Spectacular Portugal!

San Lorenzo Golf Club If you are like me then the only thing that turns your attention to Portugal is it's most famous product - Port! And I really do enjoy a glass of aged vintage port, but I enjoy a sun drenched day on a stunning golf course a lot more. Portugal is very often overlooked as a golf destination but there is so much that it has to offer over just about every other golf destination in Europe.

The two primary golf destinations in Portugal are the Algarve in the south and the Lisbon coast in the central part of the country.

Definitely one of  Europe's best destinations when it comes to planning the ultimate golf vacation, the Algarve is home to over 30 golf courses and offers an extensive array of accommodation, ranging from vacation homes to golf resorts and hotels.

Algarve Golf

Long known as a beach destination, it was the legendary Sir Henry Cotton who started golf in the Algarve in 1966 when he transformed a rice field into a beautiful course - the first of three at the Penina Golf Resort. While in the Algarve be sure to visit Portimao and Vilamoura, which is regarded as the crown jewel of the region. Temperatures are mild here and peak season is actually during the winter months.

The Lisbon coast appears to be the emerging star of Portuguese golf! The Atlantic shoreline provides a breathtaking backdrop at the stunning resorts of Quinta Da Marinha and Praia D'el Rey.

Praia D'el Rey

Portugal seems to be more popular than it has ever been and why not? With the food, wine, weather and now golf that it has to offer who would not want to visit.
If you are looking for a European golf vacation in the sun, you simply must play

Luxurious Irish Links - Doonbeg Golf Club

The Lodge at Doonbeg Ireland is my favorite country in the world to play golf in and nowhere in all of Ireland is the combination of luxury and pure Irish links golf better than on the west coast of Ireland at Doonbeg.

The golf course, designed by Greg Norman, is a true links gem with nine holes going out and nine more bringing you home.  The course plays 6,885 yards from the back tees and it has everything from pot bunkers, to undulating greens, exciting, driveable par fours and treacherous par threes.  The five par threes are exhilarating with the shorter 9th, 11th and 14th leading the pack.

The 14th at Doonbeg

The  signature 14th hole plays to 111yards from the back tees and I have hit every club in my bag from a seven iron up in to the green.  Or at least the vicinity of the green!  As you can tell from the picture above it really is a case of do or die!  While the ocean is in view from sixteen of the eighteen holes it certainly does not come into play (on all of them!) and all skill levels should be able to have a fantastic day of golf.  There are five different sets of tees offered.  Other than one questionable green complex (#12) I thought all the holes were memorable,  very playable and interesting.  Actually quite a rare combination.

From a golf vacation perspective Doonbeg's location in County Clare is excellent as you are in close proximity to Shannon airport and the esteemed Ballybunion and Lahinch links courses.

While the course has been known to abuse a few of it's guests you will not experience anything of the sort at the Lodge at Doonbeg.  I have had the privilege of spending a handful of nights within her solid stone walls and I have never experienced a finer hotel in all my travels.  The food, bedding, customer service and attention to detail are second to none!  Oh, and the view is not too bad either!  Should the Guinness not have done the trick after the round, the ladies, and gents if you prefer, have access to the world class spa to soothe away those few too many swings out on the course.

Terri and I will travel with a group of  'friends' to Doonbeg later this year to compete in the Norman Trophy.  We cannot wait to experience all the luxury and links Doonbeg has to offer.

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The 9th at Doonbeg

Things to Ponder:

  • The other day my son asked asked me why I had a Bobby Jones haircut?! That boy is getting crazy about golf....
  • My prayers are with the Mickelson family at the moment. Occasions like this make me realize what truly is important. Tell someone you care about that you love them!
  • Look for my pick this week, Mr. Ian Poulter, to dominate the field!
  • Thanks to you all for feedback on my post "Family Golf" - I appreciate the words of encouragement.
  • Charles Barkley is a funny man, but Hank Haney has had no chance from day one! You cannot cure yips with instruction!  The only hope Sir Charles has is cross handed (my choice) or left handed. End of story!
  • Anybody out there know of some secret links golf destinations please let me know.