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Central Park, New York
The Rocky Mountaineer
Johanna Beach, Australia
Hluhluwe Reserve, KwaZulu Natal
Tecina GC, on La Gomera island
Portuguese cakes, bought by weight
Kingsbarns’ entrance and clubhouse
Killeen Castle, just outside Dublin
Slieve Donard hotel, N Ireland
Nefyn GC, North Wales
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PORTUGAL'S Algarve region has offered a warm welcome to millions of players since establishing itself as a golfing Mecca back in the Seventies.
This month it will widen its embrace to encompass the game's elite exponents, headed by Sergio Garcia of Spain, when the Arnold Palmer-
Somehow my anticipated invitation to represent England was diverted to the homes of Ryder Cup players Luke Donald and David Howell. No matter. An invitation to represent the Yorkshire Post and play a couple of the area's top courses while staying at the five-
Four Seasons contains more than 100 studio, one-
The spa bath might have had an instant allure but for the need to take a cool beer on one of the sun loungers beside the resort's three large outdoor swimming pools, set amid relaxing landscaped gardens.
This is a welcoming sight to any golfer whose partner worships not the little white orb which we pursue around the course, but the golden one burning bright in the sky. For here I was able to leave Shirley content in the knowledge that if burning to a crisp or sipping cool beers at the poolside bar lost its appeal at any stage, the nearby spa and Jacuzzi offered the potential for an equally soothing afternoon.
Now the lady I was leaving behind shows no indication of being in need of a facelift, but the one to which I hurried, the Old Course -
From the moment you reach the first tee and look down a tree-
Rather than intimidate, these facets inspire, as do so many of the holes on this course.
After playing back towards the new cubhouse, holes both out towards and then through the turn weave their way among land surrounded by impressive, white-
At 286 yards, it offers an opportunity to drive on or close to the green as the fairway dips first downhill and then climbs up, effectively reducing its length but, as on so many holes, encroaching trees and bunkers are strategically placed to catch the slightly wayward shot. Many of the holes are dog-
The cerebral processes needed to negotiate each shot are a sign this is a truly superb course which rewards the well-
The Old Course is some 10 minutes' drive from Four Seasons, but Pinhal borders the resort, affording a few more minutes in bed for those with early tee-
The front nine meanders through an exclusive residential complex and the back nine offers the occasional glimpse of the Atlantic. Umbrella pines are again omni-
These are trees not to be messed with as the branches are so tightly woven -
But they are aesthetically pleasing and are used both here and on the Old Course in much the same way as might a lake or pond – as a potential hazard.
After a tiring day's work at the 'office’ -
Four Seasons caters for other sports besides golf -
To appease any competitive instincts, two weekly golf competitions are available to residents, one a Stableford, the other a Texas Scramble.
Flights are available direct to Faro from Leeds Bradford and Manchester, but you could fly to the Algarve via Lisbon -
This detour gave me a chance to achieve a boyhood ambition and see the Stadium of Light, Benfica's home ground and the arena where,in 1966, George Best became known overnight as El Beatle after Manchester United blitzed the legendary Eusebio's side 5-
Of course, had I headed directly to Vilamoura instead I would have had more time to look for that lost ball in the umbrella pine.
Published: November 12, 2005
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For Vilamoura picture gallery click here