La Manga Club Timeline – A History
The humble beginnings of the world renowned La Manga Club date back to 1928.
A small Spanish village called Atamaria which was set in a large valley surrounded by hills in the main principality of Cartagena began its development with the construction of a gun battery which stood overlooking the bay of Portman.
During these early years and due to the mining industry in the area, Atamaria became very popular with the workers who decided to move into the village with their families causing the growth to exceed that of neighboring and larger village Los Belones.
Very soon relevant services like shops and schools were opened and Atamaria continued to grow in popularity, mainly as an agricultural town.
To accommodate the workers and farmhands several buildings were erected but to this day only one remains intact.
A farm laborers house, which was then occupied by an estate administrator, was turned into a riding stable around the mid-80’s.
This building was to become known as El Rancho. There is now a community within La Manga Club that actually sits on the surrounding land of El Rancho and the community restored that building in 2009.
Sowing The Seeds
It was during the 1960’s that things started to develop in Atamaria when an American businessman Gregory Peters (APRIL 8, 1927 – FEBRUARY 14, 2014) decided he liked the area so much that thoughts of real estate on the land became foremost in his mind.
A company was set up by Mr. Peters and his partners to develop the real estate and called it Atamaria S.A
This company would have the sole responsibility for developing commercial property in the area, but the vision was to create an attraction that would not only see commercial properties on the land but also sporting facilities including Golf.
So another company was set up to manage this part of the construction known as La Manga Campo de Golf S.A.
The Start of Something Phenomenal
La Manga Campo de Golf S.A afforded golf professional and Course architect Robert Dean Putman with the task of creating the first Golf Course which was originally set out to be a 9 hole course.
But given carte blanche to use all available land at his own discretion it was soon obvious that Putman had other ideas.
The only condition that he had to work towards that any finished project should be of championship standard.
January 1971 and Robert Dean Putman and his team started to mark out his vision, two courses both of differing architect.
February 1971 the construction of 36 fairways and greens, 14 lakes and 200 bunkers began.
December 1971 construction work was complete and the two courses were built.
The North and South courses were born.
The South Course was re-designed by the legendary Arnold Palmer in 1991
The Birth of The West Course
The West course started life as the Atamaria Course due to its close proximity to the original Village.
The Atamaria Course was originally a 9 hole course designed by Welsh professional and renowned Golf course architect Dave Thomas.
Construction got underway in 1986 and was completed just nine months later.
It wasn’t long after completion that the powers that be decided to change the name to La Princessa.
1991 saw work begin on an additional 9 hole course right next to La Princessa which was initially to be known as Las Sabinas, but again the name was very soon changed to La Princessa II.
1996 and La Princessa and La Princessa II were formed together to make one 18 hole course and re-named the West Course
The Tennis and Leisure Centre
In keeping with the original vision of a multi-sports facility, work on the tennis center was begun in line with the Golf Courses in 1971.
Although it took almost 4 years to complete the Tennis and Leisure center which included a large swimming pool, a clubhouse and children’s play area, it was still finished in time for the grand opening of the resort in 1975
1985 saw English professional and tennis coach David Lloyd appointed Director of the tennis center at which time the name was changed to coincide with the appointment to the David Lloyd Racquet Center.
In the next two years saw additional facilities added which included a gym, a sauna, and a restaurant. May 1987 saw the official opening of the new Tennis Center Building
Three years on and the name changed again to the Oasis Tennis and Leisure Center 1990 at which time it also became a member of The Royal Spanish Tennis Federation.
Today the center is known as the La Manga Club Tennis Center.
Football and Cricket
In keeping with the vision of a multi-sports complex, a full competition sized football pitch was built in 1990.
1997 saw the completion of another five pitches one with a grandstand which created the Professional Football Center.
The center has been the favored destination for many of the worlds top footballing nations for warm weather training.
None more so than the Norwegian Football Federation who signed an agreement with La Manga Club Resort for the use of the facilities.
The Football Center was officially opened in February 1998 with an additional 3 pitches.
La Manga Club is also a major venue for European cricket matches with the addition of a first-class cricket pitch and scoreboard.
The Clubhouse and Hotel
Construction of the very first building to be erected at La Manga Club was the 10,000 square meter Clubhouse in December 1971
It wasn’t until November 1982 that a 4* Hotel was added adjoining the clubhouse and was initially named Las Mimosas Hotel.
The name was changed in 1987 to the aptly named Club Hotel.
New owners of the resort were in place by this time and P+O who had acquired Dennington Espana/European Ferries decided that the Club Hotel couldn’t accommodate the increase in that was expected for hotel bookings and announced that they would be expanding the size with great improvements.
Work began on the expansion in 1991.
The Hyatt Group of hotels was appointed to run the hotel and immediately got to work in making some improvements to the plans.
Although the Hotel was initially known as Hotel Principe Felipe the name was changed to the Hyatt Regency La Manga Hotel.
1991 also saw the closure of the old Hotel and Clubhouse to allow the construction of the Hotel and the new clubhouse was officially opened in July 1992.
The new Hotel opened in June 1993
Ownership of Resort
January 1981 the sale of the resort to Dennington Espana/European Ferries was completed with a commitment from the new owners to invest in the resort “to get La Manga Club going again”.
1982 the new owners changed the official name of the resort from La Manga Golf Club to La Manga Golf and Country Club; in 1984 it was simplified further to La Manga Club and the previous logo was replaced by the one currently still in use. La Manga Campo de Golf S.A. was renamed Inmogolf S.A. in the same year.
1987 P & O (Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company) took over European Ferries and Inmogolf S.A became a subsidiary of P & O.
December 2004 the Club was purchased by MedGroup, a Spanish real estate development company based in Barcelona, and the ownership was vested in the name of two wholly-owned subsidiary companies – La Manga Club S.A. and Inmogolf S.A.