Portugal – March 2017 Blog
Portugal – March 2017 – by Peter Craigon, Morton Golf Holidays
Fiona and I have just returned from the type of high end and top class service holiday which we have been supplying for our clients for the last 13 years. The difference with this trip was that it was in Portugal rather than the wondrous experiences our clients have when they come to Scotland or Ireland ( or England or Wales )!
As we have such an extensive and yet loyal client base which has been built up over years of providing top class service we are often asked which other destinations we do. So it was not too onerous a task to arrange the type of high end trip for ourselves we normally deliver to our clients. And I must say what a wonderful experience we have just had and now when our clients ask what other golfing destination can you offer we’d be delighted to recommend Portugal and specifically the Cascais area near to Lisbon. We arranged the same type of meet & greet service we include for our clients – there was a happy smiling Petra waiting in arrivals in Lisbon Airport holding up a sign with our names on it – she then took us to meet our driver and about 40 minutes later we were checking into our hotel.
My first game of golf was at the wonderful Penha Longa which was only 20 minutes from our hotel – for all of my 4 games I had arranged for our driver to take me and then come back for me after my round. It was really cool to experience the type of service we offer to our clients – note to self – “we must do this more often “! Penha Longa has hosted the Portugal Open a number of times and it is a true test of golf with some spectacular views to the sea, mountains and from one tee on the front nine you look directly over the racing circuit which once held the Portugal Grand Prix! This was a very classy place to start my tour and after golf I had a delightful lunch with my Dutch playing partner and her husband in the clubhouse balcony restaurant overlooking the 18th hole!
Our tour was not just about golf and Fiona had 4 days of uninterrupted sun bathing by the hotel pool – average temperature was 23 C – not bad for the 3rd week in March. We also had a great day in Lisbon on the City Bus Tour – the history and buildings in the city rival anything anywhere in Europe. We finished our day with a couple of drinks in the Museu da Cerveja overlooking Commere Square which is a pretty awesome place to do a little people watching.
My next game was at Oitavos Dunes – a sort of links built about 25 years ago by famous American golf course architect – Arthur Hills. I must say he has done a great job and this course has also hosted the Portugal Open – in fact Scotland’s last Open Champion Paul Lawrie is quoted as saying it is one of his favourite courses.
My 3rd game was at Quinta da Marinha designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr and it provides a stiff test with as you’d expect water on a number of holes. This is a first class resort which is where we stayed for the trip – a sort of dream ticket for me in that the range is only about 50 yards from the front door of the hotel and the 1st tee even closer !!
To round off what has been a wonderful trip my last game was at the 2nd oldest club in Portugal – the Estoril Golf Club. It’s a throwback to the old days as it was designed in the 1920s and it very much proves you do not need length to provide one of the classiest golf courses around – oh and the greens are about as fast as Augusta!! They have a beautiful old clubhouse and in reception a board shows all of the Open da Portugal winners – Estoril hosted all of these main tour events from 1953 when Scotland’s Eric Brown was the first winner. Ramon Sota was a multiple winner and for those who don’t know he had a very famous nephew (a certain Seve Ballesteros) – other winners at Estoril include Brian Hugget and Sky’s own Rob Lee was the last winner there in 1987!
So when we are now asked by our clients which other great golf destinations we can offer we will have no hesitation in putting together a high end tour to the Lisbon area to play some of these brilliant courses I have just experienced.
Peter Craigon, Managing Director, Morton Golf Holidays