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Former BBC Strictly Come Dancing winner Chris Hollins joins travel writer Jeff Fuidge for a round of golf at Spain's premier golf resort PGA Catalunya

By Jeff Fuidge
Jeff Fuidge and Chris Hollins on the 13th tee of The Stadium Course at PGA Catalunya
Jeff Fuidge and Chris Hollins on the 13th tee of The Stadium Course at PGA Catalunya

With BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing final this weekend, a thought occurred to me about what life must be like for the victor long after the spray tan and glitter have lost their sheen.

Is the space in their lives difficult after the physical and mental demands of the 12-week competition and the gruelling daily challenge, or is it just one huge relief to get it over and done with?

These were some of the questions I asked former Strictly winner Chris Hollins, while playing a round of golf at Spain’s premier golf course.

Chris and I spend a few pleasant hours walking (not waltzing) the fairways of the magnificent PGA Catalunya, in Girona, on a sunny afternoon. And, while there was a degree of spin on the ball on the par threes, and many a neat shoulder turn as he drove off the tees on the glorious Stadium Course, there wasn’t a fleckle or two-step in sight – these days it’s Strictly golf for Chris.

“It was a fantastic experience,” he said. “Being taught to dance by one of the best in the world, was a gem of a job. I had a great time and wouldn’t have missed that opportunity for the world.”

After being very much the outsider at the start of the 2009 competition, with his unflagging work ethic and the teaching skills of Kent-based partner Ola Jordan, he was crowned champion.

Sadly for Chris, the expectation of his 'first dance' with his bride Sarah, in 2012, would have had judge Craig Revel Horwood bemoaning his skills and saying 'it was a disaastah dahling'.

"It was terrible and an embarrassment," he said. Sadly, it's not something I've kept up with, as I don't really get much opportunity to dance anymore," he said.

After his success his life has changed dramatically. He left as presenter of sport on the BBC Breakfast Show, went on to present a number of programmes, and soon afterwards left the BBC.

Now, the 46-year-old father of two, has worked with BT Sport and runs his own TV film production company.

With a couple of shows under his belt, he is relying on the same work ethic he showed in his Strictly days to bag a new series which he hopes to start filming soon in USA.

While he admits his dancing days are over, his sporting links continue with golf. He has links with PGA Catalunya which he is helping to launch an exciting programme of developments designed to take it to a full-blown resort complex, complete with golf and sporting leisure activities for the whole family within the next three years.

A huge lake will provide for sailing, kayaking and there will be two beaches for those who prefer to swim or simply relax by the water’s edge.

The two courses, The Stadium, the number one course in Spain, and The Tour are terrific challenges, but, despite their difficulty, they still give the higher handicap player a chance to score well.

The Stadium Course has been consistently ranked among the best 10 golf courses in Europe since it was opened in 1999 and was recently voted at 77 in the world, No 3 in continental Europe and No 1 in Spain. As the venue for numerous PGA European Circuit tournaments, it is also routinely singled out for praise from the professional playing fraternity.

Meanwhile, the Tour Course, is not to be ignored and worthy of playing as a slightly less tough challenge. Dominated by pine trees and lakes, the course is shorter and a little less difficult to play than the Stadium, yet the Ángel Gallardo and Neil Coles design ensures that it remains a challenge for every level of player.

PGA Catalunya - chipping onto the 12th of The Stadium Course
PGA Catalunya - chipping onto the 12th of The Stadium Course

Most of the holes feature wide fairways and strategically placed bunkers, which can be forgiving of a less than perfect shot. Another feature sure to focus the mind is that it seems you are never far from a water hazard.

There is no question that the Tour Course is a worthy challenge. The prestige of this remarkable Golf course was born through its status as co-host of the European Tour Qualifying School Final Stage since 2008.

The resort also offers 5 star hotel accommodation, The Camiral, which has149 rooms with panoramic views over the golf courses, swimming pool or gardens, offering luxurious comfort and design. Many of the rooms are inter-connecting, making them perfect for a family getaway.

The refurbished and stunning hotel restaurant provides the perfect eating space with cosy corners for romantic dinners or a more open environment for groups or larger families.

When you add in the fact that the resort is also soon to deliver an additional hotel, Caddy Rooms, aimed at golf and sports visitors, two football pitches, an equestrian centre as well as a man-made recreational lake, it is easy to see just how completely PGA Catalunya Resort has evolved from an elite golf venue to a genuine, multi-faceted lifestyle destination.

For more information contact http://www.pgacatalunya.com/

Views of the pool from one of the suites in the 5 star Camiral Hotel at PGA Catalunya
Views of the pool from one of the suites in the 5 star Camiral Hotel at PGA Catalunya

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