QUINTA DO LAGO NAMED BEST IN PORTUGAL BY WORLD’S BIGGEST GOLF TITLE

Quinta do Lago’s reputation as one of Europe’s elite golf and lifestyle destinations has risen to new heights after receiving a glowing new endorsement from Golf Digest magazine – the world’s biggest golf media title. 

The exclusive Algarve venue was the only resort in Portugal, and one of only eight across the continent, to be chosen by the magazine as a recipient for its coveted ‘2019 Editors’ Choice Award for the Best Resorts in Continental Europe’. 

Revealed in the latest issue of Golf Digest, the list features a who’s who of the top names in the global golf industry, and was finalised following close consultation with a combination of the magazine’s international affiliate titles and around 1,200 golf-course raters. 

“The winners of Golf Digest's Best Resorts in the Editors' Choice category are those which we'd recommend to any golfer,” said Max Adler, editorial director at Golf Digest magazine.    

“Resorts named as our Editors' Choice are first-class facilities that, first and foremost, have an exemplary offering of unique and quality golf courses. The accommodations must also have amenities that separate themselves above the fray.” 

Located just 15 minutes away from Faro airport, Quinta do Lago – host venue for this year’s Justin Rose Telegraph Junior Golf Championship – has been at the forefront  of Europe’s elite golf, sports and family destinations for nearly five decades and, with a combination of world-class golf and lifestyle facilities, is the perfect choice for a sporting break. 

As well as three 18-hole championship golf courses – the North, South and Laranjal – and outstanding practice facilities, guests can stay in shape at the state-of-the-art performance centre The Campus, a world-class sports hub designed for professionals and amateurs alike to keep fit. 

Complementing the golf facilities is a choice of 13 first-class bars and restaurants that deliver a range of delicious world cuisines – including the acclaimed Bovino Steakhouse and recently-opened Dano’s Sports Bar & Restaurant – with accommodation on offer at the resort’s recently-acquired boutique Magnolia Hotel

Sean Moriarty, CEO at Quinta do Lago, added:  “It’s a great honour for the resort to be chosen for this new international recognition, and to be the only venue in Portugal receiving this award gives the achievement added significance. 

“It’s been another outstanding year of success for the resort on and off the golf course and I’m sure that, with the recent establishment of The Campus as a world-class training facility, and the launch of Dano’s and the Magnolia Hotel, even more exciting times lie ahead.” 

www.quintadolago.com

ALCANADA REVAMP CAPTURED ON CAMERA

Club de Golf Alcanada’s winter revamp can now be seen in all its glory with the launch of a new video.

An extensive €700,000 renovation took place over the winter to replace all 18 greens, upgrade the irrigation, renew all sand in the bunkers and various other improvements.

The course reopened on March 1 and the new greens have since earned rave reviews, which has taken an already-impressive course to a whole new level.

The full three-minute video explains the ambitions of the project, while it also contains footage of the works as they took place, the pivotal figures involved in the process – and, of course, the customary stunning views across the Bay of Alcudia with some spectacular drone photography.

Alcanada’s director of golf, Kristoff Both, said: “We can all look back on the work that was undertaken at Alcanada with a great deal of pride and now it’s fantastic to be able to show that transformation to everyone.”

To see the full video, click here: Welcome to the new Club de Golf Alcanada 

www.golf-alcanada.com

SLIEVE RUSSELL ANNOUNCED AS PGA NATIONAL IRELAND

Slieve Russell Hotel, Golf & Country Club has become one of only a handful of facilities around the world to be endorsed by The PGA.

Situated in the glorious setting of Ballyconnell in County Cavan, Slieve Russell has joined the association’s seven other branded resorts as ‘PGA National Ireland’.

The hotel provides luxury accommodation in a tranquil setting amongst stunning lakes and scenery. The venue also offers a haven of comfort and relaxation with its world-class spa, a state-of-the-art conference centre and a range of indoor and outdoor leisure activities.

Slieve Russell’s acclaimed 18-hole championship course has hosted two European Tour events and was home to the Irish PGA Championship in 1996. In addition, the venue also stages an annual PGA pro-am, with the popular event featuring a collective prize fund of €1.2million since it was first held in 1997 –the highest paid PGA pro-am tournament in Ireland.

Designed by Paddy Merrigan, the natural landscape of West Cavan provides a stunning backdrop to what many describe as one of the finest parkland courses in Ireland. It is accompanied by a nine-hole par-three academy course and an adventure golf facility to inspire the next generation of young players.

Tony Walker, general manager at Slieve Russell Hotel, Golf & Country Club, said: “The golf and leisure facilities that we have at Slieve Russell are among the best in the country, and rebranding as PGA National Ireland will further enhance our position at the forefront of Irish golf.

“These are exciting times for us and this new partnership with not only help to improve our profile domestically, but also to open up many new promotional opportunities abroad.”

All PGA-branded facilities benefit from the direct use of The PGA brand and its associated value built up over the last century. 

The affiliation serves as a highly valued international seal of approval and assures visitors and owners that the course and facilities are of the highest quality. 

PGA chief executive, Robert Maxfield, added: “We are delighted to welcome Slieve Russell to our exceptional list of PGA-branded properties. The PGA National – Ireland further strengthens The PGA brand’s reputation internationally and we look forward to promoting Slieve Russell to both PGA Members and golfers across the globe.”

Set just 90 minutes from Dublin and two hours from Belfast, Slieve Russell is also the home club of up-and-coming Irish golfing stars Lisa and Leona Maguire, both of whom turned professional in 2018 after stellar amateur careers that saw Leona twice ranked as the world’s number one amateur, and twin sister Lisa winning 15 amateur titles.

Complementing the golf course is a 222-bedroom, four-star hotel; an award-winning Ciuin Spa; and an outstanding golf academy where resident head PGA professional Gordon Smyth and his team are available with expert tuition, state-of-the-art video analysis and training programmes to help golfers of all abilities achieve their goals.

www.slieverussell.ie

PRAIA D’EL REY RAISES BAR WITH €4M HOTEL AND GOLF INVESTMENT

Golfers and families can look forward to an improved five-star experience when visiting Praia D’El Rey Marriott Golf & Beach Resort from this summer following a €4m upgrade of the facilities at the award-winning Portuguese venue. 

To help celebrate its 15th anniversary, the resort on Portugal’s Silver Coast has completed an extensive three-year investment programme in its golf, hotel and lifestyle amenities – helping to further elevate its status among Europe’s premier destinations. 

Among the improvements made, all 177 hotel rooms and common areas have been renovated and remodelled with a new modern, ‘natural design’ concept – guaranteeing increased comfort and a superior contemporary experience. 

In addition, an array of new five-star dining experiences can now be enjoyed following a significant upgrade of Praia D’El Rey’s bar and restaurant facilities – including the resort’s renowned Emprata, Mare and Tempera restaurants offering a wider and more varied choice of fresh and authentic local produce than ever before. 

And the level of investment has been matched on the golfing side, with the resort having carried out a number of improvements including a major renovation of its golf academy to complement the five-star golf experience that members and guests can enjoy on its two 18-hole courses, Praia D’El Rey and West Cliffs Golf Links – named as the ‘World’s Best New Course’ at the 2017 World Golf Awards. 

Francisco Cadete, director of golf at Praia D’El Rey Marriott Golf & Beach Resort, said: “Whether you’re looking for a golfing or family holiday, Praia D'El Rey Golf & Beach Resort is the perfect place to visit, and the new investment will help cement our position as the number one golf resort in Portugal for modern travellers. 

“The diversity of five-star experiences provided and the excellent customer service, combined with a unique location close to the sea, two world-class golf courses and cultural heritage sites, make this a magical place where leisure and relaxation go hand-in-hand in the most special way.” 

Situated an hour north of Lisbon on Portugal’s stunning Silver Coast, Praia D’El Rey is regarded among Europe’s premier golf resorts and features outstanding sports and leisure facilities – including two 18-hole championship golf courses ranked among Europe’s top 50 courses. 

As well as golf, the resorts boasts an extensive array of world-class sports, leisure and accommodation facilities including a Marriott hotel, a wide selection of villas, a tennis academy and wide range of watersports, and a luxury spa and health club, while the comprehensive range of therapies and treatments on offer at the Kalyan Spa promise to restore energy and balance to the body after a day at the beach. 

For more information on Praia D’El Rey Marriott Golf & Beach Resort and West Cliffs and to book, go to www.praia-del-rey.com and www.westcliffs.com.

COSTA CÁLIDA TAKES OFF INTO EXCITING NEW ERA

The sky is now the limit for the region of Murcia as its new airport has put the jets under the UK tourist numbers.

The Region de Murcia airport in Corvera, officially opened by King Felipe VI in January, is expected to bring an influx of 20-25 per cent to the number of visitors to the region thanks to an increased flight capacity.

The previous airport – based at San Javier around 30 miles away – was limited in its ambitions for tourism growth as it shared flight capacity with military flights. But as from April, the new site serves 22 commercial destinations in six countries with additional flight routes set to be added later in 2019, while Jet2 has already confirmed two new routes (each flying three times per week) from London Stansted and Birmingham for the summer of 2020.

There are now regular flights to and from London Gatwick, London Stansted, Luton, Leeds-Bradford, Glasgow Prestwick, Bournemouth, Nottingham, Bristol and Manchester with Ryanair, Easyjet and Jet2 among the airlines to have moved their operations to the new airport.

And that is expected to see a significant growth of visitors with 1.3m passengers set to use the new terminal during the course of 2019.

In its first full month of business for February 2019, more than 45,000 passengers used the new airport – an increase of 2.5 per cent from the corresponding month in 2018 recorded at San Javier. Of those passengers, more than 84 per cent were flights between the UK and Murcia.

The UK continues to be the strongest market for Murcia with more than 400,000 visitors in 2018 (around 41 per cent of the total number of tourists to the region.)

However, the number of UK visitors has seen a huge boost in the first two months of 2019 with a 30 per cent increase on 2018 figures for the same period and that upward trend is expected to continue throughout the year.  

A spokesperson for the Instituto de Turismo de la Región de Murcia, said: “The new airport provides many more flight options and convenience for our guests. It will make a huge difference to the region and will make it even more attractive for UK holidaymakers. New flight routes and services are being added all the time so it is an exciting future for the region.”

For more information, visit www.corveraairporttravel.com and www.murciaturistica.es/en

JUSTIN ROSE SPONSORS TELEGRAPH JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIP AT QUINTA DO LAGO

Justin Rose has announced that he is to sponsor this year's Telegraph Junior Golf Championship, with the finals to be held at the exclusive Quinta do Lago resort in Portugal in November.

Regarded as the unofficial ‘major’ of junior golf, the 54-hole stroke play event will see 24 finalists – 12 boys and 12 girls – compete at the award-winning Algarve venue from November 10-15 for the opportunity to join an illustrious list of previous winners.

World number two Rose won the prestigious event back in 1997, while the roll of honour also includes the likes of Ryder Cup colleagues Tommy Fleetwood and Matt Fitzpatrick, as well as Ladies European Tour stars Jodi Ewart Shadoff and Melissa Reid.

Rose said: “I am delighted to announce my sponsorship of the Justin Rose Telegraph Junior Golf Championship, a tournament close to my heart since I won the title back in 1997. 

“It's great to be involved in the championship and to have the opportunity to encourage and grow junior grass-roots golf. I can't wait to see some of this year's talent and good luck to everyone taking part!”

The Justin Rose Telegraph Junior Golf Championship is open to any juniors aged under-18 at midnight on January 1, 2019, and the finals – which will be televised by Sky Sports – will be returning to Quinta do Lago for the fifth time in the last six years.

Qualification for the competition, which is supported by the R&A, European Tour and England Golf, is now open and details on how to enter or how clubs can get  involved can be found at www.telegraph.co.uk/juniorgolf .

Adam Sills, head of sport at The Telegraph, said: “It’s great to have a player of Justin’s calibre backing this year’s championship.  As a former winner who has gone on to be a world number one, he will provide plenty of inspiration for all this year’s junior competitors. I’m looking forward to another great championship in Portugal.”

Sean Moriarty, CEO at Quinta do Lago, added:  “We are very proud to be hosting the Justin Rose Telegraph Junior Golf Championship at Quinta do Lago this year. Golf has always been at the heart of the resort and it is fantastic to be growing the next generation of champions as part of our legacy.

“Justin is a former winner of the event and went on to become the world number one. The tournament will be a great opportunity to inspire and educate young people, as well as a fantastic event for the whole family to enjoy.  We look forward to welcoming everyone to Quinta do Lago and wish all the young hopefuls the very best in the tournament.”

Located just 15 minutes away from Faro airport, Quinta do Lago is renowned among Europe’s elite golf, sports and family destinations and, with a combination of world-class golf and lifestyle facilities, is the perfect choice for a sporting break.

As well as three 18-hole championship golf courses – the North, South and Laranjal – and outstanding practice facilities, guests can stay in shape at the state-of-the-art performance centre The Campus, a world-class sports hub designed for professionals and amateurs alike to keep fit.

Complementing the golf facilities is a choice of 13 first-class bars and restaurants that deliver a range of delicious world cuisines – including the acclaimed Bovino Steakhouse and recently-opened Dano’s Sports Bar & Restaurant – with accommodation on offer at the resort’s recently-acquired boutique Magnolia Hotel.

www.quintadolago.com

WEST CLIFFS SCALES NEW HEIGHTS WITH WORLD GOLF HONOUR

West Cliffs Golf Links has further enhanced its reputation as one of the leading lights of world golf after claiming a leading accolade in Golf Inc. magazine’s prestigious ‘2019 Golf Development of the Year’ awards.

Portugal’s newest golfing star beat off fierce international competition from a collection of golfing venues around the world to be chosen as one of the three main winners in this year’s contest.

Entries were judged across a variety of different categories – including the success of the overall business model, achieving the vision of the architect and the level of sustainability of each development both environmentally and economically. The winners will be recognised at a special ceremony at the Golf Inc. Strategies Summit in Georgia in September.

The accolade is the latest in a growing list of international honours that West Cliffs has won since opening to widespread praise in June 2017 – including being ranked second in the Top 100 Golf Courses website’s latest list of the top golfing layouts in Portugal and being voted as the ‘World’s Best New Golf Course’ at the 2017 World Golf Awards.

Keith Carter, managing editor of Golf Inc magazine, said: “In recognising West Cliffs Golf Links as one of the best new developments of the past year, the Golf Inc. judges pointed to the incredibly scenic location and outstanding design by Cynthia Dye as key factors in their selection. The project team's outstanding commitment to environmental stewardship should serve as a model for the golf industry in Europe.”

Francisco Cadete, director of golf at West Cliffs Golf Links, said: “It’s an honour to receive any award, and to have been acknowledged in a renowned international competition amongst such esteemed company makes everyone at the resort immensely proud.

“The first 18 months have been outstanding for West Cliffs and the course is developing and maturing all the time. The feedback that we continue to receive from golfers from all over the world is incredible, and the most exciting thing from my point of view is that the course is going to get even better in the years to come as it reaches its full potential.”

Managed by Praia D’El Rey Marriott Golf & Beach Resort, West Cliffs has been created over 200 hectares of natural landscape and rolling sand dunes, and offers sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean from each hole.

Situated less than an hour north of Lisbon on the Silver Coast, the par-72 layout – which was designed by Cynthia Dye, her first course in Portugal – has wasted no time at all in making a name for itself across the golfing world, earning rave reviews from golfers and the media alike.

Its growing worldwide reputation was borne out by golfers from no fewer than six continents and 34 different countries – including USA, China, South Korea, Brazil, South Africa and New Zealand – visiting in its opening year, and its popularity has been reflected in green-fee bookings, with the number rounds played expected to reach its target of 28,000 in 2019 – helping to generate golf revenue of €3m a year.

The instant impact made by West Cliffs has also helped Praia D’El Rey cement its status as one of Europe’s elite golf resorts, and the leading golf and lifestyle venue in Portugal.

As well as featuring two 18-hole championship courses, Praia D’El Rey offers an array of other world-class sports and leisure facilities including remodelled five-star ocean front and ocean premium accommodation at a cost of more than €1m and an upgrade of its restaurant facilities.

www.westcliffs.com | www.praia-del-rey.com

FREE BEER SETS THE PACE AT PALMARES

Golfers at Palmares Beach & Golf Resort, in the Algarve, raised a collective glass after winning an important battle in the war on slow play.

The stunning five-star resort in Lagos, which boasts 27 holes, is keen to make its latest tournament –Eradicate Slow Play – a regular event after a successful debut.

As well as introducing the new R&A rules and recommendations, which are designed to speed up play, the philosophy behind the event was embraced by the participants – spurred on by some radical local rules to act as an extra temptation to complete the nine holes of Texas Scramble as quickly as possible.

One incentive in particular – the prospect of free beer in the clubhouse up until one and hour and 45 minutes after the shotgun start – certainly did the trick for the winning team from the UK as they toasted their success.

It meant Brad Walker, Steve Smith and Derek Sanders – with an average age of 62 – enjoyed an hour of quenching their collective thirst with complimentary hospitality after tearing round nine holes in just 45 minutes. Although their score was immaterial, it was still impressive as they posted a one-under-par gross total, while their nearest challengers joined them at the bar just a few minutes later after posting times of 50 and 55 minutes respectively.

Aside from other incentives of replacing all lost balls with a brand new sleeve, the threat of punishment also served its purpose with one-shot penalties handed out for: searching for lost balls, practice swings, hitting provisional balls or reading greens from both sides.

The resort’s operations director, António Pinto Coelho, believes the tournament will now become a fixture at the multi award-winning course, which was extensively redesigned by Robert Trent Jones Jnr in 2011.

He said: “It was a big success. Everyone got into the spirit – especially with a complimentary shot of Medronho before the start. It was just a great time and got back to golf being fun.

“Most people said playing faster made them have more fun and didn’t affect the final score – not that the score mattered for this tournament.

“Seeing some of the participants in their 70s running between shots was quite a sight and we’ve already had many requests to repeat the experience. It will be back again in the near future and perhaps we will come up with a few extra local rules to enjoy!”

www.onyriaresorts.com | www.onyriapalmares.com | www.onyriabeachhousehotel.com

LA MANGA CLUB TO HOST NEW EUROPEAN CRICKET CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

Spain’s prestigious La Manga Club has been selected as the official venue partner for the eagerly-awaited new European Cricket League (ECL), which will launch this summer and has been hailed as cricket’s equivalent of the UEFA Champions League.

The famous sports and leisure resort will host the event for the next three years, with the inaugural tournament taking place in Murcia, south-east Spain, from July 29-31.

Played over 17 matches in a T10 format, ECL 19 will feature the domestic champions of Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Romania, Russia and Spain competing for the chance to be crowned as Continental Europe club cricket’s ‘Kings of Europe’.

And interest in the new competition is set be huge, with all the games being televised live in Europe and India across a combination of broadcast, digital and social channels to 160-plus countries and an estimated audience of more than 142m people. 

Nick Montgomery, general manager at La Manga Club, said: “The European Cricket League is a fantastic new initiative, and we’re thrilled to be playing such an important part in helping to launch such an exciting project. 

“The facilities that we can offer cricket teams are on a par with some of the best in the world, and partnering with this new competition will give us the opportunity to showcase the resort to a truly global audience.” 

La Manga Club is widely-known as the home of cricket in Spain and features an outstanding range of first-class cricket facilities ideal for hosting teams and staging tournaments – including the continent’s only European Cricket Performance Centre. 

ECL 19 will feature sides from Dreux (France), Rotterdam (The Netherlands), Svanholm (Denmark), Bremen (Germany), St. Petersburg (Russia), Brescia (Italy) and Cluj (Romania). Teams will be split into two groups of four with matches being played on a round-robin basis, with the top two from each progressing to contest the semi-finals and final. 

The first league will be limited to eight champion clubs from official ICC member federations, but event organisers plan to increase the number of qualified teams in the coming years. 

Daniel Weston, founder of the European Cricket League, and who plays for the German national cricket team, said: “We are delighted to have La Manga Club on board as the official venue partner for the Champions League of cricket in Europe. 

“Featuring southern Europe's best cricket facilities, the resort is the perfect destination for cricket fans and champion clubs to combine world-class cricket and entertainment in equal measure. 

“There has never been a European-wide league of this nature and it’s our desire to make the ECL the flagship competition in Continental Europe. The team behind the league has vast experience of organising and promoting events of this nature to a global broadcast audience, and we can’t wait to get started.” 

La Manga Club’s European Cricket Performance Centre has been designed to help international teams, counties, schools and colleges, as well as assisting with the development of players and coaches. Its extensive facilities include six first-class grass pitches and two artificial wickets on two existing grounds, plus 23 grass and five artificial net lanes – all with 25-yard run-ups.  

In addition, there are also specialist grass fielding, catching and wicket-keeping areas and, with the final phase of the centre having been completed this winter with its new grass pitches now fully bedded in, La Manga Club is already attracting significant interest with Hampshire, Northamptonshire, Glamorgan and Gloucestershire all confirmed to visit ahead of the start of the new season. 

Also the official overseas training base of the Lawn Tennis Association, La Manga Club’s unrivalled other facilities include three 18-hole golf courses, a 28-court tennis centre and a 2,000sqm Wellness Centre. It also offers the choice of a five-star hotel, four-star serviced apartments and more than 15 bars and restaurants.  

For more information on the European Cricket League, please visit www.ecl.cricket/league