INTERVIEW WITH TAMÁS BENKOCS, CEO AT ZALA SPRINGS GOLF RESORT
We spoke to Tamás about his passion for golf and his vision for Zala Springs, Hungary’s first purpose built golf resort community set in the wine producing region of Balaton.
Part of IMG Prestige and designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr., the resort’s 18-hole championship golf course is rated by All Square as the best in Hungary. The resort boasts a state-of-the-art clubhouse, luxury apartments and penthouses to rent or buy, and fabulous wine and dining options.
How did you start playing golf?
Since very young I’ve always had a very competitive approach towards everything I got involved with. I basically want to be the best in anything I do.
If people are brave on their vision, manage to combine rationality with flexibility on the way, work tirelessly on the details and have a bit of luck, they have a pretty good chance to succeed
When my family bought Zala Springs and trusted me to run and develop the property, I felt that I had no choice but to learn how to play the game - And play it well!
What is your best golf memory?
Every time I think of golf at Zala Springs I remember seeing smiling faces and happy people enjoying their time with us.
This is extremely important for us and we’ll also continue to do everything we can to bring people here to try golf for the first time. We strongly believe that this will help growing the game here in Hungary.
What golf clubs do you use?
I play with TaylorMade clubs.
What is the vision behind Zala Springs?
Our aim is to reach the best possible international standards. Zala Springs has all the attributes required to be recognised as a truly iconic golfing venue.
The combination of IMG’s unique expertise and global reach with the passion, knowledge and experience of the Zala Springs team will ensure that we deliver a truly world class experience.
With IMG’s global brand, heritage and commitment to quality, we are confident that they are the right partners to support us with our ambitious international plans.
How receptive are your customers to the fact that Robert Trent Jones Jr designed your golf course?
The Trent Jones surname is one of the most respected in terms of golf course design so we’re extremely proud to be associated with Robert Trent Jones Jr and his team. Any Hungarian or international golfer coming to play at Zala Springs know that they will be able to play a championship course in pristine conditions throughout the year.
What is their feedback after experiencing the course?
Having a Robert Trent Jones Jr. designed course definitely helps marketing the golf club and getting people to come visit us for the first time. When they come and see how well our Greenkeeping team maintains the course, it becomes easier to invite them to come back for a second round, join the club or to invest in a property within the resort.
Your clubhouse is a real masterpiece, what was the inspiration behind it?
The quality of the golf course is matched by our luxurious yet comfortable clubhouse, offering excellent food and local & international wine, and of course, a beautiful terrace overlooking the course.
I remember when we had the first meetings with the Architects and Designers, we told them that in our mind the three key words to create the concept were: rural, Mediterranean and modern!
You also run a real estate project? Why should a golfer buy a property at Zala Springs?
Not many resorts around the world and especially in Europe are able to offer luxury on-site accommodation, world-class golf and a five- star clubhouse with Bistro restaurant in the same place. Located within only two-hour drive from Budapest, Vienna, Zagreb and Ljubljana, the resort is also very close to Lake Balaton, the largest fresh-water lake in Central Europe, the warm mineral therapeutic site of Hévíz and Fly Balaton Airport only 10 minutes away.
The variety of styles and settings means Zala Springs meets both individual lifestyle and property requirements. The resort’s stunning architectural developments are designed to create spaces that encourage wellness and support active, outdoor lifestyle. It is also a fantastic investment opportunity.
How do you see Zala Springs in 10 years?
I can see Zala Springs as the ideal venue for international families to visit and live. We want to position the resort as the best escape for international guests, offering not only fantastic golf facilities but also first-class real estate, a luxurious hotel and fabulous spa & wellness centre.
What is the secret behind the success of Zala Springs?
Building and keeping a strong team is the key for any successful business, and here at Zala Springs we want to build an international team.
This will be extremely important on our international strategy for the resort as we look forward to hosting guests from every part of the world.