Monday, June 8, 2015

World's Best Golf Clubhouses

Our research center in South Carolina signed a memorandum of understanding recently with Universidade Europeia in Portugal, with the intention of collaborating on various industry-related projects. One thing the two regions have in common is the critical importance of golf to the tourism industry, so I was particularly pleased to see both are represented in Golf Inc. Magazine’s ‘Clubhouse of the Year’ for 2014-2015. Congratulations to Plantation Golf Club at Sea Pines Resort Hilton Head for taking top spot, but I was fortunate enough to be in the vicinity of Portugal’s third-place winner Espiche Golf Club this week, so I thought I would drop in and chat to owner Peter Thornton and General Manager Luis Rocha to find out what it takes to be on this prestigious list of winners. Espiche Golf is located in an Ecological Reserve just outside Lagos in the Western Algarve and includes an 18-hole course that opened in 2012 and a stunning new clubhouse. Occupying the highest point of the Espiche property, surrounded on all sides by the golf course, the clubhouse is built into the hillside on the site of an old farmhouse, and is beautifully and sensitively integrated into the existing landscape. Stone from the original building has been used in the lower walls of the outer structure to maintain the sense of history, and solar panels, hidden within the roof design, ensure a state of the art approach to sustainability. Architect Nadine Berger’s unique and striking design provides 360 degree views from terraces and lounges on two levels, an informal restaurant and bar area, separate lounge, a relaxing inner patio garden, changing rooms, a golf shop and reception area. I will be writing more about Espiche for my new tourism marketing book, but you will see from the photos, this is a unique and special attraction! More at

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