Just a short hop by plane from Madeira, or a two-hour ferry crossing from Funchal, the capital of Madeira, lies Porto Santo. This is the smallest inhabited island in the Madeira Archipelago, but unlike Madeira, Porto Santo has a 9km golden sandy beach. The name literally means “blessed port” and we can see what the early Portuguese voyagers meant. Porto Santo is not just any old port in a storm.
Porto Santo is set to become a must-visit island because the flamboyant Spanish maestro Seve Ballesteros fashioned an exciting ocean-side golf course which quietly opened for play in 2004.
With the backdrop of the beach and two extinct volcanoes, the fairways of the opening nine holes sweep past lakes and bunkers. The back nine is more dramatic, set high on the clifftops with the glistening Atlantic in full view. The trio of holes, 13, 14 and 15 are amongst the best ocean holes in all Europe where there’s more than a hint of Pebble Beach.
A fun 9-hole par three course will provide an engaging warm-up ahead of Seve’s wonderful new Porto Santo layout. Play here before the word gets out.
Course designer Seve Ballesteros commented: “It is a very natural course, an existing lake has been well-planned, to drain it and to prepare it to store the water coming from the water purifier. The course offers a great variety, with two different areas. The first nine holes and the area around the clubhouse are overlooking the beach; these characteristics bring the players closer to the most traditional style of the best American courses. A chain of small lakes communicated by cascades affects three strategic holes (3, 4 and the 5).
The other part of the course is framed by cliffs that reminds of the British links with many spectacular aspects and unique to players. Holes 13, 14 and 15 are good examples and they flow near an oceanic cliff. Holes 10, 11 or the decisive 18 don’t go unnoticed with some water hazards.The characteristics of the golf course of Porto Santo are perfectly capable to be considered as one of the best in Europe.”