Victorious Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley believes the opening of Quinta do Lago’s redeveloped North Course will cement the prestigious Algarve venue’s position among the best and most exclusive golf resorts in the world.
Days after leading Europe to a memorable Ryder Cup victory against America, McGinley was in Portugal to perform the official opening ceremony of the new €9.6m layout alongside renowned American architect Beau Welling, Quinta do Lago owner Denis O’Brien and the resort’s chief executive John Dwyer.
One of the most talked-about design projects in Europe in 2014, McGinley has redeveloped the course in close collaboration with Welling, with the new venue being completed in the space of just ten months.
McGinley and Welling believe that the resort’s substantial investment programme and forward-thinking attitude will be rewarded in the years to come, helping to maintain its position at the forefront of golf resorts across the world.
As part of a commitment to the environment and to a sustainable golf course, Quinta do Lago will plant more than 2,000 trees in the next five years. McGinley helped to highlight that commitment by planting an umbrella pine tree on the 18th fairway with Welling, O’Brien and Dwyer to commemorate the opening ceremony.
He said: “The North Course is something that we are all very proud of here. Denis O’Brien has had the foresight to upgrade in the facilities consistently over the years. This is one of the biggest investments and it will keep Quinta do Lago established as one of the premier golf resorts all over the world.
“A lot of people find the game very difficult so the aim with the golf course was to make it as playable as possible for golfers of all levels. We are trying to encourage people to play the game in a beautiful place and the aim is not too intimidate but to encourage.
“We didn’t change the template or routing of the course but upgraded it and brought it into the modern world, making it as visual as possible. We want people to go out there, have fun and enjoy the course and its challenge so much that they want to come back and play it again. The course is a challenge but also very fair.
“Beau Welling has great experience of designing courses all over the world and I really enjoyed working with him. The timescale of what has been achieved here is unheard of in golf and congratulations to everyone for pulling it off.”
The redevelopment is the first golf course design project that McGinley has collaborated on together with Welling, who worked with Tom Fazio for more than ten years and is also the main consultant for Tiger Woods Design.
Welling, who has worked on more than 90 projects worldwide including the re-design of the famous PGA Tour course at Quail Hollow and Waterville in Ireland, said: “Quinta do Lago is such a great place for friends, families and people to interact together and what we have built will help the resort plan for the future.
“From a technical point of view, we have looked at how to make the course sustainable for the future. New For example, the new grasses we have introduced will mean that less water is needed to maintain it.
“We are proud that we have created a golf course that all golfers will enjoy in the months and years to come, and I have really enjoyed working with the resort.”
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.
The redevelopment is part of a major €29m investment programme that has been undertaken by Quinta do Lago since 2009, with a further €21m is set to be spent on improving its facilities in the next three years.
In line to become the new number one course at the prestigious family resort, the North Course 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 create 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, all greens, tees, bunkers, irrigation, drainage systems and cart paths have been rebuilt using the latest state-of-the-art technology, with multiple sets of tees introduced on each hole to accommodate players of all levels.
Dwyer added: “What Paul and Beau have achieved in such a short space of time is amazing and we’re very excited about the future. Golfers will be blown away by the redesigned layout and I’m sure it’s a course that they will want to play time and time again.
“The North Course is part of the new face of Quinta do Lago and is the latest significant investment we have made to ensure that the resort remains the most family-friendly venue in the Algarve.”
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