The majority of quality golf courses in the Algarve have held European Tour tournaments since the 1970’s and the Portuguese Open and the Portuguese Masters are steeped in history and are two of the most respected events on the Tour. The list of winners is a roll call of European greats though strangely Seve Ballesteros never won an event there.
Penina Golf Resort was the first course to hold a European Tour event hosting the Portuguese Open in 1973 when Spaniard Jaime Benito beat the more well known Benard Gallacher in a play off. Penina hosted the event a further 7 times and the traditional British design of the course seemed to suit English and Scottish players as they dominated the winners rostrum. You do get the feeling that you could be playing an English parkland course all be it with more sunshine which isn’t surprising as it was designed by Sir Henry Cotton who planted over 30,000 trees on the previously swampy terrain. Its probably a bit on the short side in length to challenge the current crop of muscle bound players but is still one of our favourites.
In recent times the Oceanico Victoria course has been the venue of the Portuguese Masters one of the Tours most prestigious events with over 3 million euros in prize money in 2015. Andy Sullivan destroyed the field that year scoring an incredible 23 under par to win by 9 strokes. Whenever you play it try and work out how anybody could score that well on a course that Arnold Palmer designed with its numerous water hazards and well placed bunkers.
Quinta do Lago South has hosted the Portugese Open on 8 occasions since its inception in 1974. The most memorable being in 1989 when Colin Montgomery set the course record of 63 whilst scoring 24 under par for the 72 holes. When it opened in 1974 it was ahead of its time in introducing American style greens and bunkers to the Algarve and its unique setting in the Ria Formosa National Park has proved attractive to both professional and amateur golfers ever since.
The Vale do Lobo complex is the oldest Resort in the Algarve and it last held the Algarve Open in 2003 when it was won by the Swede Fredrik Jacobson. Its reputation since then has meant that it hasn’t had to stage a tournament to promote the benefits of its two courses since as it remains one of the most popular resorts in the Algarve.
There are some great courses in the Algarve and if you want to follow in the footsteps of some of golfs greatest players it is the ideal destination for the perfect golfing holiday.