Alto Golf

news: Alto Golf

COLIN SNAPE, the mastermind behind using The Belfry as the venue for Ryder Cup matches, is now at the head of Alto Golf. Drawing on his 40 years experience within golf administration, he has revitalised the course and brought it to Portugal’s golfing forefront. Since taking over in September 2004, Colin has worked wonders for the course, improving the green, updating the clubhouse, establishing an excellent teaching academy and huge driving range.

Colin has always had a ‘soft spot’ for Alvor, returning time and time again on previous visits to Portugal. “It’s one of those places that has managed to retain its overall charm,” he says with a smile. This affection for the area and love of golf was certainly needed when he took over. The golf course was in a bad state, but, through hard work and dedication, he and his team addressed the problems and, as you walk through the doors, the change is there for all to see.

The 18-hole Par 72 course extends across two valleys, running 6,125 metres from the back trees. Designed by Henry Cotton, the fairways and greens provide beginners with a testing game as well as a challenging and enjoyable round for club level players who pit their wits against the longest Par 5 in Europe. At 604 metres, the Henry Cotton Challenge requires a lot of skill with a pretty hefty slice of luck to complete!

As the only course in Alvor, Colin is eager to make it a place people want to come and visit again and again. After running a successful membership campaign, 30 new members were recruited and Colin is now starting on his next challenge of encouraging the Portuguese through the doors.

With green fees at just 50 euros a round in October, November, February and March, and 40 euros for the other eight months of the year, Alto really offers value for money. At present, over 200 rounds a day are played on the course and everyone can be challenged, entertained and rewarded on the course. Colin would like the club to be a place where golfers and non-golfers feel comfortable and relaxed. He is trying to break down the associated stigma of exclusivity attached to golf clubs.

He would also love to see the locals of Alvor come and use the facilities, whether for a round of golf or just a bite to eat and some drinks. With a restaurant, clubhouse and bar, they would certainly not be disappointed. Alto is already a venue used for business conferences and wedding receptions, and Colin hopes to be able to expand on this area in the future. He also feels it is important to encourage juniors into the sport so Alto runs a Saturday clinic for children exactly for that purpose. They can learn the skills of the game, in the hope that they will carry on to enjoy golf in the future. With plans to build a hotel over the road from the course, the future of Alto looks bright. In the not too distant future, golfers will be able to stay in five-star accommodation and enjoy a truly five-star golfing experience. For information contact 282 410 830