, europeantour.com
From Golfclub Schloss Finkenstein
Austria’s southernmost state – Carinthia, or Kärnten to the locals – plays host to the sixth edition of the Kärnten Golf Open presented by Mazda this week, an event that showcases the region to the golfing world.
Golfclub Schloss FInkenstein is the latest venue to welcome the great and good of the Challenge Tour, and with its thick rough and slick greens working hand in hand with a variable wind, it is sure to provide an interesting test to the players over the four tournament days.
Christian Kresse, CEO of the Kärnten Tourist Board, is excited to once again have an event of this calibre in the region, and believes it is essential to promote Carinthia as a golfing, and holiday, destination.
“Welcome to one of the most beautiful areas for golf in Austria,” said Kresse. “We have an absolute golf paradise here in Carinthia, and with the tournament coming here everyone is very excited. We look forward to another fantastic week for the European Challenge Tour.
“We have about 20 courses in the region, and while in winter we are famous for our skiing destinations, in the summer we are famous for holidays on one of our many lakes, in the mountains and, of course, for golf.
“This event is very famous, and very important for Carinthia because we have a chance to show what the borders can offer. We have fantastic landscapes and we are very happy that the Challenge Tour is here this week.
“We can organise everything in Carinthia, and this week we have got perfect weather. We are expecting about 30 degrees, even though you can still see snow on the mountains. The lakes here are also going to be about 20 degrees, so the players can go swimming in one of our beautiful lakes too if they’d like.”
“We are in the middle of the region's two biggest cities – Villach and Klagenfurt – and there are lots of golf fans in the area, so they have a great chance this week to come and see some of the best golfers in the world.
With Golfclub Schloss FInkenstein playing host to the event for the first time, Kresse believes the course will provide an interesting test to the players, but there is more to this region than just golf. In the past few years the area has also welcomed some of the world’s best footballers, as part of their summer training camps, a fact that further proves the benefits of travelling to this area of Austria.
“This is not a very long course,” said the tourism boss. “The big danger is the rough, left and right, and when you are in there it is almost impossible to get out of it. The first nine holes are quite wide, but towards the end the last few holes will decide who will win the tournament. There are high risk shots where you can win everything, but also lose everything. How the players handle the greens will also be important this week.
“In summer we have about two million tourists in Carinthia, we are very popular for people all over the world, and we have also had football teams here too the last few years. Last year Southampton were here, so were Queens Park Rangers, and this year we are expecting Chelsea and Watford, as well as teams from Germany, Spain and France. So for all football fans Carinthia is a great place to be in the summer.
“Mazda and all the other sponsors of this event are big partners of Carinthia and golf, and without them it would not be possible to organise this event. So from my side, to all the staff here, thank you very much for the organisation and your hospitality. I think all the golfers are very happy to be in Carinthia and I hope we have plenty more tournaments in the future.”For more information on the region, have a look on their website: www.carinthia.at.