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Portugal - One of the most popular destinations for holiday golf in Europe, the country also boasts a long and colourful history. Golf has formed part of that history, expatriate wine shippers in Oporto formed a links layout over 9 holes in 1890 and their later compatriots have had a major hand in the development, design and management of what has followed. The country can now claim to be one the world's favourate golf locations, offering attractive sunshine conditions during the popular winter season and nearly sixty golf courses, many of true international calibre.
Many of the greatest names in golf course design have left their mark, including Robert Trent Jones. The Algarve boasts 18 golf courses includung The Old Course, Pine Cliffs, San Lorrenzo, Penina ( Designed by Henry Cotton ), Villa Sol, and many more.
You can play on seaside links with verdant dunes or tackle elegant parkland layouts lined with majestic trees. There is mountain golf, offering spectacular views, and island courses carved from volcanic slopes. You can choose the golf that suits you best or try them all. Portugal with its excellent weather and variety of golf courses makes it a must for the avid golfer or the visitor staying over for a few days.
A number of good golf courses lie close to the capital, Lisbon, at the heart of the nation. To the west, around the quaint seaside spa town of Estoril, are also some good courses. Just south of Lisbon, over the Tagus river, lies the Costa Azul and some genuinely excellent golf in more rural surroundings, whether through pine forest, cork oak or on sandy seaside. Another cluster of courses, incuding the country's oldest, are found in the far north near Oporto. Here the mountainous terrain contrasts with seaside links to provide a challenging variety. Golf is also available on the island of Madeira and in the Azores. Portugal has many delights. One is that the majority of the courses have been developed with the golf player in mind. Despite more than a hundred years of golfing history, there are still only about 12,000 registered domestic players in the country.