Golf in Portugal Attracts Record Numbers


Visitors to the Algarve are used to its golden sands and golden sunsets, but now Portugal's most popular holiday destination is tempting tourists with another kind of gold altogether.

To celebrate 50 years since the opening of the Algarve's first golf course (the Henry Cotton-designed Penina, in 1966), from June 2016 the region's top courses will feature commemorative golden tee markers. Each visiting golfer will be given the opportunity to play from the specially commissioned golden tees as part of the summer's celebrations of the role of golf in Portugal's tourism heritage.

Golfing in Portugal has never been more popular. A record 1.2 million rounds were played in the Algarve in 2015 and 2016 has already got off to a bumper start, based on figures from the Algarve Tourism Association. Yet according to the KPMG Golf Participation Report for Europe 2016, Portugal itself is home to just 13,484 of Europe's more than 4.1 million registered golfers. The figures show the importance of golf tourism to the Algarve's tourist industry, as well as highlighting the popularity of the region's courses.

Those courses are so popular that golf properties in the Algarve are some of the area's most impressive and sought after residences. Celebrity owners rub shoulders with entrepreneurs both on the courses and off. Duncan Bannatyne, Peter Jones, Rubens Barrichello, Steven Gerrard and a whole host of other celebrities have bought houses in the area. Footballers in particular seem to have a soft spot for the region: Alan Shearer, Michael Owen, Teddy Sheringham, José Mourinho, Cristiano Ronaldo, Robbie Fowler and Gareth Southgate all own homes there.

Chris White, Founding Director of Algarve-based boutique estate agency Ideal Homes Portugal, explains,

“Portugal is unquestionably one of the world's most beautiful golfing destinations and as such golf properties there are in huge demand. Properties with views over the region's most famous courses – those at Quinta do Lago and Vale do Lobo – command serious price premiums due to their exclusive locations and superior finish and facilities. Golfers around the world aspire to own these villas. They are some of the Algarve's most stunning properties.”

The Algarve is often seen as Portugal's golden child due to its perennial popularity with domestic and international visitors alike. Blessed with more than 300 days of sunshine per year, the region is home to everything from gorgeous beaches and picturesque coves to rugged mountains and mile upon mile of sweet-scented orange groves. With 50 years of prestigious golfing history thrown into the mix, it's an area that really does have it all so far as meeting the demands of modern tourism is concerned.

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