Daily Golf Journal Interview Series- Interview #7
Jamie O’Doherty talks ‘Faldo and O’Connor’ with Tiago Francisco – Diretor de Golfe no Amendoeira Golf Resort
How long have you been at Amendoeira?
I have been at the Faldo and O’Connor courses here at Amendoeira Resort for over 12 years now. Started working for Troon Golf in Vilamoura at the Old Course and they managed Monte Rei, the Old course and the Amendoeira resort too at that time. From 2007 I was trained up by Troon Golf and eventually I was given the job to manage the golf and the food and beverage by Chris Stilwell and Oceanico Group.
What are the unique facilities at the Resort?
As well as the fabulous Faldo and O’Connor golf courses, there is a fantastic floodlit Pitch & Putt course at the newly refurbished Sports Centre, which is considered one of the best in the world. They can offer special shotgun events for 36 players at a time with BBQ and prizegiving afterwards. It’s an added value for any guests staying on the resort, they can have a little fun game in the evenings. There is also a new gym there and many improvements around the resort since Kronos Group took over nearly 2 years ago. The improvements have also been made at the sister resort at Palmares.
What was the impact of Covid-19?
The impact was immediately felt and was like an explosion to the golf industry and the Algarve as a whole. Over 70% of the income was lost as people stopped coming and it will take some time to recover, we are already seeing some slow increases but nowhere near the levels and numbers of 2017 and 2018. The feeling is that golf will increase again as soon flights and flight bridges start operating and the knock-on effect will be felt in other industries as a result. We have to stay positive that things will improve. The British and Irish market are important for the resort although the are other nationalities coming to the facility there.
What are your thoughts for the remainder of the season?
The British and Irish market always return to the Amendoeira resort every year and that won’t change, it may even improve in the future as the Algarve as a destination is perfect for the game of Golf. The region as a whole works hard to collectively attract golfers here and has won Best Golf Destination in the World a number of times. The area has many great golf courses within easy reach of each other. Safety measures were quickly in place during lockdown and we will see the benefits.
What are the new things at Amendoeira?
Focus is on creating more value and expanding the commercial operations with partners and increasing that number of partners. We are actively looking to generate more business from other areas. There are new developments on the website too. We are also running a great value summer offer so that is working well. These are:
- 1 player – 70€
- 2 players – 65€ each
- 3 or more – 50€ each
- all include a buggy
(we hope that the UK/Portugal Airbridge opens soon so that you can take advantage of these great deals).
Tell our readers something that they may not know about yourself?
I am Algarve born and I play guitar in a band and we play locally for fun at a few bars playing our own songs and covers with some friends from my school days. I also enjoy playing Padel tennis as well as golf (7 handicap).