Arguably the ‘Mecca of Golf’, last week the Algarve played host to what has become a very well attended European Tour event that saw Spain’s Alvaro Quiros hold off some big name challengers to win the title.
Portugal has long been considered a major attraction for Europe’s discerning golfers – the country now boasts 75 golf courses, 33 of which are in the Algarve – and the Portugal Masters is the ideal reminder about what is on offer. Contested at the Oce®nico Victoria course, the visions of blue skies and immaculate course conditions only fuels a golfer’s desire to escape the cloudy, uninspiring UK climate.
Each year more than 300,000 golfers head to Portugal’s courses playing 1.4million rounds of golf and generating 25% of Portugal’s tourism revenue. The game has a vital role in the country’s – and the Algarve’s tourism industry.
Last week was the perfect opportunity for Oce®nico Group to launch what is regarded as Europe’s hottest new golfing resort set in the stunning hillsides at Amendoeira, just 25 minutes from Vilamoura.
On the Monday prior to the main event, over 40 professionals, including 27 European Tour winners, took part in an International Pro Am on the two spectacular 18 hole championship courses, designed by six time major winner Nick Faldo and Ryder Cup legend Christy O’Connor Jnr. Europe’s top professionals were rich in praise for what they experienced.
“It was very good; a challenging golf course but also very enjoyable. With a variety of tees, my test was a similar test to the amateurs and although we didn’t have a particularly good score, we thoroughly enjoyed it out there,” commented Gary Murphy.
“I thought the course was very good and the greens were fantastic. For a new course, I thought it was excellent. You have got a bit of everything out there, with par 5’s that you have to plot your way around, while all the par 3’s are excellent; overall, it’s a good test,” added Simon Dyson after completing his round on the O’Connor Jnr course.
“I do enjoy coming out here; I haven’t been for a couple of years but there is just a better class of golf. You can see how the properties have held their price and why Portugal has got the edge over Spain, in my opinion,”
The following day saw some of Europe’s finest players took part in a unique charity shootout that saw England take on teams from Ireland and South Africa in a greensomes stroke play competition.
Oce®nico touring pro Darren Clarke teamed up with young star Rory McIlroy (Ireland) to take on Lee Westwood and David Howell (England), as well as the recent Madrid Masters Champion Charl Schwartzel and James Kingston (South Africa).
The South African team finished on a score of 3 under par winning by two shots from Ireland, leaving the England team trailing on level par. The South African team received a cheque for €8,000 for the players’ chosen charities.
Amendoeira has been earmarked as one of Europe’s hottest new golfing destinations and its grand opening marks a significant step forward in Oce®nico Group’s ambitious plans for the Algarve and beyond.
Over 400 luxury villas and apartments as well as the Amendoeira Sporting Club, which will include tennis courts, football pitch and swimming pool, are also under construction, making Amendoeira the most significant new development in the Algarve in recent years.
With the launch of Amendoeira, Oce®nico Golf increases its portfolio to seven championship venues in the Algarve, as the company also owns the five courses at Vilamoura – Oce®nico Victoria, The Oce®nico Old Course, Oce®nico Millennium, Oce®nico Laguna and Oce®nico Pinhal. As a result, Oce®nico Golf is setting the standard for golf courses in the region.
Oce®nico Golf www.oceanicogroup.com