Fourteen people from the Xmas week were joined by 8 new arrivals. The talk was all about the previous weeks marvellous weather and could the forecast be right that it was to continue – well, yes it did! As did the quality of golf and condition of the golf courses.
Waking up each morning over looking the Atlantic Ocean, sandy beach and blue sky’s of Vilamoura from our sea facing rooms at the Vila Gala Ampalius Hotel were a daily delight. Vilamoura goes to sleep through December and January but awakens for a few days around New Year. Our hotel is but a 4 or 5 minute walk from the Marina, a wide choice of restaurants and literally a minute for a stroll along the beach. The rooms are spacious, a good breakfast is served and the evening restaurant surprisingly good, albeit we usually wander into town in the evening. Next Year the Hotel New Year Festivities will be included in the tour price.
We followed our tried and tested format with the golf. Team competitions, an Individual Stableford to find our ” Champion” and a free draw mixed 4BBB to conclude the week. As with the previous week we ran a sweep for an individual event taking the best 3 rounds from 5 and the golf courses were right out the top draw.
With handicaps ranging from 9 to 36 the teams set out for our first round at the splendid Quinta do Lago South and we had runaway team winners Helen, Julia, Alan & Mike by 8 points!
The second team event was played at one of the tighter courses, Vila Sol and proved a favourite of the group. Rosemary, Linda, Kenneth and Peter H were comfortable winners by 5 points on 82.
Another stiff test, Pinheiros Altos, saw a really close contest. No fewer than 4 pairs in this mixed 4BBB scored 36 points, all with a tale of how it might have been better, I’m sure. Diane and Julian were however the pair to go one better and win with a fine 37 on a stiff test.
After the first 3 days Lee took the lead in the individual by 1pt from Alan, Julia leading lady but 8 pts back at this stage.
Following the New Year celebrations we made our way to Laranjal, one of the newer and highly acclaimed designs, for the individual stableford. Ladies were prominent here with Julia leading the way on 34, Jane 32 and Diane 31. Peter H led the men with 33 while Alan and Richard were two back on 31. The result of this put Alan in the best 3 from 5, 54 hole lead on 97, Julia creeping a little closer on 92 with Lee a shot back with 91.
It was at this stage rumours were rife of new singing sensations within our group and, on this evening, following dinner, we returned to the hotel with bated breath to witness our very own karaoke stars! Richard confided in me that only two nights previously he had performed for the first time ever. Having heard the replay his assessment of his performance was “simply awful.” Undaunted, he launched into Rod Stewart’s Maggie May and as one we agreed with his original assessment!! However, his better half Rosemary’s stage presence, ably assisted by Julia and Amalie, came to the rescue and had the whole room rocking with Gloria Gayner’s I will Survive….. And they did… Just!!
By coincidence, the free draw for the final day mixed 4BBB at long time Algarve favourite, Oceanico Old Course, paired Richard and Rosemary together and it’s a testament to their staying power following the previous nights performance that 42 points brought them in clear winners. And a mention for the runners up Martin & Linda who’s 40 points was a great effort in Linda’s first year of playing and I believe first golf holiday. Martin had previously been R/up with Helen and narrowly missed out again.
What a turn around in the 3 from 5 individual event. Alan, who had played steadily and all but led all week had a steady round but couldn’t improve on previous scores and had a three round 97. However, Richard replaced a 25 point round with an excellent 37 to sneak a point in front, but both were outdone by Julia who’s fine 36 gave her a total of 99 for a one shot victory!
Always popular we will return again next year for a similar Christmas and New Year programme at Robinson Club and Vilamoura.
And finally from all of us at David Short Golf we wish you a successful, but more importantly, most enjoyable year on the golf course.
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