Well where to start?
Well, two things really. Firstly, this is the first group of the mighty Swashbucklers hitting Portugal, the second team are limbering up as I type, ready to hit the gorgeous fairways in about 3 weeks time. I hope to task Mr Adams to be chief reporter of scores, tales and photos… the website awaits.
Secondly, for our trip, a massive thanks to Phil who took the huge burden of organiser of most things. Great job sorting flights, courses and the shirts. Thanks from all to Phil. Also to Sean who ably supported with a number of things, notably scoring and the much discussed daily slope index. (! Cough unfair cough *wink* etc.). Jim did a great job on the main whip money (with Mr Strong helping manage at the end) sorting all the taxi monies, meal and drinks rounds. Great job all.
Below are photos to accompany notes from each day.
(Image galleries are at the bottom of this post!)
Getting out there on Day1
Early start from Gatwick. Made all the more amusing after giving a lift to Matt S, who found my old Swashbucklers red beret in the back of my car and decided to wear it to the plane.
Looking to catch up with the others in the departures lounge, we needed to ask where Jamie’s cafe was. The infomation lady behind the desk knew it was upstairs, took one look at Matt decked out in the beret and looked me straight in the eye and asked if ‘he’ could go up stairs by himself. Not very pc, but very, very amusing. We were unofficially named Little Britain that week. Flight went out on time and on landing we sorted rooms and headed back out to our first course for the afternoon.
A lovely track unfortunately spoilt somewhat by having disease on the greens causing two holes to have two temporary greens.
Annoying as it was the favourite of a couple amongst us, but that aisde, Chris Grubby Grubbster came in with 39 points.
Despite the greens, and it being a very long (and hot/humid) day, it remains a great course that defintely needs to be played again in better condition. The chicken-gate saga happened before the round after our resident veggies got stuck into the wrongly ordered sandwiches.
After a very long day, we then took a very long walk around the marina to an awesome fish restaurant to enjoy an awesome meal despite Sean doing his best not to seriously injure himself falling out of the restaurant. Very close Mr Savedra.
Big, tournament layout for day2 – Victoria – where the Portugese Masters is being played in a few weeks.
A well organised, welcoming, American-style layout, it was quite long but even then we only played off the yellows. The black tees for the Masters would be a real test for the pros.
So a big step up in course quality and Sean and Matt halved overall on 36 points. Jaggsy hit the headlines losing 6 balls jaggs on an even hotter day than before. We then saw England win 2nil during the evening and were then entertained by Winkle in the evening outside the karoke bar.
We played the South course on day 3 – the North is being finished in next couple of months and looks to be very special.
The South course was a great course – oozing quality, fairly long with doglegs, water and lots of trees. Jaggsy absolutely smashed it with 44 points. Best round of the tour by far. In the pairs, myself and Mattie Strong extended our lead after a 3rd win.
On one memorable hole, the par3 over water, Mark needed to take a provisional drop back on the ladies tee (nearest place for the drop). The rest of us in the group awaited the shot, choosing to hide behind the flag as the safest place. He then proceeded to hit his reload barely half a metre from the pin, scattering us funny b8ggers across the green. Most amusing. Evening saw us head out to the very popular Chicken Shack on the outskirts of town for some piri piri chicken.
On a hot, overcast day, we had yet another top quality course to enjoy. Even more expensive going by it’s pro shop, it did have a great clubhouse complete with memorabilia and photos of celebs and past pro events. Sir Henry Cotton designed the course I believe. It came complete with a steel statue of Al Gollop in the middle of the putting green.
Jim stormed to a 39 win on this day and shared joint overall lead with me. Matt and I extended our pairs lead to 10pts into the last day. Up and down day for Mr Strongbow who did “enjoy” a near whiff off the day, only to see it trickle off the tee and bounce … bounce… bounce slowly down the concrete path accompanied by his playing partners cheering every time it bounced off a corner or turn, to continue on its way to the fairway.
A very good, twisty course but fine off our yellow tees. 16th has to be highlighted as a truely fantastic hole over the cliffs. Yet another decent Standard Scratch for the team. We enjoyed the beach later on, especially BackDoor getting tumble-dried by the ‘mighty’ 3foot waves. All we saw were two little legs being taken down by wave after wave whilst we all laughed.
Evening was enjoyed at lovely Italian restaurant in Albeferia about 15mins by cab, followed by the crooning of Jim and BackDoor on the karaoke till late.
Final day for pairs comp and the penultimate day for singles scores. It so happened that the top two pairs headed out in the final round… Little britain vs. BackDoor and Jim.
Very, very hot day and we turned up to no buggies. Ouch. San Lorenzo is a very well known course – with several holes running alongside the sea. Our 4ball walked and Phil was saved just prior to tee’ing off with a buggie. It so happened that those managing to get a buggie after 9holes scored much better… the rest of us just suffered!
Chris took a 2nd day win with a very, very impressive 38 points to simons 37. Jaggsy scooped hole of the tour but pitching in for a 6 on a mad par 5 along the end of the lake/inlet thing – 70 yards over water to win hole. This, after being in water twice on the same hole.
Matt S and I secured the overall pairs title despite having our ar3ses being handed to us by Johnny and Jim.
Final day after a long, hard fought week. We arrived all decked out in our tour whites for the awesome Faldo course about 30mins from the hotel. Not massively long off the yellows but very tough and despite every hole being a photo opportunity, it was very demanding needing precision off the tee and some big kahoonies to hit into thin tight greens. Cheers Mr Faldo (I think).
Chris went into the day with a lead, Jim second and myself and Phil following. Unfortunately it didn’t work out for Chris who had a long day, and I wasn’t any support with some uninspired golf myself.
A seriously fantastic course, easily my favourite and probably the best I’ve played on despite how I played. As the day wore on, Jim’s consistent play won out and he took the last few holes in his stride to deservedly take the tour title.
Mark Crossfiield has a popular golf channel on YouTube and with YourGolfTravel, visited most of our courses recently – links to these vids will bring back some memories I’m sure.
- Course log on Oceanico Victoria
- Course log on Quinta Del Lago South
- Course log on Val de Lobo Royal Course
- Course log on San Lorenzo
- Course log on Faldo course
- My own short panorama of the Faldo course (from 14th tee I think)