Santo da Serra Golf Course
The British colony, which settled on Madeira some centuries ago, has had a preponderant influence on the economy of this island. The famous Madeira wines carry the names of some distinguished families of English origin on their labels. The British also introduced golf into Madeira. In 1937 they built their first nine-hole course, designed by two members of their colony, the Miles Brothers, assisted by the Leacock and the Blandy families.
The Madeira Golf Course, at Santo da Serra, was inaugurated in December 1991. It was originally designed by Trent Jones but has had some changes and now is a par 72 with a total length of about 6,000 metres. The course was built at an altitude of approximately 700 metres and has panoramic views of incomparable beauty over Machico, São Lourenço Cape and the Desert isles.
The 4th hole is a par 3 over 200 metres long; it is played over a ravine that leads to Machico at sea level, and the green overlooks the Atlantic. The par 5 on the «Machico» loop is one of our favourite holes, since it requires a long, precise drive and a third stroke to a green full of well hidden dangers.
Mark James, currently one of the best players in Europe, was the winner of the first tournament of the 1993 European PGA Tour, the Madeira Open, with a result of 4 under par. After him came famous European professionals such as Broadhurst Rafferty, Spence and Brand, most of them members of European Ryder Cup teams, which proves that only the very best can produce good scores on this course.