I love football; I mean love it, in fact, you may well call it an obsession.
Unfortunately, I’m not a professional and I never will be, which means I’ll miss out on the opportunity to step onto the pitch at Spain’s greatest stadium – the Nou Camp – and play a game without being handcuffed and marched off for a night in the cells.
However, that’s where golf (another obsession of mine) is completely different.
Again I’m not a professional and I never will be (a common theme here), but if I want to play the best golf course in Spain I can… and have.
The rolling fairways of the Stadium Course at PGA Catalunya Resort welcomes both Tour Professionals – having hosted the Spanish Open twice and European Tour Qualifying School Final Stage four times running – and casual golfers like myself.
It doesn’t matter whether you are a pro or a group of slightly sunburnt Englishmen, you’ll receive the same warm welcome from the friendly staff.
Standing on the elevated first tee looking down at the fairway sweeping round to the left, with the Pyrenees looming large in the distance, you can see why PGA Catalunya Resort was planned to host the 1997 Ryder Cup.
It is such a shame that planning delays led to the matches being switched – the world missed out on this golfing masterpiece with fairways cutting through pine trees and winding around stunning natural water features.
However, the course still witnessed a breathtaking fourball game more recently, albeit two brothers against their father and friend, with a long putt on the final hole securing a half.
Nearly every hole on the Stadium Course leaves a lasting impression. In our group, it was particularly the 11th, a short par-3 from an elevated tee at which you are required to send your shot down to a green surrounded on three sides by water, and the signature Par-4 13th hole, where once more you’re shooting at a peninsula green.
The post-round drinks and tapas on the terrace overlooking the first tee proved to be just as memorable as the course itself – the perfect end to a perfect day on the Stadium Course.
And I didn’t have to be Rory McIlory to experience it.