Quinta North Opening Day
Tuesday, 7th October 2014
On October 7th I opened the newly renovated North Course at the Quinta do Lago resort in the Algarve, Portugal. I have been a frequent visitor to Quinta do Lago for more than 20 years and the opportunity to redesign the North Course as part of Europe’s leading family destination complements my Golf Academy opened in 2011 and the launching of the new state-of-the-art TaylorMade® Fitting Centre last year.
I redesigned the course in collaboration with American architect Beau Welling who was introduced to me for the Project. Beau and I quickly realised we were very much aligned in terms of what we wanted to see happen with the improvements to the North Course, so our collaboration was easy. We both put a big premium on playability, but also in asking golfers to use their creativity when approaching a shot. The North Course requires strategic thinking and has a lot of shot values reminicent of my own golf game. Each golf hole has four sets of tees on each hole to accomodate golfers of all levels.
The €9.6m North course redevelopment is part of an overall €29m investment programme that has been undertaken by Quinta do Lago since 2009, with a further €21m planned to be spent on improving its facilities in the next three years.
Among the changes Beau and I introduced on the par-72, 6,776-yard course included all new USGA greens, sand based tees, sand-capped fairways, bunkers, state of the art irrigation and drainage systems and a new cart path system. The existing turf on all tees, fairways and greens was stripped back, the final figures for completing such an ambitious project make impressive reading. A staggering total of 379,800 tonnes of earth has been moved on site, and an additional 93.5km of new piping being fitted on the new layout.
A low-cut Bermuda grass approach has been introduced around greens to create a myriad of recovery shot options for increased satisfaction on all levels of play. The aesthetics of the golf course have also significantly improved through the introduction of a cool season rough grass and the select planting of native grasses and specimen trees to help the environment.