Golf

Legend Lopez brings tourism boost to island

  • Lopez is bringing her Golf Adventures to Bermuda for the first time in October (Photograph by Don Heupel/AP)

One of the world’s leading women’s golfers in history has teamed up with the Bermuda Tourism Authority, Fairmont Southampton and four local courses to bring a new golf vacation group to the island.

Nancy Lopez, a three-times major winner, is taking Nancy Lopez Golf Adventures to Port Royal, Tucker’s Point, Mid Ocean and Turtle Hill. The Bermuda trip is already over-subscribed, with 42 holidaymakers signed up.

“From a strategic point of view. we’re thrilled to have a pro of Nancy’s calibre introduce golfers to our product here in Bermuda,” Pat Phillip-Fairn, the BTA’s chief product and experience officer, said. “We know we have an exceptional golf experience out here and Nancy is one of the ways we are making sure the rest of the world knows it too.

“Also the timing is ideal — October, right at the start of the shoulder season. The time of year we focus on art, culture and sport. And perhaps, more importantly, this audience of female golfers is especially attractive because our data shows that when female golfers come to Bermuda, they spend a lot of time and money around the island on things other than golf.”

Lopez said: “We’ve been doing this for about three years. It’s my way of giving back to golf. With my Golf Adventures we try and help everyone with our different philosophies.

“Our major philosophy is our ‘Play Happy’ philosophy. My father would always tell me that I play better when I play happy, and that is so true.

“When we have women, they get it a little quicker than the guys do, for some reason. I look at some of the guys who come to our events and they give me that look, like ‘Really? Play happy?’ I ask them why they look that way as they say, ‘I get angry sometimes, around the course.’

“So I teach them the Play Happy philosophy and I truly believe that when they’re done, that they really understand it and they really enjoy [playing] even more so.”

Lopez, who won the Women’s PGA Championship in 1978, ‘85 and ‘89, was a non-playing assistant captain on the victorious United States Solheim Cup team last weekend.

The US beat Europe 16½ to 11½ at Des Moines Golf and Country Club in Iowa.

“Now the Europeans work very hard to make it a great competition,” Lopez, 60, said. “Our players played some awesome golf. One of the days, one of our teams shot 14-under and the other team shot 12-under, so it’s that kind of competition.

“Juli Inkster’s a great captain and it was myself, Pat Hurst and Wendy Ward were assistants and there’s so much pressure — and I’m not even playing. It’s such a great event and you’re just spent by the time it’s over.”