Golf legend Jack Nicklaus flew into Faro airport on 16 July and spent two days inspecting work on the golf course he is designing for the Monte Rei Golf and Country Club. Work on this, his first project in Portugal, started only three months ago, yet progress has been so rapid that he was able to extend his stay and examine the entire course.
For Monte Rei and Portugal, this is not just any course but a Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course. Nicklaus only accepts an invitation to create such a course when he is certain that he can put something of himself into the ground that will act as a legacy long after he is gone. And in Monte Rei, Nicklaus and his design team recognised just such a project in the awe-inspiring beauty of the location, coupled with a real and genuine desire to restore and perpetuate the very essence of the Algarve.
When he was invited to design the first of the club’s two great courses, Nicklaus said, “When I design a course, my top priority is finding the features such as native trees, grade variations or natural wetlands. I never try to force an idea on to a piece of land.”
Jack spent the two days modifying and tweaking the original designs – introducing modifications to bunkers, determining final green positions and designs, etc. “It’s a great setting with awesome views”, he said. “It is always our goal to design the best golf course possible, and if, by doing so, we create the best course in Portugal, obviously everyone involved in the development will be pleased.”
The best possible materials are being used and all conform to USGA specifications. Bermuda grass is being used for the fairways and creeping bent grass for the greens. Irrigation and drainage are state-of-the-art in order to keep the course in the best possible condition year round.
There will be lakes covering 10 hectares and considerable emphasis is being placed on environmental issues, with indigenous shrubs, trees and grasses being replanted around the course.
Set in over 1,000 acres in the Eastern Algarve, between Vila Real de Santo Antonio and Tavira, Monte Rei Golf and Country Club has breathtaking views of the sea against a backdrop of the dramatic Serra do Caldeirao mountains.
It is being developed by Aliber S.G.P.S. Lda and will provide residences around the golf course ranging from exclusive individual villas to town houses. However, relative to other developments in the Algarve, Monte Rei will offer a lower density of housing, with larger than usual plots.
A spokesman for the developer said, “It is our intention to build something that will become one of the most sought after and exclusive golf and country clubs in Europe. Monte Rei will be just such a place. By using the very best golf course designer in Jack Nicklaus we can add the greatest value and quality to a spectacular location.”
“Progress will be at a measured pace. Nothing will be rushed, as we are determined to get everything just right and the Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course is not projected to open until the spring of 2006.”
Those wishing to register interest can do so by calling the Monte Rei Sales Office on +351 289 392 167 or visit the website www.monte-rei.com.