Almancil, Portugal, January 9, 2022 / TRAVELINDEX / Quinta do Lago has enhanced its reputation as a global leader for golf sustainability after being named as the recipient of the 2021 International Association of Golf Tour Operators (IAGTO) Sustainability Award for Resource Efficiency.
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Europe’s premier golf and lifestyle resort claimed the honour for the first time in its prestigious history for the “significant strides” it has made in resource management across materials, water and energy.
Delivered in partnership with the Golf Environment Organisation (GEO) Foundation for Sustainable Golf, the awards recognise the sustainability work of golf facilities worldwide. Currently in their eighth year, they acknowledge the high performance and commitment across three core areas of sustainability – nature, resources and community.
Announcing this year’s winners, the judging panel singled Quinta do Lago out for special praise for its outstanding work in reducing its areas of maintained turf, investment in an upgraded irrigation system and its use of recycled water combine to maximise efficiency. In addition, the resort was further praised for its investment in a fully electric fleet of golf carts and hybrid golf course maintenance equipment and worked with local government to trial and develop renewable energy solutions.
Sean Moriarty, chief executive of Quinta do Lago, said: “The subject of sustainability in golf has never been more important, and to be recognised for the work that the resort is doing towards this is a great honour and very satisfying.
“We have always been a resort driven by nature with an environmental focus and have a long-term commitment to being a high-profile champion of sustainability.
“As a resort, we are united in our approach to supporting nature and our communities – conserving resources at the same time – and the great thing about golf is that it can be a leader in so many ways; from eco-system services, conservation of wildlife and health and well-being for all ages to creating jobs and adding value to the economy through local supply chains.”
Peter Walton, chief executive of IAGTO, said: “While the golf tourism industry was focused on coping with and recovering from pandemic-related travel restrictions, it was great to see so many golf courses take this time to review their sustainability programs, and in many cases take them to another level. This year, more than ever, I’ve been blown away by the ingenuity and real dedication that so many golf courses continue to demonstrate.”
Nestling in the heart of the Ria Formosa Natural Park, Quinta do Lago has always been passionate about the environment – only nine per cent of the resort has been developed with the rest devoted to golf, water and lakes and green spaces.
Working closely with the GEO and following its ‘On Course’ environmental stewardship programme, Quinta do Lago launched a multi-tiered eco-strategy with three key aims: to foster nature, conserve resources and support the community.
As well as improving sustainability on its three 18-hole championship courses, the acclaimed Portuguese venue adopted an enhanced approach to conservation across other business sectors of the resort including at its world-class sports hub The Campus, The Magnolia Hotel, its 13 bars and restaurants and general resort services.
At the forefront of Quinta do Lago’s green initiatives has been the €7m renovation of its South Course, an eight-time host of the Portuguese Open and recently named as ‘Portugal’s Best Golf Course’ at the World Golf Awards.
Among the improvements made, all of the layouts’ fairways, bunkers, tees and green surrounds received an upgrade, with subtle changes also being made to a number of holes to enhance the golfing experience.
Sustainability was a goal throughout the project, with Quinta do Lago golf course superintendent Mark Tupling and his team operating in tandem with the GEO and local non-profit company VitaNativa to record and enhance environmental stewardship across the golf courses. Water management was a key element of the changes made with new irrigation pumps being installed along with enhancements to the existing system – giving greater control and saving precious resources.
In addition, a planting scheme introducing native plants in and around the golf courses to control and remove invasive exotic species; building ‘bug hotels’ for insects – helping to control garden pests so reducing the use of insecticides – increasing the number of bird-nesting boxes and constructing bee houses; removing single-use plastics at its restaurants; and using a new fleet of electric golf buggies across the resort are among the other initiatives to be introduced to help conserve resources.
Quinta do Lago created its own farm in 2019 to provide its restaurants with homegrown organic produce, while further measures to help foster nature include the placing information boards on the golf courses and nearby nature trails advising people of the wildlife living nearby.
As one of the biggest employers in the Almancil area with more than 500 staff employed throughout the year, the resort also appreciates the importance of supporting the local community in its new eco-strategy.
As well as offering affordable golf to juniors taking up the game and support in playing regional and national tournaments, a series of other events and activities will be available including guided nature walks through the golf courses, educational trips to the resort farm and working closely with the animals living in and around the resort.
Set amongst 2,000 acres of the picturesque Ria Formosa Natural Park and just a 15-minute drive from Faro airport, Quinta do Lago has been at the forefront of Europe’s elite golf, sports and family destinations for nearly five decades and features a combination of world-class golf and lifestyle facilities.
As well as three 18-hole championship golf courses – the South Course, North Course and Laranjal – and outstanding practice facilities, guests can enjoy an array of sports at the state-of-the-art performance centre The Campus, a world-class sports hub designed for professionals and amateurs alike to train and live well.
Complementing the facilities is a choice of 13 first-class bars and restaurants that deliver a range of delicious world cuisines, including the acclaimed Bovino Steakhouse and UMAMI – the resort’s first Asian restaurant which opened in May – with accommodation at the boutique The Magnolia Hotel.
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About Quinta do Lago
Since its inception in 1972, Quinta do Lago has been at the forefront of international golf, hosting eight Portuguese Opens as well as numerous other international tournaments. Home to three world-class golf courses, the resort also boasts a wealth of cutting-edge practice facilities.
– Quinta do Lago North Course – Opening in October 2014, the totally revamped North Course has been redeveloped by renowned American golf architect Beau Welling in close collaboration with 2014 European Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley and is set to become one of the new stars of European golf. The new layout has been built to the highest specifications with a €9.6m investment programme and has been redeveloped with the emphasis firmly on precision and strategy. While many modern-day developments tend to focus on length, Welling and McGinley have been keen to design a golfing experience where accuracy and course management are the key factors, and a course that is playable and fun for golfers of all abilities.
– Quinta do Lago South Course – A favourite among European Tour professionals, the South Course calls for accurate drives and precise shots, but rewards players for their efforts with the stunning backdrop of the Ria Formosa Natural Park. Regularly included in Golf World magazine’s ‘Top 100 Golf Courses in Europe’, the par-72 layout has received widespread praise for its strategically-placed hazards and varying difficulty across the 18 holes. Having hosted the Portuguese Open on no fewer than eight occasions, the South Course is regarded as one of Portugal’s premier golfing venues and was recently the subject of a €7m upgrade.
– Laranjal – Designed by Jorge Santana da Silva in the grounds of an orange grove, the par-72 course was named as Portugal’s Best Golf Course 2011 at the Portuguese Travel Awards, and poses serious tests for players of all abilities. Opened in 2008, Laranjal offers a pure golfing experience right next to the Quinta do Lago estate and features fairways sown with Bermuda grass, providing a challenging playing environment in a picture-perfect setting.
– Paul McGinley Academy – Quinta do Lago is home to the only Paul McGinley Academy in the world, founded in October 2011 by Europe’s 2014 Ryder Cup captain. With a strong involvement from McGinley himself, who is a regular visitor to the resort, the academy aims to cultivate and improve golfers’ play by providing them with the tools and techniques used on the professional Tours. The academy focuses especially on younger players, working in collaboration with local schools and is the perfect way to follow in the footsteps of the pros.
– TaylorMade Performance Center – Quinta do Lago’s TaylorMade Performance Centre is the only facility of its kind in Portugal and is located on the resort’s expansive driving range. Opened in May 2013, the centre is operated by trained TaylorMade technicians, offering golfers a custom-fitting experience testing hundreds of club and iron options, ensuring the best combination for every player’s swing. It also has a fully equipped Tour standard workshop and utilises FlightScope X2 radar technology to measure the entire flight of the ball from impact to landing whilst displaying its 3D trajectory in real time.
– The Campus – Launched in October 2018, The Campus is a unique €10 million training, fitness and wellness facility catering to elite, professional athletes and enthusiastic amateurs alike. The multi-sports hub has recently unveiled a brand-new high-performance centre fully equipped with a high-performance gymnasium with technical area, a new centre for active living and sports medicine, dedicated studios for cycle and group exercise, stadium specification locker rooms and 25-metre outdoor heated swimming pool. Offering an array of first-class facilities, it offers the ideal environment for golfers of all abilities to improve their fitness, with golf-performance conditioning programmes and golf-specific fitness classes among the services available.
Set amongst 2,000 acres of the picturesque Ria Formosa Natural Park and located just 15 minutes from Faro airport, Quinta do Lago offers residents and guests an unparalleled location benefiting from a year-round temperate climate, a variety of lifestyle pursuits and a strong sense of community.