With international travel fully back on the menu for 2022, Irish golfers have their sights set on fairways further afield as we look to make up for lost time and tick new places off our wish lists.
The pandemic put a hold on travel plans for the best part of two years but as we chase sunnier climates with our golf clubs in tow, Madeira might be the ideal destination to explore in the months ahead.
Boasting excellent weather year-round, two islands are home to three top golf courses, and they’ve never been more accessible to the Irish market. With direct flights from Dublin to Funchal between March and October with Ryanair, Irish golfers have the chance to experience guaranteed sun on their backs, with Madeira promising you plenty should you make the trip, both on and off the golf course.
Santo da Serra Golf Club is perhaps the most famous of all three courses on the islands, a 27-hole test and former home of the European Tour’s Madeira Open. This is proper championship golf, a stern layout that will cater for, and challenge all abilities.
The club was first opened as a nine-hole venue in 1937 before renowned architect Robert Trent Jones constructed an 18-hole design in 1991. This course was added to with a further 9 holes in 1998 known as the Serra Course and it’s here that the European Tour recognised a site of pure quality, worthy enough to stand up against the best players on the Continent.
Santo da Serra has ranked within the top-1000 best golf courses on the planet, and it’s easy to see why, given its perch above Machico Bay, with remarkable views of the rugged Atlantic coastline and a breeze negating the heat while keeping players honest.
Porto Santo Golfe, located on the holiday island Porto Santo, was designed by one of the game’s all-time greats, Seve Ballesteros and offers another stellar option for golfers of all abilities.
This par-72 is set dramatically on the cliff edge but rests within the natural landscape as if God made it so, and depending on the wind, it can be a tough place to score. The venue is also home to a 9-hole that’s ideal for beginners to play or if you’re looking to practice your irons and short game.
Palheiro Golf completes te trio of courses. An 18-hole championship course that flows through spectacular scenery, from mountains, to woodlands to sea. The course sits just 10 minutes away from the island’s capital, Funchal, with the five-star Madeira Island Hotel Casa Velha do Palheiro on its doorstep.
The clubhouse restaurant provides pristine ocean views and a menu to match, with the best of local cuisine promising a taste of the Mediterranean that’s sure to please.
If you’re thinking of going then the Madeira Golf Passport is just what you need as it features the three golf courses – Clube de Golf Santo da Serra, Palheiro Golf and Porto Santo Golf – is available to both individuals and groups and can be booked on a three or five-round basis.
Costing €225 per person for three rounds and €360 for a five-round package, the standard passport – which is valid for a two-week period – includes golf at Clube de Golf Santo da Serra and Palheiro Golf and free golf course transfers to and from your hotel.
Away from the course, there are activities for the whole family, from hiking and biking, to water-sports, tennis, horse-riding, to history, art, museums and a multitude of bars and restaurants, with beach walks aplenty to work off the local wine!
Accommodation options abound, so for a great golf experience, and so much more, visit Madeira HERE