Now I’m in the swing! TV weather presenter Lucy Verasamy discovers the secret to improving her golf game – lots of Algarve sunshine
I took up golf last year. Before then, I hadn’t even picked up a club, let alone swung one at a ball. I’m still relatively new to it all and, after a fair few lessons, I think it’s pretty safe to say I need quite a few more. I’m consistently inconsistent.
I know those jumbo-sized golf umbrellas exist for a reason but I admit to being a fair-weather golfer. During one lesson at my local driving range, the flimsy, single white leather golf glove was not enough.
I was teeth-chatteringly cold and it took a piping hot shower to warm up again when I got home. As soon as I got the feeling back in my fingers, I was Googling golf holidays.
Driving for perfection: TV weather presenter Lucy Verasamy works on her swing with golf coach Brittany
Portugal has the lure of almost guaranteed sunshine and is only a two-hour flight away. Where better to hone my (limited) golf skills? The Quinta Do Lago golf resort lies just 30 minutes from Faro airport – and taking only hand luggage means you can be at your hotel in little more than an hour after landing.
My room was no more than ten minutes from the meeting spot for my golf lessons with the director of the golf academy, Brian Evans, and coach Brittany. Each morning started with a double lesson with Brian. With more than 30 years of teaching under his belt, I’m guessing he must have seen it all. I’m far from a natural golfer but Brian couldn’t have been more encouraging and patient – I always finished on a high.
Golf can be pretty frustrating but Brian has a knack of keeping things buoyant. Brittany’s calming voice and reassuring manner made me feel at ease.
During our afternoon lessons I tried out the bigger clubs and spent time on the slower-paced putting green. Recording some of my swings and shorter shots on her phone and watching the footage in slow motion was helpful when it came to looking at my swing in more detail.
Correcting my slightly wonky alignment with the help of a nifty app also proved invaluable. Unexpectedly, I had a brief driving-range chat with former Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley, who was there hosting his junior tournament.
Fairways to heaven: The Algarve on the south coast of Portugal offers a great choice of golf venues
He suggested I whip the golf club at the top of the swing, as if I was casting a fishing rod. I’m not sure my technique was quite right, but suddenly the ball was flying and getting that crisper, thwacking sound. Swoosh. Thwack!
My morning lessons with Brian started early before it got too hot, so by the time midday came around I was starving. Koko, the on-site cafe and its terrace of sky-blue parasols, was always well-stocked with salads and dishes of the day.
Giving golf a break, I also signed up to a tennis lesson. I’ve not played for a few years so it was helpful to get some tips from the in-house coaches at The Campus – the resort’s new tennis hub.
But I underestimated how hard it was to run back and forth in the late-afternoon heat! With the Algarve temperatures, any activity had to be in the early mornings – then I could fit in a siesta by the hotel pool. Nothing beats an afternoon snooze in the sunshine.
You’re definitely in holiday mode when the big decision of the day is where to re-position your sunlounger.
Given the Algarve’s hot temperatures, Lucy says that any activity had to be in the early mornings – which meant she could fit in a siesta by the hotel pool
My hotel – the Magnolia – was ideally located and had a regular car service to the golf range. The rooms were big and the staff couldn’t have been more helpful. The only regret was that I didn’t have time to try out the spa – hopefully next time, if only to check out the rumours of a golfball massage.
Dining alfresco at Casa do Lago can’t be missed, if only to sample the setting. A prime location on the edge of the lake on the resort, it was a perfect spot for seafood dining under the stars, with a gentle breeze rustling giant potted palms.
On my last day I met up with some friends for lunch in nearby Vale Do Lobo before hopping on the hot sand down to the Beach Bar. Before I knew it, I had to dash to the airport.
The bonus is that the airport isn’t too far away, so cutting it fine seemed to be, er, fine. I wish I’d taken up golf years ago. At the rate I’m going, I might be good enough to play by the time I retire. Ideal.
Your Golf Travel (yourgolftravel.com/quinta-do-lago, 0800 193 6623) offers three nights at the Magnolia Hotel Quinta do Lago from £749pp. This includes return flights from Gatwick to Faro, B&B, two dinners with drinks, two rounds of golf, buggies and all transfers.
Source: Read Full Article