The Tivoli Marina Hotel was our venue for the third consecutive year. Very conveniently situated to walk out into the town and a plethora of restaurants, overlooking the Atlantic from one aspect and the Marina the other, this large modern hotel makes a very comfortable centre for a golf week.
The highly rated Don Alfonso Restaurant was our choice to see in the New Year. It is always difficult to suit all for this event, but I think the restaurant provided an excellent evening and we all enjoyed a well prepared dinner complimented by free flowing wine – I have had much worse!! And we ate well during the rest of the week too, having our farewell meal in “Peppers”, the hotels award winning steak restaurant.
The Golf was played over the 5 Dom Pedro Vilamoura courses, three of which I had not played for maybe 30 years. The Old Course has stood the test of time and if not ones favorite, it would rank highly in most peoples list of Algarve golf courses. Undulating without being too hilly, winding its way through the pines and olive trees, a truly classic test. In contrast one of the newest, Victoria, established home of the Portuguese Masters, offers a completely different modern design. The first nine is quite open and one can understand why some low scores are returned by the top players, while the second half offers much risk and reward playing over and between water hazards. A good breeze would always make it rather interesting and Oliver Fisher’s 59 in this years Masters takes some believing!
I was pleasantly surprised by the other three. Laguna and Pinhal, with the Old Course, I believe were the original Vilamoura 1,2 & 3. While not in quite the same pristine condition as the former two, along with Millennium they made for some very pleasant golf indeed. Playing through olive and pine trees, occasionally more open to lull one into a false sense of security (although a good number of strategically positioned bunkers keeps one on their toes) before bringing water into play or plunging back into the trees they are a most pleasant trio of courses.
The previous week, Dougie had been Mr consistency and this week another “old dog” came to the fore. Mick featured in winning teams, won the 4BBB with Trish and going into the final day with a three point lead over Alan, sealed the winners prize with a very good 36 points.
Next year we intend spending New Year at the Robinson Club, however, I’m sure we will return to play golf on these courses again in the not to distant future.
Happy New Year