I have many fond memories of the people at Clube de Golfe Santo da Serra. It was here that I was first visited Madeira and many of the people that I met from that time are still friends today. The course is set high overlooking the Ilhas Desertas, just off the Southern coast of Madeira and the views are simply spectacular.
It was my pleasure to play with two professionals, Joao Pedro Sousa and Joao Gois both of whom were formally national team members and the Director of Golf Ricardo Abreu. Together we played the iconic par three 4th hole, which always features amongst the top holes in Europe. The long iron shot against the wonderful backdrop of the Atlantic to a tiered green is tempting but not simple.
The course has been a regular stop for the European Tour since 1993 and has undergone several transformations since the original 1937 design. The addition of a superb new clubhouse, a third loop of nine holes and the clearing of non indigenous trees / bushes, to be replaced more suitable and commonly found varieties has ensured that the course has remained current and very desirable.
With many freinds on the island of Madeira we have looked forward to this finale right from the very beginning of our challenge. The 25 kilometres route from Clube de Golfe Santo da Serra to the Palheiro Golf Resort, which sits some 100 metres lower in altitude, seemed at first to be a simple enough task, but with a handful of good climbs on route we are sure that the finishing line will not come soon enough.
Clube de Golf Santo da Serra Santo António da Serra 9200-152 Machico Madeira - Portugal
Our route to Palheiro Golf Resort took us up and over the mountain tops before we dropped down to get our first view of the final course of Golf & Ride Portugal 2014. We came into the course from the superb Palheiro Gardens, passing their very own Tea House and the awarding winning Casa Velha hotel, before finally reaching the crest of the hill where we were rewarded with a spectacular view over the course, clubhouse and Funchal Bay.
We were warmly greeted by Managing Director Jonathan Fletcher, who has been at Palheiro from the very beginning of the project, the Club President Duarte Rodrigues and quite a few members. Together we played the 18th hole which sweeps up and to the right for a second shot played towards the green framed by a fantastic backdrop.
Although I did not play the hole quite as I would have liked, catching the trees in the right side, even this could not temper the satisfaction that Sue and I felt on completing the journey which has covered over 1500 kilometres by bicycle and 74 holes throughout the mainland of Portugal and the islands of the Azores, Porto Santo and Madeira.
Palheiro generously offered us the use of one of their superb villas, set in the Palheiro village, which was the perfect place to relax, sitting on the balcony, watching the sun go down and contemplating our next challenge.
Palheiro Golf Rua do Balancal nº 29 9060-414 Funchal Portugal