At the letter A on the golf course, meet Gaston Barras, a leading figure in the world of golf. He tells you how the history of Crans-Montana is closely connected to the sport.
Gaston Barras’ entire life has been closely linked to golf and its development in Crans-Montana. Born into a family of retailers in Montana, his maternal grandfather Ignace-Louis Rey opened a refreshment bar on the first golf course, which was created by the British in 1906. Gaston Barras grew up in Chermignon. Already a caddy at the age of six years old, he learned golf by playing in the meadows with his friends, quickly becoming a seasoned player, and as a teenager he left Valais for the first time to play in the Swiss French Championships in Lausanne.
Thanks to golf, he was able to explore the world and build a network of international relationships, taking René Payot and Antoine Barras, presidents of the Crans-sur Sierre Golf Club, as role models. Following in their footsteps, he in turn also became president of the club, then president of the Swiss Golf Association. Extremely aware of Crans-Montana’s international influence, he associated its two golf courses with prestigious professional names Severiano Ballesteros and Jack Nicklaus, whilst increasing the number of encounters between Crans-sur-Sierre and many other Swiss and European clubs, and also twinning schemes with clubs further afield, such as those in Hong Kong, Nairobi, Sydney, Rio de Janeiro and Singapore.
For golfers, it is the Omega European Masters, the famous Open, which embodies Crans-Montana. Every summer since 1939, it has brought together the very best professional and amateur players in the world, promoting the image of Crans-Montana all over the world. After working as a caddy in the very first edition, Gaston Barras has been very much involved in the organisation and development of the tournament ever since, becoming president of the tournament organisation committee over forty years ago. As a thank you for his dedicated commitment, he has also been named as Honorary Vice President of the European Tour.
On the famous Severiano Ballesteros course, Hole n°7 is considered one of the most beautiful in the world.
Sylvie Doriot Galofaro, Samuel Bonvin and Martial Kamerzin will tell you more about the 125 years project and the history of the resort.