Madeira, Portugal –The Atlantic archipelago of Madeira has been named the ‘World’s Best Emerging Golf Destination 2019’ in the World Golf Awards.
With three courses by designers – Severiano Ballesteros, Cabell B Robinson, and Robert Trent Jones Sr. – Madeira, an autonomous region of Portugal, has seen golf tourism grow in recent years, as it is a year-round golf destination.
Now, besting Paris, Porto, Missouri and Sicily to win the title, Madeira’s mild cli ate and volcanic scenery has made it the world’s best emerging place to play golf.
Marta Henriques said: “We are naturally delighted to win this award, not least because of the standard of the other nominees. We are engaged in a comprehensive marketing campaign to highlight the delights of Madeira golf, which is reaping benefits in terms of increased visitor numbers and growth in interest from the travel industry.
“Many of those industry visitors and travelling golfers will be among the voters in these awards and we thank them for their support, and, crucially their patronage of golf in Madeira, which has been vastly underrated for some time.”
The best way to enjoy the three golf courses is with a Madeira Golf Passport – available at most hotels and the golf clubs – which includes five rounds of golf across the two ‘mainland’ courses.
Trent Jones Sr.’s 1991 redesign of Santo da Serra – which dates from 1937 – created a spectacular 27-hole course set in a natural landscape, with views of Porto Santo Island and the Bay of Machico, where Portuguese ships first landed in 1419.
The Machico and Desertas nines form the 6,825-yard championship course, which hosted the European Tour’s Madeira Islands Open 10 times – and saw Mark James winning the inaugural 1993 tournament. The third and fourth holes on the Machico are regarded as the course signature, sitting atop cliffs more than 2,200 ft. above the Atlantic.
The 3,193-yard Serras course offers a delightful alternative, with lakes and mountain views along with flatter terrain.
The Robinson-designed Palheiro Golf opened in 1993 and sits within the magnificent Palheiro Estate, which is more than 200 years old. The course borders the five-star Hotel Casa Velha do Palheiro and meanders through a rare environment of maritime pine and botanical woodland, garnished with lush, sub-tropical vegetation.
And, at nearly 1,640 ft. above sea level, the location enjoys dramatic views of Madeira’s mountainous skyline and the Atlantic Ocean, as well as –just 10 minutes away – the island’s capital, Funchal.
The par-72, 6,656-yard course takes full advantage of Madeira’s hilly terrain, with abrupt ridges and deep valleys. It is listed in Continental Europe’s top 200 in one benchmark course ranking, and the presence of a hotel, secured a spot for Palheiro in the top 80 in two recent ‘best European golf resort’ lists.
A short, 20-minute flight – or a two-and-a-half hour ferry ride –covers the 27 miles between Madeira and the archipelago’s eastern-most island, Porto Santo, home to Porto Santo Golfe, which hosted the Madeira Islands Open between 2009 and 2011.
Ballesteros’ 7,036-yard course, which opened in 2004 and was built to environmentally conscious standards, comprises two distinct nines, spanning an area from sand dunes to basalt cliffs.
The US-style southern route is dotted with lakes, requiring a long, precise game; while the northern route is atop yet more fantastic cliffs, near a stunning beach, also called Porto Santo. The signature hole is the 200-yard, par-three 13th, which requires a shot over a gorge to reach a cliff-top green.
The World Golf Awards™ – part of World Travel Awards™ – is designed to celebrate and reward excellence in golf tourism through an annual awards program, and was established in 2014.
The formal winners’ announcements and award presentations took place at the St Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, Abu Dhabi, yesterday (October 29, 2019).