The man at the head of Mallorca’s drive to join the golf tourism elite insists he remains as passionate as ever about the island’s future. Federico Knuchel is a 76-year-old Swiss who moved to Mallorca more than 40 years ago and loved it so much, he decided against going home.
Although it was a seven-year residential development which initially took him to Mallorca, it was the golf, the weather and the lifestyle that kept him there.
Now in his role as president of Asociación de Campos de Golf de Mallorca (ACGM) - an association of 19 clubs on the largest of the Balearic islands - he is still determined to get the message out to the masses, at a time in his life when he probably should be taking things a little easier. But hosting the IGTM this year at Son Termens represents another step in Mallorca’s emergence as a leading European golf destination.
“I feel very passionate about Mallorca - that’s why I still do it,” said Knuchel. “I hate the thought of sitting back and doing nothing. It makes you get older more quickly. This keeps me young. It’s an honorary job and I’ve been in this role for six years. But golf has given me a lot and you have to give something back.
“We had 600,000 rounds in 2015 and the purpose of our association is to increase that number. We would like to increase it by five per cent every year. We have a great variety and great quality here and some people may not know about that. We have 19 courses and all within one hour of each other. People don’t want to play the same course on holiday and we have great choice.
“We have short flight times from all over Europe, great accommodation and of course, we always have the weather.”
But while golf on Mallorca was still in its infancy when Knuchel arrived, he has seen his ‘children’ grow up. “I like all of the courses on Mallorca and you don’t have favourites,” he said. “They are like your children - you don’t choose between them.”