Meeting with Ariane Buzzo, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Sperone’s golf.
© Paroles de Corse
Madame Buzzo, you have been in charge at Sperone Golf Club for the last 5 years, what are some of your thoughts on this time?
For 5 years now I have been able to run Sperone Golf Course as the executive general manager, but it was in 2010 that I first became familiar with it, when I had the role of commercial director for almost 2 years. For my team and I, these last years have provided the opportunity to boost the club’s image, to fully restore its former glory by means of a more current but always very deliberate communication strategy. The idea was to capitalise on the standing of this golf club and its international renown, but also to give it its rightful place within the heritage of Bonifacio. Because above all else Sperone is Bonifacio! Being from Bonifacio, it was important for me to make use of the region to promote the golf club, and thereby highlight the beauty of Bonifacio.
Quels services offrez-vous ?
Le Golf de Sperone est ouvert à tous. Nous sommes un golf « commercial » avec des membres présents à l’année, actionnaires et locaux. Ouverts toute l’année, nous proposons un parcours à travers les quatre saisons offrant ainsi des conditions de jeu bien différentes. Ce parcours 18 trous, unique en Corse, est implanté au cœur d’un cadre exceptionnel qui a grandement contribué à la renommée internationale de Sperone. Notre club house dispose d’une superbe vue panoramique sur les Iles Lavezzi et Cavallo, et son restaurant « U Sperun » ouvert tous les midis, accueille tout au long de l’année, une clientèle golfique, mais pas seulement. Nous proposons une jolie carte de saison qui s’adresse à de bons épicuriens souhaitant déjeuner dans un cadre unique entre mer et maquis. Egalement doté d’une boutique nommée « pro shop » du jargon golfique, on y trouve du textile pour le golf et pour l’après golf. Côté hébergement, le golf ne possède pas de structure hôtelière, néanmoins nous travaillons en étroite collaboration avec les hôtels de la micro région, avec qui nous avons mis en place divers packages.
What is the philosophy of Sperone Golf Club?
Sperone Golf Club owes it to itself to uphold the image of its founder, Jacques Dewez. A true visionary, he set the club up in 1991, and our aim is to make sure the club keeps up with the times, all the while preserving his memory. We are extremely fortunate to own such an extensive golf club in Corsica, it is down to us to broaden its appeal and it’s within this context that we aim to communicate as openly as possible, Sperone golf club is open to all! Introductions, discoveries, beginners, amateurs or professionals with the small white ball…
One of our objectives is to open Corsicans’ eyes to Sperone, for them to make the most of it… It is true that in Corsica we don’t share that golfing culture, but little by little, we’ll manage to convince even the most sceptical. It also mustn’t be overlooked that Sperone golf club is currently one of the region’s main economic actors.
As well as breathtaking landscape, the Sperone course is known for its challenges, what are some of the ones you can tell us about?
First and foremost Sperone Gold Course charms you with its architecture. It’s the last great masterpiece by architect Robert Trent Jones. His signature hole is number 16, where players are invited to “drive” over the sea! Covering the course offers players a varied landscape, littered with obstacles! The first peculiarity of Sperone is that the 18 holes split themselves into two 9-hole sections that are completely different but also complement each other. The first section makes its way through the Corsican maquis scrubland, all of the greens being small enough to add an element of complexity to the game. The second section is the one that gets talked about the most, and is highly technical too, as it is at the mercy of the daily, capricious winds of Bonifacio, it borders the open sea… Which results in a stunning panorama for the golfers. And never fails to distract them!
The Sperone course is full of adventure and even the most seasoned will struggle to tame it… It is the master of the realm “Aeolus”, who chooses…
In 2018, France is to host the Ryder Cup, do you think this event could heighten interest in the sport, and could Sperone play its part? If so, what would that be?
For a number of years now, mainly within the FFG (French Golf Federation) the number one goal was to bring the Ryder Cup to French soil. Job done, thanks to the hard work of its president in France, Pascal Grisot, it will unfold in 2018. All golf clubs, and of course Sperone, are gearing up for and discussing this huge event. We all hope, that the appetite for this competition allows golf to gain a stronger foothold and that it makes its way into the heart of the French public as one of the most highly regarded sports. We have to remember that the Ryder Cup is the team sport event of choice between Americans and Europeans. It will offer France extensive media coverage, will enable a championing of French lands, its golf courses, architecture and varied geographical features… And who knows, it could trigger new interest. This international media coverage offers a wonderful opportunity, which can be taken advantage of to showcase the strengths of Sperone, and also those of Corsica.
What are your plans?
My overriding objective is to continue to honour this professional challenge, which is intense but also exciting! It is always with great determination that I do everything within my power to show off our Sperone “product” and to capitalise on this place and its extraordinary course.
Come to this golf club, which gives us, but also perpetuates, the business, its teams and its network. I also have a strong desire to make golf in Corsica more democratic, for islanders, but also to prove that Corsica can become a golfing destination, everything is in its favour, the climate and above all else the existence of infrastructure that has been tailored to all needs and playing levels. Corsica has a number of courses, Porto-Vecchio, Ajaccio, Borgo, Calvi, a very high quality training area in Casinca and recently saw the opening of the Murtoli golf course. The last among this group lead to a general upturn, both as regards the level of local players and as regards an international clientele. This highly distinguished course which is geographically quite close to Sperone, would allow consideration of a close collaboration between the two structures and the establishment of a southern Corsican golf destination, which could be enjoyed all year-round.
This year we are to celebrate 25 years of the club’s existence, just one wish for me… For many years to come in Sperone and long live golf in Corsica.