#Happy45 La Manga Club: What happened during this week 45 years ago in 1972 at La Manga Club?
From 23rd to 29th October 1972 La Manga Golf Course (as La Manga Club was known at the time) opened its doors for the first time with a tournament attended by some of the biggest names in sport at the time and also some of the most important American and European members of society. During the opening week there was a Gala dinner, award ceremonies, fashion shows and even a traditional country party. The press at the time described the Club as 'the first golf course in Spain and possibly the world where you can see each of the 36 holes from the terrace of the Clubhouse´.
La Manga Club, 28th October 2017. In that first opening golf tournament there were 120 participants divided into 30 teams of 4, made up of one professional and three amateurs. The North and South courses hosted the first tournament, featuring the largest endowment of cash prizes: 2.450.000 'pesetas' were distributed among the 30 top-ranked players (441,000 pesetas for the winner). In addition, the club and the golf courses were blessed by an American priest.
What celebrities attended the opening tournament?
Among the world-class sportsmen and women who attended the 1st International Maritime Cup included Gary Player, who was the director of La Manga Golf (it was the first course in Spain to hire a professional for this post);Bernard Gallacher from Scotland, the Italian Roberto Bernardini; Peter Townsend from Britain and the Frenchman Bernard Pascassio.
Also on the list of names of those that attended were some greats from North America, like Robert Anderson (president of the North American Rockwell Company); big names from industry and European finance and actors Sydney Chaplin (son of the legendary Charlie Chaplin) and Sean Connery. Also US Senator Howard Cannon, creator of 'Dennis the Menace' Hank Ketcham andSpanish tennis player Manuel Santana all made time to pick up the golf club in order not to miss this special event.
What happened during the inauguration?
On Monday 23rd and Tuesday 24th October there were two days of training on the golf courses, plus a welcome cocktail for all participants and guests. The championship was held from Wednesday 25th to Saturday 28th October and culminated with an award ceremony and gala dinner.
At the closing dinner and after the completion of the acts and official speeches, Dave Burton and his Trio performed (one of Las Vegas most beloved singers), followed by La Polaca, a flamenco dancer.
From the very start of the tournament, the attendees were able to enjoy the dances, cocktail parties, dinners, fashion shows (from Mitzou house) and a host of social and sporting activities, including the tradition country party and bullfighting trail which took place on the 26th October.
Who won that opening tournament?
The winners of this opening tournament were the Frenchman Bernard Pascassio and his team of amateurs Bruce Rappaport, Mark Maccormack and Ian Chapman.
(The information in this article has been obtained from the book 'La Manga Club from 1972 to 1997: Recent History and evolution of the landscape of Atamaría' by Rogelio Mouzo Pagán).