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Golf In The Algarve: How It Became No.1 In Europe

Located at the southernmost tips of Portugal, with a coastline facing Africa and only a 2 1/2 hour flight from London (ideal for quick weekends), the “golf coast” has become synonymous with luxury and links courses. This is not surprising. With its breathtaking views, rugged coastline, Mediterranean climate, beaches, safe communities, friendly people and reasonable costs (compared to many other winter holiday destinations) it's no wonder many British ex-pats have made it their new home. In this article, we'll explore the rise of golf resorts Algarve and holiday packages in the south of the country.

From "Browns" to "Greens"

These days you might pass through the arid landscape of this corner of southern Portugal and wonder at the lush green oasis of a golf course in the middle of it all. It would all have looked very different when the first ever course was built in the area in 1920. The lack of available freshwater meant that the players putted on "browns". Fast-forward to the mid-sixties and 3-time British Open champion, Sir Henry Cotton, saw a luxurious future for the area that very few others could see at the time. He began turning this vision to reality by designing the first 18 hole course in the area, this time with watered greens. Cotton's course is today known as The Penina Resort & Hotel and eventually grew to 3 courses in total. 

The 60's, 70's and 80's

Cotton had struck gold and others soon followed on holiday from Britain. Families from Germany, Holland and Scandinavia came later, for the same reasons that people search for “all inclusive holidays Algarve” in google today – to escape the winters of Northern Europe and be able to play the game they enjoy from autumn to early spring. To this day, this period is considered the "season" here. While most came here originally on Algarve golf breaks, many have chosen to spend more than a few weekends here and make a home in one of the many villas surrounding the golf courses Algarve. Today there are even English-language newspapers keeping all the ex-pats up-to-date on what is going on.
Golf in the area reaches the professional game as well, with the European Tour event, The Portuguese Masters, being contested annually on one of the area's championship courses. Not only that, many PGA teaching professionals have decided to base themselves at one of the many resorts and family hotels in the region. 
The area has the largest concentration of courses golf Portugal Algarve (also home to some of the best hotels in the Algarve), some of which include:

  • Oceanico Faldo Course designed by Sir Nick Faldo
  • The Oceanico Victoria designed by Arnold Palmer
  • The Monte Rei Course designed by Jack Nicklaus
  • The Paul McGinley Academy at Quinta Do Lago

Now while some of the famous names above might make you think that there is no cheap golf in Algarve, there are many Algarve golf packages available that make a taking a winter break on the links affordable for everybody. 
Golf Algarve, Portugal has a story full of rapid expansion and famous faces. The best part is, there is much more development on the horizon.