FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

Algarve, Portugal, Le Méridien Penina Golf & Resort, Sir Henry Cotton Championship Course

Aug 1, 2010
2010 / August 2010

The Sir Henry Cotton Championship Course was the first course built in the Algarve and therefore is steeped in history. The course has hosted the Daily Telegraph Senior Match Play (2000, 2001) and the Portuguese Open for 10 years. Nearly every golfer visiting the region knows of the course, which opened in 1966 and was totally renovated in 1995. The renovation remained true to the Cotton design.

The course groups par 5s together, making par for the back nine total 38 rather than 36 or 35. Grasses incorporated in the design include Lolium perene (perennial ryegrass), Poa pratensis (smooth meadowgrass) with creeping bentgrass for the fairways and creeping bent cobra for the greens.

Cotton, knighted in 1988 (after his death in 1987), won the British Open in 1934, 1937 and 1948. He also won many events on the European circuit during the 1930s. He moved to the Algarve, giving up his comfortable position as head pro at Temple Golf Club in the United Kingdom.

Golfers can enjoy the Le Méridien Resort connected to the course, which offers full-service amenities from a wellness center and beach club to many fine restaurants.

I was fortunate to play the Cotton Course with a knowledgeable and select group, including Matthieu de Tonnac, hotel manager of Le Méridien Penina; Leonel Rio, director of golf at the Penina Golf Course; and Monia Bernardo, Portugal’s highest-ranked PGA golf professional and resident pro at Pine Cliffs. Monia was kind enough to offer a lesson the following day for my daughter, as well as giving me a little grip advice!


Hole 2

(424 yards, par 4)

Hole 2 happens to be the course’s No. 2-ranked handicapped hole. It is a tricky par 4, as you need to drive your ball right center of the fairway in order to have a clear shot to the green. Too far left and you will either land in the two fairway traps or be blocked from making your approach. My drive landed left center but far enough that I was able to take a high iron to the green and clear the small creek running in front. A simple 2-putt let me card par and take this hole over the competition.

Hole 5

(493 yards, par 5)

This was not one of my more stellar performances at the Cotton Course. You must drive your ball right center of the fairway or nail a drive through the turn of this dogleg left. My drive hooked into the trees, so I had to punch out to the forward on the right. At this point, I was only about 100 yards from the green. Laying two, I made an excellent recovery. However, my approach came up short and fell into a large pond that guards the green. It’s a beautiful hole that is very playable — if you can keep your game in line.

Hole 6

(192 yards, par 3)

This is a straightforward par 3, slightly longer than the others on the front nine. Try to avoid the large trap that sits to the right and forward of the green; it catches a lot of shots. If the pin placement is to the left of the green, as it was the day we played, the second trap (along the left side) can snag overzealous golfers.

Hole 9

(422 yards, par 4)

This dogleg left brings you back to the clubhouse. Your drive needs to land right center but away from the many traps that dart the right side of the fairway. From here, you approach the green and turn to the left, following the direction of the dogleg. This shot needs to clear a small creek; at the same time, you will need to choose a sufficient club to reach this elevated green. There are lots of traps around the green with the hotel as a backdrop, a nice finish to the front nine.

Hole 10

(545 yards, par 5)

This is a great introduction to the back nine; the dogleg right includes a water hazard you have to clear on your second shot. Some might want to lay up just before the water, but that would leave a long third shot to the green. Several traps guard the green from your approach and can easily dash your hopes for par.

Hole 12

(421 yards, par 4)

This is the No. 1-ranked handicapped hole — a narrow hole lined with trees. A pond just before the green adds to the length, making this a difficult hole. It became my nemesis as I drove my ball too far right and ended up in the trees. My partner, Leonel Rio, made up for my error with a perfect drive to the center of the fairway. From here, you must clear the pond and land on the green, which is guarded by two traps at the front, right and left.

Hole 13

(202 yards, par 3)

This hole brought out a shot seldom seen in Portugal: the low screamer. My shot from the tee box was a missed hit. It bladed thinly, making it fly low left, away from the pond in front of the green before bouncing on the right side. Proper play is a clean high shot to the green, perhaps with a fairway wood. But golf is often full of surprises — I putted for birdie and took the hole, which is voted one of the best 500 holes in the world.

Hole 1

(475 yards, par 5)

This is a wonderful finishing hole and became my best tee shot of the day. I drove my ball left center of the fairway and Leonel followed very closely, landing right next to my drive. That gave us a clear team advantage for this hole.

Drives right can possibly reach the fairway bunker just before the creek, which can make par difficult. Bring out all you have for your second shot over the water hazard to the fairway. From your second shot, your approach is to an elevated green with five traps surrounding.

Sir Henry Cotton Championship Golf Course
Le Méridien Penina Golf & Resort
P.O. Box 146
Penina, Portimão 8502-952
Algarve, Portugal
tel 351 282 420 2234

Introducing

FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

#globility

Insta Feed
Daily
Jun 22, 2021

6 Reasons to Put Panama City, Panama, on Your Travel List

As the vaccine rolls out and travel begins to pick up, it’s time to start dreaming of your next trip. Here’s some destination inspiration for you. Take a visual journey through Panama City with us.

SPIA 2021 Winners Crowned at Gala Ceremony at W Hotel, Palm Jumeirah

The Sports Industry Awards returned with a bang last night as 200 guests packed the W Hotel Great Ball Room for the gala ceremony.

Daily
Jun 22, 2021

Boca Raton Resort & Club Announces New Partnership

Boca Raton Resort & Club recently announced a new partnership with Major Food Groups, creating one of the best culinary destinations in the United States. Major Food Groups is the company behind some of the hottest restaurants, including Carbone, The Grill and Parm. This partnership will launch multiple dining concepts as part of the resort's $150 million transformation.

Daily
Jun 21, 2021

The Franklin London Launches Afternoon Tea Inspired by Victoria & Albert Museum’s “Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser”

The Franklin London – Starhotels Collezione, located in the heart of Knightsbridge, launched a new afternoon tea inspired by the “Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser” exhibit at the nearby Victoria & Albert Museum. Diners booking the tea also have the option to book an offer including a pre-reserved ticket to the in-demand exhibition.

Sports Industry Awards returns to Dubai’s Palm Jumeirah for 8th Edition

The biggest names in the Middle East sporting community will gather for the Sports Industry Awards as the event returns for its eighth edition. SPIA recognizes the achievements of individuals, organizations, facilities and campaigns that contributed to the development of sport in the region.

LGBTQ+
Jun 18, 2021

Show Your Pride with Essentia Cocktails

Pride Month is in full swing and to celebrate the community, make a colorful cocktail everyone will enjoy. These colorful ingredients will get the party started during Pride or any time of the year. Start this recipe the night before to create the rainbow ice cubes.

eFlyer Deals
Jun 16, 2021

Harmony at Hotel San Luis Obispo

Hotel San Luis Obispo partners with Harmony Cellars for the SLO in Harmony offer. The offer includes 15 percent off a two-night stay Sunday–Thursday, a complimentary wine tasting for two at Harmony Cellars, club member discounts at the winery for the day and the opportunity to explore the town of Harmony, California, population of 18 and located 30 miles from San Luis Obispo. Book online.

eFlyer Deals
Jun 16, 2021

Vitamin Sea, D & Me at Westin Resort & Spa Puerto Vallarta

Enjoy additional perks at Westin Resort & Spa Puerto Vallarta, on Mexico’s Pacific Coast, with the Vitamin Sea, D & Me offer. Rates begin at $130 per night, including complimentary breakfast daily, a healthy starter at Arrecifes Restaurant, one poke bowl and one drink at El Palmar Restaurant. The use of one beachside pergola per stay is also included. The offer is valid on stays through Dec. 21, and use code S5706 to book.