Destination Guides

Ryder Cup Legend José María Olazabal opens Maldives golf academy

Bob Harris

Aerial view, Velaa Private Island Maldives

Spanish golfing legend José María Olazabal of Ryder Cup fame, has opened a new golf academy in the Maldives.

Located on the Velaa Private Island Maldives in the northern Part of Noonu Atoll, the new Velaa Golf Academy by Olazabal features a nine-hole par-three course and high-tech swing studio. Hole lengths range of 65 to 180 yards and greens are guarded by a series of bunkers and water hazards. The challenging layout is specifically designed for golfers to practice the Spanish champion’s famously accurate short and mid-iron game.

The academy also features state-of-the-art electronic equipment, including Flightscope simulator and high-speed cameras. Professional instruction is personalized with ‘one-on-one sessions at the indoor swing studio, which is fitted with all the latest gadgets for golfers to refine their game.

“Golfers can hit all the shots imaginable, from mid-irons to wedges and short-game. In short, practice in paradise,” said Olazabal, a two-time Masters winner and reigning Ryder Cup-winning captain.

Velaa Golf Academy by Olazabal, Velaa Private Island

Velaa Golf Academy by Olazabal, Velaa Private Island

“I also want the experience to be appealing for both young and old, beginners and experts. I hope visitors to the island will be inspired by what we have created and the experience enhances their enjoyment of the game I’m so passionate about.” “I’ve worked on some remarkable projects, but what they have created here is simply awe-inspiring,” said Olazabal, on his visit to officially open the academy.

The new facility adds to the recreational offering at the new private island, which also features 45 private pool villas, yoga pavilion inside a two-story wooden watchtower, a kids’ club and beach volleyball and squash courts, with the only shaded tennis court in the Maldives. Featuring a geography-defying snow room, Velaa’s My Blend Spa by Clarins is the only one in Asia featuring an avant-garde cloud-shaped pod that slowly sways and cradles a guest into deep relaxation.

Opened last December, this resort is the latest ultra luxurious property to debut in the world’s most exotic archipelago, the Maldives. Velaa Private Island fulfills a dream by Czech financier Jiri Smejc and his wife Radka to create “the most perfect beyond luxury place on earth”. “This is not about business. This is about a dream come true,” Smejc insists. However, a night at Velaa ranges from $1,500 for a one-bedroom Beach Pool Villa in the low season to $30,000 a night for a four-bedroom private residence during the holiday season.

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>