As the clocks go forward and the daytime temperature dips into single figures, most golfers start to think about warmer, sunnier shores for some winter golf.
With 35 courses and an average temperature closer to 20 degrees than 10, the Algarve Coast is always a population destination.
In the first of our two part series, we take a look at one of the region's finest courses - Onyira Palmares.
Palmares, three kilometres east of Lagos on the western side of the Algarve, has been transformed into a new 27-hole lay-out by legendary architect Robert Trent Jones Jnr.
Bunker Mentality caught up with Trent Jones at this summer's launch where ambitions for this venue to stage the Ryder Cup were mooted by José Carlos Pinto Coelho, president of Onyria Golf Resorts.
The golf course represents 10 million euros of the 300 million resort project investment which also comprises a planned five star hotel with 172 rooms, a clubhouse with panoramic views OF the Atlantic coast and a driving range with two practice areas.
Trent Jones II was certainly enthused by what Mother Nature handed him.
"When I saw the land I thought 'Wow! Maybe once a decade I might get a piece of land to work with like this'," he told Bunker Mentality.
"We studied the land at great length, in order that the golf course would have the minimum impact upon it. In fact Mother Nature is the best master and the best architect, so we follow her. Never fight with Mother Nature. We follow the land, and let the land evoke a response to us."
Palmares Golf is billed as the golfing 'jewel in the crown of the Algarve' and the three distinctive loops of nine holes — the Alvor, Lagos and Praia courses — enjoy expansive panoramic views across the Bay of Lagos.
The Alvor is predominantly parkland on the elevated areas of the site. You play through pine tree-lined corridors with the majority of holes ascending hillsides or descending through intimate valleys. The parkland setting disappears at the sixth and seventh 'dune' holes before the nine concludes with a tough uphill par-four.
Lagos combines parkland and dunes and incorporates the only two lakes on the course - the short par-three third and the long par-four sixth. Players must combat expansive dunes at the seventh and eighth before the loop concludes with an uphill hole back to the clubhouse.
Coastal dunes are very much in prevalance on the links style Praia nine. Four holes run along the beach and the railway line after descending from a parkland setting. And the closing hole is an uphill par-five, rising back out of the dunes through a deep valley to an amphitheatre just below the clubhouse.
If you are looking for good and varied golf with stunning views and the customary Portuguese hospiality, there are few better places on the Algarve Coast than Onyira Palmares.
GREEN FEES (High/Low):
18 Holes €95/€70
9 Holes €57/€42
2 Rounds Package €155/€125
3 Rounds Package €225/€170
5 Rounds Package €315/€240
Leading leisure airline Monarch offers flights to Faro from Birmingham, London Gatwick, London Luton and Manchester airports with fares, including taxes, starting from £38.99 one way (£67.99 return).
In addition to year-round low fares, Monarch also offers a great range of products and services both on the ground and inflight. All customers are allocated a seat at check-in but for those wishing to select where in the cabin they sit and to ensure that families and groups are seated together, seats can be pre-booked from £7.99 per one-way flight. For customers looking for added comfort, extra legroom seats are also available offering up to six inches of extra space from only £17.99.
Customers travelling on scheduled flights can also avoid the queues at the airport and take advantage of online check-in, which is available between 18 days and 4.5 hours prior to departure. With a great range of tasty hot and cold meals that can be pre-booked or purchased onboard from only £3.00, flying with Monarch really couldn't be simpler.
In addition to flights, Monarch also now offers a huge range of great value holidays, accommodation options, car hire and travel insurance.
STAY AND PLAY:
3 NIGHTS GOLF & LIFESTYLE PACKAGE
- Three nights accommodation at Cascade Hotel or Apartments
- Breakfast in the Hotel restaurant
- Welcome drink
- 2 rounds of golf per person at Palmares Golf Course
- One Rental Car Cat. C for 3 days from/to Faro International Airport, per room
- 50 Euros credit voucher per person to use in Food & Beverages during stay
- One Wine tasting at Cascade Hotel Wine Cellar, per person
- 20% discount in spa treatments during stay*
Rates per person based on October 2011 prices:
Double Single Use: 710 Euros | Double Room: 519 Euros
Double Room Sea View: 539 Euros | Junior Suite Sea View: 595 Euros
1-Bedroom Apartment: 519 Euros | 2-Bedroom Apartment: 420 Euros
*Rates based on standard occupancy:
3 NIGHTS GOLF PACKAGES
- Three nights accommodation at Tivoli Lagos, sharing a Twin Room
- 3 rounds of golf per person at Palmares Golf Course
- Transfers to Palmares Golf Course (from 09h00 to 17h30 — needs to be pre-booked)
Rates per person:
Nov 2011 + Feb + Mar 2012: 288 Euros
Dec 2011 + Jan 2012: 231 Euros