This week’s European Senior Tour event, now in its fourth year, followed closely in the success of the TIG-promoted KLM Open, which proved a massive success as Joost Luiten became the first home winner of the event.
Golf in the Netherlands is for the first time producing potential world stars in the shape of Luiten and up and coming Challenge Tour stars including Daan Huizing and Tim Sluiter.
While the Dutch Senior Open plays a completely different part in the successful promotion and development of the game in the northern European nation, it is still a unique and vital one.
As the Dutch Golf Federation continue to churn out an abundance of talent, the other side of golf is the commercial and financial aspect of building big events and developing sponsorship bases and the Senior Tour’s legends provide the perfect platform.
“With this tournament it is a lot to do with client treatment for the sponsors and they love playing with these guys,” said Martijn Van der Meulen, Founder and Managing Partner of TIG Sports, alongside Niels Markensteijn and Norbert Chevalier.
“The sponsors want to grow this tournament and we are very ambitious with the Senior Tour, we really want to grow it and build new opportunities in the coming years.
“We’ve had stars play in our events like Marco van Basten, Guus Hiddink and of course Ruud Gullit this week and they love playing in these events.
“These Senior Tour players are so friendly and like to entertain their guests so the Pro-Am dinners are fantastic. They have so many stories to tell and such great histories behind them. At the KLM Open the players tend to be very focussed but these guys like to be back in the spotlight and telling their stories.
“We have to take care of them and it is a great course while our sponsor’s hotel Citizen M is very new and unique so it’s all good fun so we like to look after them.”
It is all part of a wider vision to bring golf to people from all walks of life in the Netherlands, a vision which stems from a passion for the game.
“We want to promote golf and get it away from the stigma of being an elite sport,” said Van der Meulen. “When you see in the USA and England it’s a sport for everybody and that’s what we want.
“I used to play in the Dutch amateur team when I was younger and I had to defend myself a lot because I was a golfer and so I wanted to start a business to promote the game.
“It came from a love for golf and also business opportunities. We were then really honoured to have the chance of promoting the KLM Open as a young company.
“We now have a strong partnership with The European Tour and everyone there and then we took on the Senior Tour event while also promoting a Ladies European Tour event.
“Obviously Joost’s win at the KLM Open was a dream come true because he is a people’s person and the kind of guy who will be a good superstar and attract other people into the game.”