While "Golf in Portugal" has been overshadowed in the past by the famous golf courses (Valderrama) and players (such as Seve Ballesteros and Sergio Garcia) of its neighbour, Spain, times are changing and golf holidays Portugal are now on the rise. Offering exotic playing conditions for the British-based player such as Florida-style water hazards and Augusta-quick greens, Portugal golf packages still beat other winter destinations such as Turkey and Dubai when it comes to affordability.
In 1966 the greatest British player of his era, Sir Henry Cotton, had a dream of escaping the British winter and playing all year around. He found the ideal climate in the Algarve and began transforming the paddy fields he found into what soon became The Penina Resort Course. Soon enough 30-odd courses followed in the area as recreational players, business men and families all began to see its potential. Even famous names such as Sir Nick Faldo and Christy O'Connor Jnr came to design their dream courses. When world-famous professionals fight over land so they can create a links – you know there is something special here.
While the birth of golf hotels Portugal happened in the south of the country due to the outstanding weather and breath-taking views (not to mention a quick trip to the Spanish city of Seville nearby), Lisbon has grown in popularity as a destination for golf breaks Portugal. There you can enjoy your round and then sample the best culture that the capital city has to offer.
Not only has the nation's capital jumped on the bandwagon, but the island of Madeira has become home to many courses and resorts in Portugal as well. Here you can enjoy the mild-all-year-round climate at the southernmost point of the Atlantic Ocean and some of the finest food and wine you will ever taste.
But don't think that the Algarve area has been sleeping while development has been going on elsewhere. In a fiercely competitive “winter getaway” market, those offering cheap golf holidays in Portugal know they must continue to grow as quickly as the grass on the lush fairways. One rising star that has got people talking is the Jack Nicklaus designed Monte Rei, located in the hills near the Spanish border.
To help you along with your choice of destination, here are our favourite courses in the country:
If you ever sit and back wonder about taking a vacation at a resort, enjoying a fresh breakfast on the balcony before wandering over to Ryder Cup Captain Paul Mcginley's driving range to hit a bucket of balls and get a lesson from a pro, all for an affordable price, then an golf holidays in Portugal all inclusive will make your dreams come true. There is nowhere else that has an infrastructure specifically dedicated to the needs of players – from trained staff at resorts who are knowledgeable about the game to shuttle buses ferrying guests to and from the courses, the only question that remains is: "what are you waiting for"? Book golf in Portugal today!