What has QDL managed to do to keep their 3 stunning courses in good condition during Lockdown?
QDL has moved its heavy maintenance programme forward from June and July during lockdown, so that means that the North course and Laranjal will now hopefully remain open until June/July time 2021. The Project on the South course is extensive and will be completed end of August for reopening in September 2020. On the South the tees, the fairways and aprons are all being treated. Major changes are being done to the 8th hole which is the only hole on the course which has drawn some small criticisms from past tournaments and therefore is being changed. There is also some re-shaping of the 16th green.
When do you think the main golf tourism will return to the Algarve?
It really depends on the 14 days quarantine as that will make things more difficult, but they may drop that and create a kind of channel between countries like the UK and Portugal. The biggest problem is the social side for big groups such as ProAms with reduced capacities in clubhouses and restaurants. Hopefully everything will sort itself out fully by next year.
Has QDL offered any incentives to attract golfers back to the area?
On the Laranjal and North courses QDL have introduced their Summer Offer of €99 per player for green fee and buggy included which will run until the 8th September 2020. Basically, all the clients currently using the North and Laranjal course are members or locals; therefore they have brought forward the summer offer for the people already here.
Has the empty golf courses helped the condition of the QDL courses?
The early heavy maintenance was still showing a bit early May when the courses reopened, especially on the North and a little on Laranjal. However, the reduced numbers of players down to just a third means the courses are now in excellent condition again. That combined with the heavy rain during lockdown means the courses are flourishing.
What safety measures has QDL got in place to welcome back golfers after Covid-19?
QDL is following everything set out under the guidelines from the government and the Portugal golf federation. 1 person per buggy unless from the same household, no touching of flags or rakes etc. I feel that these rules will be the last thing in golf to be relaxed and will remain in place for some time yet. I did notice that the only person who was allowed to touch the flag during the recent charity challenge match on TV in the USA, involving Rory McIlroy, was the referee as the players clearly weren’t wanting the flag left in.