European Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley will bring a busy few months to a memorable end in October when he officially opens his latest golf course design project – the eagerly-awaited redeveloped North Course at Portugal’s prestigious Quinta do Lago resort.
McGinley will be on hand to perform the official opening ceremony of the €9.6m new layout on Tuesday, 7th October, just a week after leading the European team in the Ryder Cup.
The popular Irishman has redesigned the layout in close collaboration with renowned American architect Beau Welling. The course redevelopment is part of a €29m investment programme that has been undertaken by Quinta do Lago since 2009, with a further €21m planned to be spent on improving its facilities in the next three years.
A frequent visitor to Quinta do Lago for more than 20 years, the North Course is the latest major project that McGinley has been involved in at Europe’s leading family destination after opening his Paul McGinley Golf Academy in 2011 and launching a new state-of-the-art TaylorMade Fitting Center last year.
McGinley said: “This has been a very exciting project to be involved in and Beau and I are very proud of what we have created.
“I’ve been coming to Quinta do Lago with my family for many years now and it keeps getting better and better. The new design will test golfers in many different ways and I believe this is a great addition to Europe’s leading destination.”
One of the most talked about development projects in Europe in 2014, Quinta do Lago’s revamped North Course has been built to the highest specifications with a major investment programme and is in line to become the new number one course at the prestigious family resort.
The layout has been revamped with the emphasis firmly on precision and strategy. While many modern-day developments tend to focus on length, Welling and McGinley have been keen to design a golfing experience where accuracy and course management are the key factors, and a course that is playable and fun for golfers of all abilities.
Among the changes introduced on the par-72, 6,776-yard course, which has been closed since last December, all greens, tees, bunkers, irrigation, drainage systems and cart paths have been rebuilt using the latest state-of-the-art technology, with four sets of tees introduced on each hole to accommodate players of all levels.
With the existing turf on all tees, fairways and greens having been stripped back, the final figures for completing such an ambitious project make impressive reading. A staggering total of 379,800 tonnes of earth has been moved on site, and an additional 93.5km of new piping being fitted on the new layout.
A low-cut Bermuda grass approach has been introduced around greens to create a myriad of recovery shot options for increased satisfaction on all levels of play. The aesthetics of the golf course have also significantly improved through the introduction of a cool season rough grass and the select planting of native grasses and specimen trees to help the environment.
The renovation has also allowed Quinta do Lago to further reduce the impact on the environment by using recycled water and solar energy to maintain the course. The reduction of grassed areas will lessen the impact on the environment and the new design will include the creation of some new animal and plant habitats.
Welling, who has worked on more than 90 projects worldwide, said: “We have kept the routing of the North Course intact, but we have totally reworked the golf experience within the existing corridors. Specifically, we have worked very hard to make the experience be more playable for higher handicappers while at the same time created precise target areas for the better player looking to score.
“Paul has been great to work with. He is very passionate about golf in general, but he has a particular and keen interest in Quinta do Lago.
“We quickly realised we were very much ‘aligned’ in terms of what we wanted to see happen with the improvements to the North Course, so collaboration has been easy. We both put a big premium on playability, but also in asking golfers to use their creativity when approaching a shot. The North Course is going to require strategic thinking and have a lot of shot values, no doubt a big imprint of Paul’s influence.”
Set amongst 2,000 acres of the picturesque Ria Formosa Natural Park, Quinta do Lago is one of the most highly regarded golf and residential developments in the Algarve since opening in 1972. Located just 15 minutes from Faro airport, the resort offers residents and guests an unparalleled location benefiting from a year-round temperate climate, a variety of lifestyle pursuits and a strong sense of community.
Since its inception, Quinta do Lago has been at the forefront of European golf with three 18-hole championship courses – Quinta do Lago North and South courses and Laranjal – matched by outstanding practice facilities at the Paul McGinley Academy and the new TaylorMade Fitting Center, which gives golfers the chance to enjoy the ultimate club-fitting experience by providing them with the tools and techniques used by professionals on tour.
Quinta do Lago www.quintadolago.com