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Golf Travel Guide: Portugal

Written by  on Sunday, 25 September 2011
Golf Travel Guide: Portugal 5.0 out of 5 based on 2 votes.
Golf Travel Guide: Portugal

Portugal has long been known for its top quality golf courses and the Algarve in particular has become synonymous with golfing breaks. It's the Lisbon Coast and Madeira however that are the real up and coming destinations in Portugal for those after a bit of holiday sun along side their golf.

With its temperate climate, the Lisbon Coast region enjoys sunshine almost all year round while the Portuguese island of Madeira has a mild sub-tropical climate, producing perfect backdrops for a round or two of golf. Here's just a little taster of what these holiday spots have to offer.

Penha Longa Golf Resort

In the Lisboa e Vale de Tejo region of Portugal, Penha Longa is situated among a stunning landscape of valleys, forests, and rocky mountains, and is a fantastic place to play golf. The resort's two courses are the Atlantic, an 18-hole, par 72 championship course, and the Monastery, a nine-hole, par 35 golf course. The Atlantic is now ranked as one of the top 30 golf courses in continental Europe and can be particularly challenging on days when the wind blows across the mountains.

Green fees (dependent on time of year)

  • 18 holes (Atlantic) - from 60 euros (weekends/holidays) 45 euros (weekdays)
  • 9 holes (Atlantic) - from 37.50 euros (weekends/holidays) 32.50 euros (weekdays)
  • 18 holes (Monastery) - from 25 euros (weekends/holidays) 20 euros (weekdays)
  • 9 holes (Monastery) - from 17.50 euros (weekends/holidays) 15 euros (weekdays)

Accommodation

If you opt to stay at the Penha Longa Golf Resort's five star hotel, rates start at 150 euros a night for a deluxe room. Their unlimited golf package includes one night's accommodation in a deluxe forest view room, breakfast buffet, unlimited green fees over 24 hours, and costs from 245 euros. Alternatively, there is ample choice of hotels in the nearby town of Sintra. The Sintra Bliss House is a small but charming hotel and a one night stay in a double room will cost 70 euros upwards.

Praia D'El Rey Golf & Beach Resort

An hour north of Lisbon, Praia D'El Rey's championship golf course, opened in 1997, is considered one of the best in the area. Set among a vast estate of pine forests and rolling sand dunes, this 18-hole, par 72 seaside links course has a wonderful variety of holes that make for an exhilarating round of golf. With breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean and nearby Berlenga Islands, you really can't ask for much more from a golfing holiday.

Green fees (dependent on time of year)

  • 9 holes - from 63.75 euros (weekends/holidays) 52.50 euros (weekdays)
  • 18 holes - from 93.75 euros (weekends/holidays) 75.50 euros (weekdays)
  • 36 holes - from 157.50 euros (weekends/weekdays) 127.50 euros (weekdays)

Accommodation

Prices start at 120 euros a night for a standard double room, with buffet breakfast included, at the resort's five star Marriot Hotel. They also offer golf packages from 230 euros a night and that includes room, buffet breakfast, and a full day's golf. If you're on a tighter budget, the Estalagem Do Convento Hotel in the medieval town of Óbidos has double rooms from as little as 60 euros a night. Óbidos is a half-hour drive from Praia D'El Rey.

Santo da Serra Golf Club

Madeira, known as 'the pearl of the North Atlantic', has some lovely golf courses despite its small size. The Santo da Serra Golf Club is the oldest on the island having been originally opened in 1937 as a 9-hole course. It is now made up of three 9-hole circuits; the Machico, the Desertas, and the Serras. Located high above the Machico Bay, the views from the course on a clear day are simply spectacular. Putting will probably present the most difficulty during a round as the greens are small and slope considerably.

Green fees

  • 18 holes - 100 euros
  • Seven days unlimited golf - 275 euros
  • Four player offer (includes green fee, trolley, and lunch) - 370 euros

Accommodation

Surrounded by dense forest, the Enotel Hotel Do Santo is just a five minute walk from the Santo da Serra Golf Club. Rates for a standard double room with breakfast start at around 40 euros a night. If you fancy staying somewhere a bit more luxurious, why not try the Estalagem Albatroz. It has 400 metres of private beach, views to die for, and is just over a mile from Santo da Serra. One night's stay will set you back at least 100 euros.

Flights

Flights to Lisbon are available with Easy Jet from London, Liverpool, Bristol, and Edinburgh. Return fares start at around £52 from London Gatwick and £62 from Edinburgh. You can also fly return to Madeira from London Gatwick for as little as £68 and £98 from Bristol.

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Graham Green

Graham runs the Leaderboard Golf Centre - a very busy 37-bay Driving Range, Retail Store, Custom Fitting and Coaching improvement Centre. 

He also runs the retail side for Reading Golf Club, where Leaderboard have a second shop.

His role consists of a multitude of responsibilities, from standard office work to face-to-face selling, custom fitting and team management. In his own words – "It's a very varied role and always full on, yet extremely challenging and exciting. I'm not afraid to get my hands dirty, so and I'll do most jobs if required - that includes, being a green-keeper, repair man and general Jack of all trades."

Graham started his golf career at Reading Golf Club working with Andrew Wild, who was the head professional there at the time. When Paul and Jennifer Gibbons set up Leaderboard and purchased the driving range in December 1999, Graham jumped at the chance to work for them.

It was Paul Gibbons' enthusiasm for golf, along with his business acumen, which encouraged Graham and meant that he didn't hesitate when he was given the opportunity to work for Leaderboard. Graham believes it's a privilege and a pleasure to be working with such great people on the Leaderboard team.

Graham qualified from the PGA with Distinction in 2003, gaining a Titleist Scholarship. A couple of years later, when Andrew Wild moved across to run Sandford Springs Golf Club, Graham was promoted to General Manager at the Leaderboard Golf Centre.

He describes the favourite parts of his job role with great enthusiasm – "My biggest buzz is seeing amateur golfers of all abilities improving and enjoying the game more. Golf has been very good to me and being able to give back to the sport gives me great drive and determination."