TRAVEL FOCUS: RIBAGOLFE ROCKS
Hailed as the ‘Valderrama of Portugal’, Ribagolfe has amassed an extensive fan base over the years.
And Europe’s new generation of aspiring golfing stars will find the leading Lisbon course in its best ever condition when it hosts European Tour qualifying for the sixth year running later this year.
Situated just 40 minutes from the Portuguese capital, the stunning venue’s Ribagolfe I course has hosted the first stage of the European Tour Qualifying School since 2009 and players are guaranteed another superb test of golf in September under the leadership of new management group ORIZONTE – Lisbon Golf.
ORIZONTE took over control of the 36-hole complex last summer and has been instrumental in putting in place a maintenance programme designed to maintain and enhance the first-class experience on offer to golfers.
European Tour Qualifying School director Mike Stewart made a recent site inspection of the Ribagolfe I course, where he also issued instructions on how the Tour would like the 7,370-yard layout set-up, and was delighted with its condition ahead of qualifying this autumn.
Jose Maria Cazal Ribeiro, director of golf at Ribagolfe, said: “Ribagolfe is very proud of its association with the European Tour and we’re delighted with how everything is taking shape ahead of this year’s event.
“The site inspection visit went very well and the European Tour was very happy with the course. This was the first time we have met with them this year and we might have another one before the tournament.”
Among the European Tour recommendations, Stewart instructed Ribagolfe head greenkeeper Martijn Huinink and his team to cut the fairways, tees and rough to specific lengths, while competitors will encounter greens running as fast as 10.5 on the stimpmeter for the 72-hole event.
Set in a unique and natural setting and created out of a cork oak forest, Ribagolfe I was designed by Peter Townsend and European Golf Design and features superb, oversized greens and narrow landing areas for long and straight hitters.
A shorter test than its sibling but still measuring more than 6,800 yards and featuring the same indigenous cork oak canvas, Ribagolfe II was designed by former Ryder Cup player Michael King in conjunction with European Tour Design – and both courses at the impressive venue are available to play from €48 through the ORIZONTE Lisbon Golf Passport.
Launched this spring, ORIZONTE – Lisbon Golf offers the chance to play some of the leading courses in close proximity to Portugal’s capital together with exceptional value for money on a wide range of accommodation options across the region.
In addition to Ribagolfe’s two courses, Quinta do Peru Golf & Country Club has hosted several European Challenge Tour events while Aroeira features two championship layouts including Aroeira I, venue for the Portuguese Open in 1996 and 1997.
Golfers can also enjoy the 7,000-plus yards challenge at Santo Estevão and the 9-hole course in Oeiras, which is located just 15 minutes from Lisbon’s centre, while the extensive practice facilities available across the venues help make ORIZONTE the ideal option for individuals and groups looking to book a stay, play and learn package.