New national golf centre opens in Portugal

PortugalA new golf centre has opened in Portugal with the aim of making it easier and more affordable for people to take up the game.

The R&A has supported the National Golf Centre in Lisbon which was developed by the Portuguese Golf Federation and officially opened earlier this week.

Ronnie Hanna, Chairman of The R&A’s Golf Development Committee, and Duncan Weir, Executive Director – Working for Golf, attended the inauguration of the centre along with leading Portuguese European Tour player Ricardo Santos, amateur Pedro Figueiredo and the national men’s squad.

A number of senior politicians, including the Portuguese Secretary of State for Youths and Sports, Alexandre Mestre, and local dignitaries were present at the official opening of what is sure to be a significant step forward for the country which has 14,500 golfers and 86 golf courses.

The facility at Jamor, in the centre of Lisbon, offers inexpensive public golf, a newly constructed nine hole course and a driving range facility equipped with state of the art teaching equipment.

Portuguese golfers are already making their mark with Santos becoming the first native born player to win on the European Tour earlier this year in Madeira, while in the amateur game, Figueiredo, now entering his senior year at UCLA, won the Boys’ Amateur Championship at Little Aston in 2008. He became the first, and so far only, Portuguese player to win an R&A championship.

PortugalManuel Agrellos, President of the PGF, said, “This is a hugely significant day for golf in Portugal and the culmination of more than ten years of hard work. The end result is a unique public golf course, Portugal’s first, which will offer our now Olympic sport to a whole new audience at affordable prices.

“We are hugely indebted to The R&A which supplied the project with a grant of £50,000 and whose ongoing contributions fund our national junior programme (currently £25,000 pa). This is already bearing fruit.”

Ronnie Hanna added, “Golf is already very popular in Portugal but The R&A’s support is based on the very realistic belief that this facility, and hopefully more like it in the future, will lead to more Portuguese people taking up golf, a sport which can be played by people of any age or ability level. We now look forward to watching the progress of both Jamor and Portuguese golf.”

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