Portugalâ€™s Algarve is becoming increasingly well-known as a great destination for a golf holiday. In addition to a wide range of courses, fine dining and natural beauty, the region also has a strong connection to some of the sportâ€™s legends â€“ and they donâ€™t get much more legendary than Jack Nicklaus! Read on for some of our top tips on planning a Portuguese golfing holiday inspired by the great sportsman.
Though fans of the sport will already be familiar with Jack Nicklaus, itâ€™s worth giving a brief recap of his illustrious career. Born in 1940 in Columbus, Ohio, Nicklaus went on to win 18 major championships, and produce 19 second-place and nine third-place finishes during a career that spanned over 25 years.
He first became popular when he set the amateur scoring record at the 1961 US Open, turning pro that same year. He went on to win the 1962 competition, beating Arnold Palmer by three shots. This began a friendly rivalry between the two golfing giants which would last throughout Nicklausâ€™s career. In 1966 he became the first player to win the Mastersâ€™ Tournament two years in a row. 20 years later, he became the same tournamentâ€™s oldest ever winner, taking home the prize at the age of 46.
Nicklaus enjoyed a celebrated spell on the Senior PGA Tour in the 1990s, before retiring from tournament golf in 2005. He has continued his involvement in the sport, writing books, running tournaments and designing courses.
This brings us to the Algarve and your Portuguese golfing holiday: Nicklaus has a signature course attached to the areaâ€™s luxurious Monte Rei Golf and Country Club.
The Monte Rei
The Monte Rei is just one of the Algarveâ€™s world-class resorts, offering a range of high-end accommodation and many package experiences for guests to indulge in. Particularly notable are the villas, which are billed as â€˜ideal for couples, families and groupsâ€™ and take inspiration from traditional local styles â€“ perfect for those looking for a place to stay with privacy, space and lots of greenery. Semi-detached villas are available, but the detached ones undoubtedly offer the best experience.
The best of the packages is â€˜Jackâ€™s Essentialâ€™, which includes a number of rounds on the signature course, along with a free GPS-enabled buggy and other luxuries. The Monte Rei also offers four restaurants, two bars and a spa â€“ more than enough to make your Portuguese golfing holiday truly special.
The Jack Nicklaus Signature Course
We now turn to the Monte Reiâ€™s star attraction: the Jack Nicklaus Signature Course. Stretching over 6,567m, this 72-par championship course includes eight par fours, five par threes and five par fives. Guests are greeted at reception and given a guided tour of the facilities, during which they can take in the courseâ€™s unique combination of natural beauty and professional, experienced design.
In 2010 Nicklaus commented on the â€˜gorgeousâ€™ site which, he stated, had allowed him and his fellow designers to work with the landscape as opposed to against it. The results speak for themselves, with natural, gentle changes in elevation complementing gorgeous views.
All in all, Nicklaus is not only one of the best golfers to ever play, but an experienced and thoughtful designer whoâ€™s lent his name to a world-class resort and course. If youâ€™re looking to take a Portuguese golfing holiday, why not follow in the footsteps of the best?
cSteve Frewin is the Managing Director of A Golfing Experience, a company with more than 29 years experience organising bespoke golf holidays and escapes throughout Europe for individuals, societies and groups. If you're looking for truly great Portuguese golfing holiday, we can help make it happen. We also operate in all the other major European golf destinations and, if you'd like to explore options further afield, we can arrange holidays to the world's greatest golf courses in The Caribbean, Mauritius, Bermuda and USA.
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