How long have you been Golf Director at Penina?
Well, it will be 4 years at Penina in November of this year. Before that I was Quinta de Peru for 10 years and before that at the Portuguese Golf federation practice facility at Jamor in Lisbon for 4 years.
What attracted you to the move down from Lisbon to the Algarve?
The real pull was the destination as a whole because all the major things in Portugal, in terms of Golf, all happen down here in the Algarve. The move to Penina was a big step career wise and one of the best decisions I have made. The history of the Penina leaves a legacy. It’s the oldest course in the whole Algarve and the Stilwell family started Penina in the 50s when John Stilwell had the vision to build a course. He invited Sir Henry Cotton to see the potential at Penina and he fell in love with the area and the place and ended up staying in the area for a number of years. The land was originally a paddy field and so there was a tremendous amount of work to be done to transform it into a useable golf course. That’s why there are so many eucalyptus trees to soak up the water and because the land sits just below sea level. So it was a big project with the view of being a world class facility thanks to the vision of the Stilwell family and Sir Henry Cotton. It was the first 5 star hotel with an on-site golf course. So it’s believed that Algarve tourism started at Penina. One of the things that put Penina on the map is the Shell Wonderful World of golf programme with Peter Alliss and Doug Sanders in 1968. Penina was inaugurated in 1966. We’ve had 10 Opens at Penina with the last one in 2006.
Check out this short video from the Alliss vs Doug Sanders match in 1968 www.youtube.com/watch?v=8FcRTRQ4wEc (this is our MDHIO hole (the 8th at Penina))
Many new bunkers have been placed on the course and some holes reshaped. Salvador feels a responsibility to do a great job at Penina to protect the legacy as it’s an important place in Portugal’s golfing history. Even today the course stands up to modern golf and is annually tested when professional tours come to Penina in January and February.
Salvador’s favourite holes are the 5th, 9th and the 18th. The 9th in particular is a cleverly designed hole with the fairway well protected by bunkers and a stream running across it and a dogleg left to a three–tiered green in front of the hotel. Salvador himself a 1 handicapper, tends to try to hit a three–wood tight down the left to give himself a shorter shot into the tricky green.
He also likes the fact that there is only 1 par5 on the front and 4 on the back so there are chances to make birdies on the back 9.
The 8th hole (our Million Dollar hole) tends to produce the most Hole in Ones. It’s usually the shortest par 3.
Tell us something that our readers may not know about you?
Salvador has played numerous amateur events and has represented Portugal in international events. He is also a TV commentator for the live golf on SportTV during big events such as the European tour events. He is also a surfer and heads to the west coast in his spare time.