A True Champion |
The responsibility for turning the Algarve into a world-renowned golfing destination lies on the shoulders of one man: Sir Henry Cotton. Without exaggeration, Sir Henry put the Algarve on the golfing map. His vision was clear: to give golfers the chance to play all year round, unconstrained by the tumultuous weather conditions so familiar to golfing Brits. His response: to plan, design and deliver the first 18-hole course in the Algarve. Golf holidays, whatever the weather, became a reality at last.
As many seasoned golfers are keenly aware, the Sir Henry Cotton Championship Course remains a flagship for what one golfing legend can achieve. Since its creation in 1966, it has transformed the profile of golf in the area, making Algarve golf holidays synonymous with quality and class. As such, we thought it only fitting to give a brief profile of the man and his green, in homage to his great achievement.
Who was Sir Henry Cotton?
Born in 1907, Sir Henry was widely regarded as the best British golfer of his era, winning the British Open a total of three times. Dunlop’s iconic ‘65’ ball is named in tribute to Sir Henry’s glorious second round 65 in the 1934 championship. Tellingly, he’s the first golfer to be honoured by one of English Heritage’s revered blue plaques, now adorning his childhood home in London.
The Greenness of the Green
Vital to Sir Henry’s vision was the planting of shrubs and trees in great abundance. Like the famed landscape gardeners of the eighteenth century, Sir Henry revolutionized his landscape through a kind of green alchemy, creating a luscious world of pine trees and eucalyptus. As a result, during an Algarve golf holiday the living environment of the course is so much more than a backdrop to the game. The tranquil, beautiful and historic landscape is an integral part of the experience of the course.
A Course to Remember
Perhaps the most iconic hole of the course is the 13th (Par 3). Challenging in its standard, and wily in its hidden surprises, it has been declared one of the top 500 holes internationally. Watch out for the twin bunkers to the front-left of the green and the treacherous – if picturesque – lake to the right. For the non-golfer, the best place to watch the game is at the 18th and final hole (Par 5), set against a spectacular swathe of Sir Henry’s attractive, mature trees. (And if you are playing, take care to hit a good drive, clearing the bunker on the right-hand side!)
Sir Henry’s Legacy
There are now over 30 courses in the Algarve, visited by scores of golfers every year. Major competitions are held at the Sir Henry Cotton Championship Course itself, including the Portuguese Open, the Audi Corp National Finals and the Daily Telegraph Seniors’ Match Play Championship. It is testament to Sir Henry’s vision that golfers still regard the Algarve as one of the finest golfing destinations in the world. Thanks in large part to Sir Henry, an Algarve golf holiday promises a truly special experience.
Steve Frewin is the Managing Director of A Golfing Experience, a company with more than 25 years experience organising bespoke golf holidays and escapes throughout Europe for individuals, societies and groups. If you're looking to explore the possibilities in the Algarve, golf holidays to this beautiful region are just one of our specialties. We also operate in all the other major European golf destinations and, if you'd like to consider options further afield, we can arrange holidays to the world's greatest golf courses in The Caribbean, Mauritius, Bermuda and USA.
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