Madeira hailed as Europe’s ‘up and coming’ golf destination

Courses

Madeira has been named Europe’s ‘up and coming’ golf destination by Square Mile, the luxury magazine for those working in the City of London’s financial industry.

The award enhances further the beautiful archipelago’s growing reputation as a golf destination, which sees it offer a trio of excellent courses, created by three of the industry’s biggest names: Seve Ballesteros, Cabell B Robinson and Robert Trent Jones Snr.

In its annual golf awards feature, Square Mile said: “(Madeira) may not be the first destination that springs to mind when thinking of prime golfing real estate, but it is an excellent year-round location to tee it up.

“These volcanic islands, warmed by the Gulf Stream, enjoy blazing summers and mild winters, while quaint picturesque villages, stunning vistas, and natural beaches mean there’s plenty to occupy your time off the fairways, as well as three world-class golf destinations that will command your attention.

“Porto Santo, Santo de Serra and Palheiro all enjoy picture-perfect coastal views but the former, designed by Seve Ballesteros, is a true hidden gem. Weaving past beaches and two extinct volcanoes, it is one of a kind.”

The accolade is not the only one received by Madeira in recent weeks. Earlier this month, it was named the world’s ‘leading island destination’ for the fourth successive year and Europe’s ‘leading island destination’ for a fifth time, at the World Travel Awards.

Located just 500km from the African continent – a flight of less than four hours from most UK airports – Madeira enjoys an amazingly mild climate, ranging from 25°c in the summer to 18°c in the winter, with very mild average temperatures and moderate humidity, making it the perfect place for a golf holiday 12 months of the year.

The par-72, 6,656-yard (6,086m) course at Palheiro Golf – designed by Robinson – is situated within the magnificent Palheiro Estate, which is more than 200 years old. At nearly 1,640ft above sea level, the location enjoys dramatic views of Madeira’s mountainous skyline and the ocean, as well as – nestling below, just 10 minutes away – the island’s capital, Funchal.

The original course at Santo da Serra, dating from 1937, was redesigned in 1991 by Robert Trent Jones Snr, who created a new and spectacular 27-hole complex. The third and fourth holes of the Machico course are regarded as the signature holes, sitting atop cliffs more than 2,200ft above sea level, providing views of the bay of Machico, where Portuguese navigators first landed in 1419.

The 27-hole, Severiano Ballesteros-designed Porto Santo Golf is a short plane hop away. The par-72, 7,036-yard (6,434m) course, which opened in 2004, comprises two distinct nines. The southern route – a US-style layout – is dotted with lakes, requiring a long and precise game; while the northern route is atop fantastic cliffs, near the stunning beach of the same name.

The signature hole is the 200-yard par-three 13th, which requires a shot over a gorge to reach a cliff-top green.

Madeira, also known as ‘the islands of eternal spring’, has a population of only 260,000. On the same latitude as Morocco, the Atlantic archipelago has a sub-tropical climate, a rich volcanic soil and a unique eco-system. It is one of the only places in the planet where banana trees grow next to vineyards.

In 1999 the archipelago was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site and five areas have been declared nature reserves. The Madeira Nature Reserve covers a substantial two-thirds of the main island, where development is prohibited.

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