in the StormÖ
After the traumas and horror
of the week when terrorists turned the world upside down, flying on the Monday
after the atrocities in the USA didnít seem top of my priorities.
However arriving at Londonís
Heathrow Terminal 2 on Monday morning for the early morning flight with TAP to
Lisbon, everything seemed very calm and re-assuring. Check in took slightly longer
than usual and security was very tight. A body and physical check of hand luggage
at the gate delayed the flight but thatís a small price to pay for safety.
The 10th Hole at Quinta da Marinha
was full but the service excellent and after a good breakfast we landed in sunny
and warm Lisbon some 2 hours after leaving Heathrow.
View from the Quinta
Longshot, with whom our
group of 12 were travelling, had organised people carriers for us, having collected
these from Budget, we headed off down the A5 motorway to Cascais. We were staying
at the 4 star Hotel Quinta da Marinha, opened in 1999, with most rooms overlooking
the pool area and the golf course beyond.
quick change and then it was off to the Quinta da Marinha golf course a 2 minute
drive away. Designed by Robert Trent Jones and built amongst pine trees and surrounded
by beautiful villas, the par 71, 6014 metre course is an excellent layout and
provides a testing challenge. The course has an unusual balance with 5 par 5ís
and 6 par 3ís, but donít let that detract from playing a course with some fine
views of the Atlantic, notably from the 13th, the course signature
hole. Itís certainly not an easy course to play but the hazards, whether water,
sand, or trees are all visible.
|The course will feature
on the European Tour when the Estoril Open is played there from the 11th
to the 14th October 2001. Our party played our own form of the Quinta
Open which involved a player from each group using a yellow ball in rotation.
The team score was the yellow ball score at each hole. If or when you lost the
yellow ball the total team score was the score to that point. By not losing our
yellow ball our group were the undisputed winners!.
We were then entertained
to a wine tasting provided by the Estoril Coast Tourist Office at a lovingly restored
house in the centre of Cascais. This not only went on for a long time but also
didnít require the spitting out of the wine from one vineyard before moving on
to the next! We tasted some excellent white wine and quite outstanding red Ė Quinta
da Cotto 1997 from an estate near Porto- accompanied by local cured ham and Portuguese
cheese - this provided an excellent aperitif to dinner at the nearby Hotel Albatroz.
The meal accompanied by
local music students, who sang excerpts from classic opera to Andrew Lloyd Webber,
made an interesting background to a meal that certainly catered for the fish lover,
local crab, and grouper baked whole. The wine and the port flowed freely and well,
before taxis took us back to our hotel.
Not all of us, perhaps none
of us, thought enough was enough, and it was a quiet group who made their way
the next day to the new course Quinta da Marinha Oitavos Golf some 5 minutes drive
from our hotel.
The Clubhouse at Oitavos
Designed by an American
Arthur Hill, this was his first course in Europe. A truly magnificent layout and
in outstanding condition awaited us and only the extravagance of the previous
evening may have slightly affected our play. Close to the sea and carved from
pine forest the course will undoubtedly rank as one of Europeís finest. This is
a par 71 course measuring 6303 metres from the championship tees, and 5809 metres
from the normal medal tees.
|It was our
privilege to play the course in near perfect conditions and with very few other
players. Although the green fees will not be cheap I would recommend anyone to
play Oitavos - a real golfing experience awaits you. Some of the views of the
Atlantic are outstanding but it is the layout and condition of the course that
command your respect and enjoyment. It is a private club but they will allow green
fees provided you produce a certified club handicap certificate.
A quick lunch and then back
to Lisbon airport and another smooth flight back to Heathrow on TAP under the
expert guidance of their UK manager Jose Moreira. A most enjoyable 2 day trip,
though Iíd suggest a more leisurely stay to enjoy the other excellent golf in
the area and perhaps the night life of Cascais.
Holidays have recently produced their new golf holiday brochure with world wide
destinations and an incentive to book early and save up to £50 per person for
bookings made before October 15th 2001. For Portugal and the courses
I played stay at the Hotel Quinta da Marinha with Longshot and your green fee
on the Quinta da Marinha course is £20 weekday and £24 weekends. Travel with Longshot
and stay elsewhere
The 9th at Oitavos
|and you pay
£37/£47. Normal public green fees are £39/£49. At Oitavos their Director of Golf
quoted a rack green fee of £100 but again travel and stay with Longshot and the
cost is £61.
Stuart Barber travelled
as the guest of Longshot Golf Holidays, TAP airlines and the Hotel Quinta da Marinha.