5 Reasons Why Every Golfer Should Visit Portugal

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Photo credit: Porto Bay Trade

Many avid golfers have dreamt of playing a round at Augusta National, Hawaii’s pristine Poipu Bay Golf Course, or Scotland’s St Andrews Links. But while daydreaming about these famous, often over-priced and over-crowded getaways, golfers are missing out on one of the world’s best golf destinations — Portugal.

This pint-sized European country is home to roughly 80 golf courses, many of which were designed by famous architects, including Arnold Palmer, Robert Trent Jones and Sir Henry Cotton. Whether you’re seeking a relaxing round surrounded by powder white sand dunes and ocean views or a challenging game with one of the country’s qualified pros, you’re guaranteed to have an unforgettable experience on Portugal’s courses. The following are five reasons why you should start packing your clubs and planning a trip to Portugal today.

1) The Courses Are World-Class

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Portugal’s Lisbon and Algarve coasts are the most famous golf destinations in the country. They’re loved by advanced golfers seeking challenging links and postcard-worthy scenery. The International Association of Golf Tour Operators (IAGTO) named the Algarve Europe’s golf destination of the year in 2014. The organization then awarded the same honor to the capital city of Lisbon just two years later. Play a round on the Algarve’s first course and one of the region’s most awarded, the Penina Hotel and Golf Resort, to catch your first glimpse of just how picturesque Portugal’s courses can be.

2) You Can Golf Year-Round

Tired of tucking your clubs into the closet for the winter? Head to Portugal, where golfers make tee times year-round. The Algarve offers nearly 50 courses, more than 3,000 hours of sunshine each year and consistently mild temperatures that are ideal for playing 18 every day of the week. Similarly, Lisbon offers mild year-round climates that make it easy to plan a golf getaway in spring, summer, fall or winter. Travelers who venture as far as Madeira — a Portuguese archipelago off the northwest coast of Africa — will also enjoy world-class golf courses, exotic scenery and a cozy, subtropical climate. After all, Madeira is only a short flight away.

3) You’ll Be Challenged

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When you go through the work of lugging your clubs to a destination, there’s no doubt you’re looking for a challenge. Portugal’s countless internationally known courses, designed by names like Sir Henry Cotton and Rocky Roquemore, will surely put your skills to the test. Send your ball soaring by cliffs, across sand dunes, through pine trees and over long stretches of water before watching it land on the green.

Be sure to test your abilities on hole 16 at the Vale de Lobo Royal Golf Course designed by Sir Henry Cotton. The hole, requiring a 218-metre-long shot over three cliffs, is one of the most photographed in all of Europe.

4) You Won’t Believe the Views

You’ll probably find it difficult to put your camera away and pull out your clubs when golfing in Portugal. From the Algarve’s golden cliffs and pristine beaches to Lisbon’s perfectly-groomed seaside fairways and Porto’s views of Serra do Marão, one of the biggest perks of golfing in Portugal is the sights you’ll see during every round.

5) You’ll Never Be Bored

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Photo credit: Kyle Taylor

Every great golf getaway involves plenty of sightseeing, dining, nightlife and adventuring off the course. Visitors can snack on seafood and try a surf lesson in the Algarve, experience Lisbon’s cafe culture, white cobblestone streets and World Heritage sites, or discover the romance and rich foodie culture of Porto. Portugal, its historic cities and stunning natural landscapes are guaranteed to leave a lasting impression on you and your fellow travelers, whether they’re golfers or not.

About the Author: Courtney McCaffrey

Courtney McCaffrey is a travel writer and editor based in Wilmington, N.C. In addition to writing, she lives for travel - seeing new places, experiencing new cultures and surfing new waves.

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