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Fri 01 November 2019
Golfing icon, Colin Montgomerie, scooped top honours at the World Golf Awards 2019. The Ryder Cup legend was named 'Golf Course Designer of the Year' at the golf tourism industry’s event of the year in Abu Dhabi, UAE. He was also the recipient of the 'Lifetime Achievement Award' for his outstanding contribution to golf.
Hosted in the Middle East for the first time, the 6th annual World Golf Awards proved a truly global gathering of the golf tourism industry, with pioneers, influencers and leading figureheads across the world in attendance.
The prize-giving ceremony at The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, Abu Dhabi marked the climax of a three-day itinerary that included golf at Saadiyat Beach Golf Club, one of the world's most captivating golfing projects.
The rapidly-growing golf market of Vietnam was unveiled as one of the big winners, collecting trophies for both 'Asia's Best Golf Destination' and 'World's Best Golf Destination'. Meanwhile the rich history and legendary golf of Scotland's Carnoustie Golf Links – Championship Course was acknowledged with awards for 'Europe's Best Golf Course' and 'World's Best Golf Course'.
Chris Frost, Managing Director, World Golf Awards, said: "Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi has proven a world-class host on what has been a magnificent evening of triumph for the golf tourism industry. We have had the privilege of recognising the leading golf courses, hotels, resorts, designers and tour operators from across the world and my congratulations to each of them."
The combination of phenomenal courses and a breath-taking Singapore skyline helped Sentosa Golf Club to the title of ‘World's Best Golf Club’. Other winners on the night included England’s The Belfry (‘Europe's Best Golf Hotel’ and ‘World's Best Golf Hotel’); Royal Greens Golf & Country Club, Saudi Arabia (‘World’s Best Golf Clubhouse’); and Kalhaar Blues & Greens Golf Club (‘India's Best Golf Course’). Home winners included Saadiyat Beach Golf Club (‘Abu Dhabi's Best Golf Course’) and Abu Dhabi Golf Club (‘United Arab Emirates' Best Golf Course’).
The ceremony also saw World Golf Awards welcome Golf Saudi as Presenting Partner. With Saudi Arabia quickly establishing itself as one of the world's most dynamic new golf markets, the new partnership highlights the ambition of the Kingdom to become an international golf destination.
Majed Al-Sorour, CEO, Golf Saudi, said: "World Golf Awards is one of the game's pre-eminent accolades and represents core values that align closely with our vision at Golf Saudi – excellence, global connectivity and dedication. As Saudi Arabia's golf development programme gains momentum, greater integration with the global golf community is allowing us to build relations and develop pioneering initiatives that will determine how we build the game in the Kingdom."
Madeira emerges to win top award
The beautiful Atlantic archipelago of Madeira has been acclaimed as the ‘World's Best Emerging Golf Destination 2019' in the prestigious World Golf Awards.
Boasting three stunning courses by renowned designers - Severiano Ballesteros, Cabell B Robinson, and Robert Trent Jones Snr - Madeira, an autonomous region of Portugal, has enjoyed something of a renaissance in recent years.
And, in beating off the challenge of other nominees such as Paris, Porto, Missouri and Sicily to win the title, Madeira's burgeoning reputation will be enhanced further.
What's more, it has already been named Europe's ‘leading island destination' in the 2019 World Travel Awards™, for the fourth successive year, and will be looking to become the world's ‘leading island destination' for a staggering fifth year running, when the World Travel Awards grand final takes place in Oman, in November.
A spokesman for Discover Madeira, the consumer-facing brand of the Madeira Promotion Bureau, said: "We are naturally delighted to win this award, not least because of the standard of the other nominees. We are engaged in a comprehensive marketing campaign to highlight the delights of Madeiran golf, which is reaping benefits in terms of increased visitor numbers and growth in interest from the travel industry."
"Many of those industry visitors and travelling golfers will be among the voters in these awards and we thank them for their support, and, crucially their patronage of golf in Madeira, which has been vastly underrated for some time."
The best way to enjoy the three golf courses is with a Madeira Golf Passport - available from most hotels and the golf clubs - which entitles the bearer to five rounds of golf across the two ‘mainland' tracks.
Trent Jones Snr's 1991 redesign of Santo da Serra - which dates originally from 1937 - created a spectacular 27-hole complex in a beautiful natural landscape, with views of Porto Santo and the bay of Machico, where Portuguese navigators first landed in 1419.
The Machico and Desertas nines form the 6,825-yard championship course, on which the European Tour's Madeira Islands Open was held on 10 occasions - Mark James winning the inaugural 1993 tournament. The third and fourth on the Machico are regarded as the signature holes, sitting atop cliffs more than 2,200ft above the Atlantic.
The 3,193-yard Serras course offers a delightful alternative, with lakes and mountain views along flatter terrain.
The Robinson-designed Palheiro Golf opened in 1993 and sits within the magnificent Palheiro Estate, which is more than 200 years old. The course borders the five-star Hotel Casa Velha do Palheiro and meanders through a pristine environment of maritime pine and botanical woodland, garnished with lush, sub-tropical vegetation.
And, at nearly 1,640ft above sea level, the location enjoys dramatic views of Madeira's mountainous skyline and the vast Atlantic Ocean, as well as - nestling below, just 10 minutes away - the island's capital, Funchal.
The par-72, 6,656-yard course takes full advantage of Madeira's hilly terrain, with abrupt ridges and deep valleys. It is listed inside continental Europe's top 200 in one benchmark course ranking, and the presence of a splendid hotel, secured a spot for Palheiro in the top 80 in two recent ‘best European golf resort' lists.
A short, 20-minute flight - or a two-and-a-half hour ferry ride - will cover the 27 miles between Madeira and the archipelago's eastern-most island, Porto Santo, home to Porto Santo Golfe, which hosted the Madeira Islands Open between 2009 and 2011.
Ballesteros' 7,036-yard course, which opened in 2004 and was built to environmentally conscious standards, comprises two distinct nines, spanning an area from sand dunes to basalt cliffs.
The US-style southern route is dotted with lakes, requiring a long, precise game; while the northern route is atop yet more fantastic cliffs, near a stunning beach, also called Porto Santo. The signature hole is undoubtedly the 200-yard, par-three 13th, which requires a shot over a gorge to reach a cliff-top green.