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Portugal


MADEIRA


The fourth hole at Santo de Serra Golf Club in Madeira is a kind of paradise. To the left, the hillside drops away sharply towards the valley floor. In front of the tee, a ravine filled with trees, flowers and tropical shrubs carves its way some 200 yards to the front of the green. Behind the green, the sparkling waters of the Atlantic lap across Machico Bay towards the Ponto do Rosto promontory and, far beyond, the coast of Africa. If paradise can be so easily found just over three hours away


from most European capitals, it’s a wonder why golf in Madeira remains such a well-kept secret. Tourists come to hike in the mountains and along the routes of the ancient irrigation channels known as levadas. They come to sup the local vino and eat delicious food in temperatures that rarely exceed 25C or dip below 20C. They don’t (generally) come specifically to play golf. Yet while it only boasts two courses, Santo da Serra and


Palhiero Golf, both of which are easily reachable from the island capital, Funchal, Madeira more than makes up for it with the high standard of golf on offer. Also notable is the Madeiran hospitality scene, which encompasses idyllic hotels, fine wines and local specialties such as espada, a horrifically ugly — but tasty — fish found only in the waters around the island. The fact that you’re guaranteed a flawless climate and Edenic surroundings only adds to the appeal. Course: Santo da Serra. Summary: The course at Santo da Serra was redesigned in the late 1980s by celebrated American course architect Robert Trent Jones Senior, and it’s certainly a test. The standout is the breathtaking 4th hole, but other highlights include the prety short 15th. Green fee: £92. santodoserragolf.com


ESSENTIALS From left: Rabelo boats, Douro River, Porto


WHEN TO GO: Spring and autumn are best for golfers. GREEN FEES: £60-£140. FLIGHT TIME: 2h30m. GETTING AROUND: Most choose to rent a vehicle upon arrival. CONTACT:. visitportugal.com


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