The Algarve – a destination with the Midas touch when it comes to attracting international golfers – is marking its 50th year with the introduction of new ‘Golden Tees’.
From June, all of the Algarve’s top courses will feature specially-commissioned commemorative golden tee markers to celebrate the 50th anniversary since the opening of the sun-drenched region’s first course – Penina – in 1966.
Each visiting golfer will be invited to play their part in marking the milestone by playing from the new golden tees and will then get the chance to register their details on a dedicated website for an opportunity to win 50 green fees.
That will see one lucky winner chosen at random to enjoy free golf at Europe’s favourite golf destination as 50 golden green fees will be given away as a fabulous prize to be used on the fantastic courses throughout 2017.
It’s been an amazing period of development for the Algarve since the birth of the game in the region just one month before Bobby Moore led England to their famous World Cup victory at Wembley half a century ago.
Since Henry Cotton paved the way with his debut design and those first shots were struck at Penina, the quality and diversity of the courses on the Algarve have become the envy of the rest of the world.
And it is fitting that in its golden year, the region is more popular than ever before after record green fee levels were reported with 1.2m rounds played in 2015. Early indications suggest 2016 is set to continue on a similar path.
President of the Algarve Tourism Association, Carlos Luis, said: “We are honoured to be able to mark the 50th anniversary of golf in the Algarve this year and hope golfers will be part of the celebrations with us.
“It’s just another perfect reason for golfers to visit us in 2016 as the Algarve golf industry continues to provide the very best in hospitality, accommodation and golf venues with great value and diversity.
“It should be a golden year for the Algarve.”
It will be a significant period for the region, which has hosted the Portuguese Open on no fewer than 23 occasions, as the cream of European golf will be welcomed in October for the 10th edition of the Portugal Masters at Oceânico Victoria Golf Course.
Keith Pelley, chief executive of the European Tour, said: “The Algarve continues to be a terrific backdrop for tournament golf, having hosted 35 tournaments on The European Tour and Senior Tour, as well as the Senior Tour Qualifying School since 2001.
“We are proud to have been able to showcase this wonderful region to a worldwide audience and I’m sure it will be another golden year for golf on the Algarve with the 50th anniversary celebrations planned, including the 10th edition of the Portugal Masters at Oceânico Victoria Golf Course in Vilamoura.”
Luis Araújo, president of Portugal Tourism Board, added: “It is with great pleasure that Turismo de Portugal joins the celebrations of the Algarve’s 50th golf anniversary. “
“This is indeed a significant achievement and Portugal has much to be thrilled about with this milestone, which is the result of a combined effort from our golf tourism industry over five decades. We remain with an ongoing commitment to delivering the excellence that golfers expect from a destination like the Algarve.”
“A warm thank you to all golfers, and the golf tourism industry!”