For some golfers Quinta do Lago’s North course is a hotchpotch. This is a really a disadvantageous perception of a golf course that is situated in such a competitive golf marketplace as Algarve where there are 40+ golf courses and in addition to this it also has to compete with such golf destinations as Turkey.
Quinta do Lago owner Denis O’Brien and the resort’s chief executive John Dwyer recognized this problem in 2009. To be become more copetitive they started in 2009 a major €29m investment programme, with a further €21m is set to be spent on improving its facilities in the 3 three years.
Part of this program was the facelift and modernization of Quinta do Lago's North Course. The value of this project was €9.6m. Paul McGinley with Beau Welling (graduate of the Tom Fazio school of golf architecture) have redeveloped the course with the new venue being completed in the space of just 10 months. The redevelopment is the first golf course design project that Paul McGinley has collaborated on together with Beau Welling.
As part of a commitment to the environment and to a sustainable golf course, Quinta do Lago will plant more than 2,000 trees in the next 5 years.
Here are the changes:
- North Course has been transformed with the focus on precision and strategy. This is a really good solution to tackle with nowadays super forgiving golf clubs and to avoid extending the golf course. This is also in line with what responders said in recent Syngenta's survey ('Growing golf in the UK) said about golf courses. Namely they are looking for challenges. It is also good that the new golf course is playable and fun for golfers of all abilities.
- All greens, tees, bunkers, irrigation, drainage systems and cart paths have been rebuilt using the latest state-of-the-art technology, with multiple sets of tees introduced on each hole to accommodate players of all levels. The biggest difference on the course is around the greens.
- Bunkers have been replaced by humps and hollows and an extensive fringe that can be shaved or left to grow.
- The 18th hole received many complaints so it went through to make it more playable (see picture below)
What I have not heard from Quinta do Lago are:
- how they are going to make for golfers more comfortable with the course and surroundings?
- when will be fast and simple the online booking.
- how they will facilitate such technology solutions as Wi-Fi access (not just in the club house) on the fairways; NFC to improve the pace of play and provide extra information about the golf course to improve golf experience (tap to the tee to show the position of a player); or drones (Golf Channel is already using drones to film golfers.) for security reasons, but also as a service for members and guests.
- when will they come up with mobile application(s) to help: booking tee times, communicate with club house during a game or simply get extra information about the fairway (what to expect) etc. Troon Golf's mobile application solution could be a good example to follow.