After being closed for six weeks, Algarve golf courses are now reopening, albeit with various restrictions in place.
Nau has opened two of its courses, Alamos and Morgado, with Pestana following suit as has Quinta do Lago, Amendoeira’s two courses, Faldo and O’Connor and also Boa Vista in Lagos. For information on other courses, please visit their websites.
Golf has played a big part in the Algarve sporting scene since 1966 when Henry Cotton’s Championship course started Algarve’s rise in, what has become, an award-winning golfing destination. Over the years the region has won many awards including one just this year from the International Association of Golf Tour Operators, Golf Destination of the Year for 2020.
After Covid-19 had forced the closure of all golf courses in Portugal, May 4 saw many reopening. The Portuguese Golf Federation (FPG) has made information available, on its site, concerning rules that should be implemented where the courses have opened. These rules follow guidelines provided by the Portuguese government and also the World Health Organisation (WHO) with much of the information on the Federation’s website available in both Portuguese and English.
Currently, it is understood that official competitions will commence in July however, this may of course be altered. Keep up to date via the FPG website.
Four balls can be played now, but only if the golf club where you are playing allows this. Again, all rules must be adhered to including only sharing a buggy with those in the same household and keeping a distance of no less than two metres.
Pre-booking of tee times is mandatory and only one game of golf can be played in any 24-hour period.
Players are asked to arrive at the golf course a maximum of 30 minutes before their tee time and must use masks or visors when paying, electronically, and also whilst having lessons. They must provide a telephone number in case contact is required at a later date.
All changing rooms remain closed, as do bars and restaurants, and players are asked to change their shoes in the car park.
The practice and warming-up areas also follow social distancing and other rules such as not sharing equipment.
Arrival at the first tee is a maximum of five minutes prior to start time and players must avoid accumulating on the first tee.
Rules for using the golf course
The following rules have been introduced by the FPG and in addition to these each golf course will also have their own protocol.
- Do not touch flag poles on the greens should they still be in place.
- Remove the ball from the hole carefully trying to avoid touching the sides
- Smooth bunkers with feet or golf club
- Do not clean any equipment on the premises, this must be done at home
- Do not share any equipment such as tees, pitch repairers etc
- Do not share or swop score cards
- Should you wish to hand in your score card, you can do so by photographing it and sending it electronically.
Image: Espiche Golf, Lagos