Several readers have contacted us to enquire about the exact location of the new eastern Algarve golf courses referred to by José Lisboa in the article entitled Golf is for everyone (August 20 edition). The two new courses in question are at Monte Rei, a development north of Vila Nova de Cacela. The Resident would also like to clarify that Sr. Lisboa does not have any connection with Monte Rei or its developer, Aliber.
It is a fact that not too many people know about Monte Rei Golf & Country Club in the Eastern Algarve – yet. Work is now under way on the first of the two golf courses, which is being designed by Jack Nicklaus, known worldwide as the ‘Golden Bear’. Nicklaus himself flew into the Algarve recently to check on progress of this, the only course in Portugal to carry his name. He is very involved in the design and construction process, and even delayed his scheduled departure to allow for a full inspection of all 18 holes. The course covers some 70 hectares of undulating hills and valleys, which prompted Nicklaus to comment: “It’s a great setting with awesome views.”
Jack Nicklaus’ philosophy on any course that he agrees to design is to enhance the natural surroundings and topography and to place considerable emphasis on the environment. At Monte Rei, indigenous shrubs and flowers are being replanted along the sides of the fairways and around the course, complementing the thousands of trees that have already been planted throughout the site.
A Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course has to be built to the highest specifications. One of Nicklaus’ senior design associates, Dirk Bouts, visits Monte Rei every few weeks to monitor progress and talk with the local team, including Head Greenkeeper Paulo Viegas, Construction Manager Ludo Geuens, and Shaper Randy Brown.
The Jack Nicklaus course will be complete in the spring of 2006, at which time work will start on the second course. The Clubhouse will cover more than 3,000sqm and will offer first-class facilities for visitors and members. Its elevated position gives mountain and ocean views.
Monte Rei Golf & Country Club will cover a total of more than 400 hectares in the countryside between Tavira and Monte Gordo in the Eastern Algarve. It is the most important development in the region for many years and will bring a new dynamism to this area. With a construction density of just eight per cent and with over 50 per cent of the whole site designated as green zone, environmental considerations are paramount. Around the golf courses will be individual villas set in plots of around 2,800sqm, and various village complexes.
Councillor António José Rodrigues Fernandes, representing the Câmara Municipal of Vila Real de St António, joined the visitors on site at Monte Rei and met Jack Nicklaus. The Councillor congratulated the developers, Aliber SGPS Lda, on the project, which will create around 2,000 new jobs when it is complete, and promised the Câmara’s full support.