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Portugal is a paradise for golfers, with 80 beautiful courses, different levels of difficulty, and a mild climate which allows you to play with pleasure all year long.Golf is a 365 day a year ‘sport in Portugal, making the country a gathering place for golf players and some of Europe’s most interesting courses. Many of the courses in the country were designed by the best golf architects to capitalize on some breath-taking views and to fit with natural surroundings. They also come in a variety of difficulty levels.
Golfers might take part in the Lisbon Golf Festival that comes in late spring each year or watch the best compete in the Ladies Open in Lisbon.
New courses and resorts are always being added. Most recently, the Pestana Sintra Golf Resort and Spa and the Golfe Dos Alamos opened their doors in the Algarve region this spring. Mild climate, traditional hospitality and fine dining accompanies the golf experience at these resorts. The Amendoeira Resort, coming in 2007, will expand further the wide array of courses that make Portugal a golfing destination.
IN THE ALGARVE
+++Algarve golf options to double
More than half of the golf courses in Portugal are within the Algarve Region on the southernmost tip of the country. Currently there are 30 courses, a number which will soon double with new courses underway in Loule Silves, Castro Marim, Vila Real de Santo Antonio, Portimao, Olhao e Lagos, and others.
The Algarve courses have gained international reputations, helped along by the region’s mild climate and varied geography. Players tee off surrounded by red cliffs or dramatic sea coasts, and there’s a course to fit all levels. Resorts in the area sport luxury clubhouses, manicured greens and flawless fairways, and all are open to visitors.
IN OR NEAR LISBON
+++Lisbon area golf courses have been the site of the Lisbon Area Golf Festival at such courses as Praia d’El Rey, Penha Longa, Belas, Oitavos, Quinta da Marinha, Aroeira I e II, and Quinta do Peru e Troia.
+++The Troia Golf Championship Course, 1 hour south of Lisbon, was designed by the famous American golf architect Robert Trent Jones Senior and features the estuary of the Sado River as a prominent feature.
+++In June, the Quinta da Marinha Golf Course in Cascais hosts the Ladies Open of Portugal, one stop on the Ladies European Tour. The open attracts the best players in the European rankings. The course was the first in Europe to receive a certification from Audubon International for its attention to the natural environment.
+++It’s always spring in Madeira, which means it’s always tee time. Three golf courses dot the two Madeira Islands, accompanied by excellent lodging options. Both the 18-hole Palheiro Golf and 27-hole Clube de Golfe do Santo Da Serra are set among outstanding beautiful scenery.
+++In Porto Santo, about 25 miles from Madeira, try the 27-hole course designed by the famous golfer Seve Ballesteros. After a game, find your own spot on Porto Santo’s 5.5 miles of stunning beach and settle in for a different kind of sand trap.
++The European PGA plays each spring at the Madeira Open, the most important golf tournament on the Madeira Islands.
THE AZORES ISLANDS
+++The Azores is another island group where golfers can play on lush, green courses, year-round, thanks to the mild climate. Being about 932 miles off the coast of Portugal, its vegetation and geography are unique. Golf will come to the group’s smallest island, Pico, in the near future, but for now the islands host three courses.
+++The main island of Sao Miguel offers three excellent courses operated by Verdegolf. You can find Old World design at the Furnas course, where one set of 9 holes, designed by MacKenzie Ross, was created in 1939. Another 9 holes were added a few years ago for a par 72. At 1,700 feet above sea level, the landscape is volcanic and the golf made a fun challenge with the occasional cloud playing through. The town of Furnas offers other diversions including natural hot springs, a spa and well-developed gardens.
+++The Azores’ third course is on the island of Terceira, a 18-hole course at the Terceira Golf Club. The course is frequented by officers from the U.S. and NATO airbase on the island.