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The Algarve’s enviable climate and easy access make it particularly alluring to golfers who are able to play almost every day of the year and who are spoilt for choice with such an abundance of golf courses. Over thirty golf courses cover the entire southern coastline so it is essentially a question of finding the landscape, the type of course or the proximity to other forms of entertainment that suit you most. None of the golf courses are very distant from the coast, so apart from providing fabulous ocean views at times, access to them is easy.
Algarve golfing was originally promoted by legendary Henry Cotton, when he designed the first proper grass golf course at Penina in the 1960‘s. Since then, golf courses have proliferated all over the region and nowadays they are a major attraction in this area. In keeping with the Algarve terrain, the courses vary according to their surroundings, so it is worth keeping in mind that the hills and winds of the rugged western coastline might present more challenging conditions than those of the calmer southern coastline. The Parque da Floresta golf course near Sagres, designed by Spaniard Papa Gancedo is one such course. Sharply sloping fairways and greens on hilltops provide beautiful surroundings but make for a challenging game. Boavista Resort, also a challenging course, is situated on a headland between Lagos and Praia da Luz, providing magnificent views of the coastline between Praia da Luz and Sagres, the southernmost tip of continental Europe, as well as of the Monchique mountains in the distance.
In addition to the natural terrain of the land, golf course architects have been careful to incorporate local vegetation into their designs. In the Oceanica Faldo Course, architect Nick Faldo used cacti, wild herbs and olive trees; Christy O’Connor surrounded the 4th and 5th holes in the Oceanica Connor course with orange trees; and the impressive Vale da Pinta course, designed by Ronald Fream, is situated in the middle of an olive grove. Carob trees, almond trees and vineyards adorn many of the Algarve’s golf courses.
The renowned Ocean Course Vale do Lobo, the Quinta do Lago Sul and the Quinta do Lago Norte golf courses also boast fabulous settings. Situated between Vilamoura and Faro, they feature undulating fairways that run alongside the Ria Formosa Nature Reserve before disappearing into the sea, with views of migratory birds flying past in the background.
When the best of Nature, a temperate climat and easy access all come together like this, it is no wonder that the Algarve has become such a popular golfing destination.