45 varied holes with no crowds and restaurant bills that do not dig holes in the travel funds - Azores keeps its position as one of the most affordable golfing destinations. We have been back for the third time.
Azores consists of nine volcanic islands 150 mil due west from the capital Lisbon and 390 mil before the U.S. east coast. The largest island is São Miguel and is home to the airport, just outside the main town Ponta Delgada. E-group main attraction for tourists is greenery, flowers and the beautiful views and whale watching. For us it was of course golf.
Solresor has for many years offered affordable golf packages to the Azores. Today is also the Portuguese airline Sata started a scheduled flight from Stockholm, Oslo and Copenhagen, an alternative for those who want to be more flexible both in terms of dates and programs. Eg it can only buy airline ticket book in different hotels during their stay (see our tips for the hotel), something to suit golfers of the two tracks on the main island of São Miguel is a good bit from each other. Since this time we flew regular, we chose to stay at both courses, which made our transportation logistics much easier / cheaper.
Apart from a path on a neighboring island, which is mostly used by U.S. personnel stationed there, there are two courses in the Azores, both on the main island of São Miguel. Batalha is located 15 minutes north of Ponta Delgada, Furnas 40 minutes east. Car is an expensive business in the Azores - especially if you rent the place and feel that you need all the insurance - so we recommend that you primarily use taxis for transportation to the golf course (which saves you also fight about whose turn it is to stand above the beer) . Prices are firm and reasonable. Chaffisarna will almost always offer to pay on the way back, to ensure that you are calling for just them. Are you going to places other than the golf course, it may also be worthwhile to hire a taxi per hour. Any cab driver we went with were very nice, honest and spoke good English. All appear to have a scent tree hanging in the mirror and when we found a car that smelled of caramel instead of cheap perfume, it was easy to stick to the chaffisen rest of the week.
With its exposed position in the middle of the Atlantic, the weather is a factor to be reckoned with in the Azores - whatever the season is always the risk of rain (especially in winter). This is offset by the fact that the temperature is relatively constant over the year, perfect for golf. Should you be unlucky and it rains a lot during your stay, it Batalha you to bet on - the track is almost always well-drained and dry. Conversely, if it is unusually warm, Furnas is preferable because it is much higher and thus offers more coolness. Generally, Batalha is in the best shape in the winter and Furnas in the summer.
If you live in Ponta Delgada and will play Furnas may be worth hiring a car for the lira early morning and then use the afternoon to look around. Rent you home becomes cheaper. Beware of driving time so you do not bite off more than you can chew. The highway is now also developed along much of the north side of São Miguel, the rest is the winding back roads where it takes its time to run.
Batalha is the newer of the two courses on São Miguel and opened to the public 1993rd There are now 27 holes divided into loops A, B and C and there is never a problem to get out. Members usually choose to play the A + B, perhaps because they are the original holes, but surely also because C has a hole that offers a real uphill struggle, and two little doubt dogleg holes towards the end. Even the opening hole of the A is questionable - you do not really know what to make of the other team. Do you have a limited amount of skinning is A easy to walk.
We think you should play all the holes, to the coils are so different. The layout is varied over the 27 holes and the greens are fast. Water is only in play a few holes, the difficulty consists instead of bunkers and thick vegetation, the latter especially on the B-loop in which many holes really has his own room. For those who spread their balls - or rather, for those who play with one who spread their balls - it may be a consolation that there are plenty of red sticks that you do not have to play provisional balls.
The clubhouse has excellent facilities throughout, from the locker room to the restaurant. The menu is the easier the battle but the food is ok - we got stuck mainly to fläskschnitzeln which although it did not look so cheerful melted like ice cream in the mouth. Mondays, the offer in the restaurant limited, also applies to Furnas.
For games at Batalha, it is best to stay in Ponta Delgada. We have recently tested the two hotels of quite different nature, both popular in Solresor range. Talisman is perhaps the hotel with the most character of all hotels in town. It is situated picturesquely in the old quarter and the atmosphere feels very much the Azores. While most of the rooms small and without balconies, and after a week it feels well trapped. Pool on the roof and a terrace overlooking a small square. For those who have their own computer, includes free access.
Marina Atlantico is situated overlooking the harbor and the sea in the east of Ponta Delgada. This is a much better alternative for golfers, with rooms that have plenty of elbow room for the bakers. Located on the promenade with spacious balconies facing the sea and from the bed, you see a hefty portion of the Atlantic. For some reason, there is a speaker with TV sound in the ceiling of the bathroom and the volume that is significantly higher than in the actual device. This allows the combination to a watching war movies on TV and the other taking a relaxing bath is not functioning optimally.
The golf course in Furnas offers a completely undisturbed nature experience. Beautiful it is if you set out as dew patrol. The first nine holes came to in 1939, to be supplemented by a further nine 1992nd The layout is relatively flat and the course is easy to get around on foot. There are no views of the sea as Batalha offers, but for those who are here during the flowering time (it's always colorful in the Azores, but the extra so April-May), it is said to be as beautiful as the Druids Glen.
For those who care more about the score than the experience can be the small, undulating and well guarded by deep bunkers, greens make it - you have a småbråkig wedge, you will inevitably run into problems. The length from the red tees (5256 yards) can also feel hard and three par-4s measuring over 400 meters from the yellow tee.
Since the track is 700 meters high and more towards the northeastern part of São Miguel is also more exposed to the weather. First round we lirade here over Christmas and New Year a few years ago, it was so foggy that we took out the wrong way on a hole - something we discovered when we started to go white tee instead of red appeared (perhaps speaks volumes about how bad we are using the course guide). The other two times we've been back, we had the perfect golfing weather and were able to estimate the path to the full. The pressure of the track is not worse than the hole 15 may double as a driving range (yellow range balls), with tees in yellow tee. The environment around the club house is beautiful, but the interior is not as nice as at Batalha. The menu is also here of the simpler kind.
For those who want to live in Furnas we tested the Terra Nostra Garden Hotel. Hotel's main attraction is the botanical garden with its hot springs, said to relieve arthritis and other ailments - but not slice. This hotel is filled to the surface and all rooms have balconies facing the garden. From Terra Nostra to Furnas golf course is only about five minutes and taxis are cheap. Looking to stay a whole week in Furnas, you should be aware that the supply of restaurants etc in the village is limited.
When it comes to food in the Azores lot has happened since we were here the first time and today you can find several restaurants with really good food, where the kitchens are not just relying on good ingredients without really doing a good job in the pans. Trip leaders have an eye on all the good restaurants, so check with them and you will eat well during their stay. Ourselves we fell head over heels for Sao Pedro in Ponta Delgado - first class at very decent prices!
For those who want to go out on a whale safari you need to be aware that it often stops at a dolphin watching. The whales can be submerged 40 minutes at a stretch, making them difficult to detect. When there is a lot of whales in the water, you can see them with binoculars from the country. Have you never seen dolphins in the herd, you should definitely do this, some operators also offer you to swim with them.
LINK TO BOBMENREPORT.COM