Stewart gives Ribagolfe the thumbs-up in advance of Q-School

Ribagolfe, one of Portugal’s most prestigious golf venues, has been singled out for fresh praise as it prepares to host the first stage of the European Tour Qualifying School for a staggering ninth successive year.

Regarded as the ‘Valderrama of Portugal’ by many, Ribagolfe 1  – which is managed by ORIZONTE – Lisbon Golf – has built a reputation as one of the country’s leading venues, and will attract a top-class  international field from September 26-29, with the top 25 players taking a step closer to earning their European Tour card.

Situated among a native cork oak forest, Ribagolfe 1 is just a 40-minute journey from the capital Lisbon and European Tour Qualifying School director Mike Stewart was delighted with the condition of the 7,370-yard layout when he flew in last month.

The players will find the course in the best possible shape, with Stewart having instructed Ribagolfe head greenkeeper Suzete Mestre and his team to cut the fairways, tees and rough to specific lengths, and the greens set to run as fast as 10.5 on the stimpmeter.

Stewart said: “I have been going to Ribagolfe 1 for quite a few years now – ever since the course was first recommended to us by the Golf Federation in Portugal. From our point of view, it is a great course to have on the Tour. We signed up immediately and have gone back every year since 2009.

“Ribagolfe 1 is a great layout in a beautiful area. It is a very good design and offers a real test of golf for the Qualifying School. The greens will be cut a few days earlier ahead of the tournament and Ribagolfe is looking superb.

“A huge plus point for ORIZONTE is Ribagolfe 1 has a sister course – Ribagolfe 2, so that means it doesn’t have to close its operation down completely allowing them to keep the second course open for visitors and guests.”

And Jose%u0301 Maria Cazal Ribeiro, director of golf at ORIZONTE – Lisbon Golf, said: “Everyone at the club is very excited and proud to be hosting European Tour qualifying yet again.

“The course is already in fantastic condition and that will certainly be the case when the autumn comes.  It is always a great honour hosting the Qualifying School with such a great field of players from across the world.”

As well as the two Ribagolfe courses, ORIZONTE also manages Quinta do Peru Golf & Country Club, which has hosted several European Challenge Tour events, while Aroeira features two championship layouts including Aroeira I, the venue for the 1996 and 1997 Portuguese Open.

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.