The Quinta do Lago resort in Portugal has created a blueprint for the return of golfers post-Covid-19, with the long-term focus on sustainability, mental wellbeing and the environment.
The popular Algarve resort has laid the foundations for life after the pandemic by promoting a multi-tiered plan with the emphasis on outdoor living and incorporating three key principles: to foster nature, conserve resources and support the community.
Located in the heart of the Ria Formosa Natural Park, Quinta do Lago has always put the environment high on its list of priorities, with only 9% of the resort been built on, with the rest devoted to golf, water and lakes and green spaces.
As well as featuring improved sustainability on its three 18-hole championship courses, the resort has adopted an enhanced approach to conservation across other sectors of its business, including at its sports hub, The Campus; The Magnolia Hotel, its 12 bars and restaurants and general resort services.
Sean Moriarty, CEO at Quinta do Lago, said: “Following the challenges of Covid, people will be looking for green living, safe spaces and low-density areas, and Quinta do Lago lends itself perfectly to this new approach. We have always been a resort driven by nature with an environmental focus. We are a destination which lends itself to outdoor living and we are looking forward to welcoming guests back to experience our new sustainability initiative – one of our key investments which took place during the initial lockdown.
“Covid enabled us to reflect on what is important and launch this strategy sooner than anticipated, there were policies in place but previously we did not have an official master plan to work towards. This has started with one of our renowned golf courses and has spread across the whole resort.
“People are in need of some good news, and we are looking forward to sharing how we are improving and strengthening our environmental credentials – enhancing guest experience and our relationship with the natural world.”
At the forefront of the resort’s latest initiatives is the renovation of its South Course. Carried out with sustainable goals in mind and with Quinta do Lago golf course superintendent Mark Tupling and his team working with the Golf Environment Organisation (GEO) Foundation, a state-of-the-art irrigation system has also been installed together with more eco-friendly grasses – maximising efficiency and reducing the use of non-renewable resources.
In addition, a planting scheme introducing native plants in and around the golf courses to control and remove invasive exotic species; building ‘bug hotels’ for insects – helping to control garden pests so reducing the use of insecticides – increasing the number of bird-nesting boxes and constructing bee houses; removing single-use plastics at its restaurants; and using a new fleet of electric golf buggies across the resort are among the other initiatives to be introduced to help conserve resources.
Quinta do Lago created its own farm in 2019 to provide its restaurants with homegrown organic produce, while further measures to help foster nature include the placing information boards on the golf courses and nearby nature trails advising people of the wildlife living nearby.
Moriarty added: “It is interesting to think about how we will travel in a post-pandemic world, which has highlighted how important our relationship is with our environment – hopefully, this will have a lasting impact and we will begin to travel more sustainably and live healthier lifestyles as a collective.”