In the Azores
golfing is a year-round activity with mild temperatures and spectacular landscapes at all the courses. The ocean is always in view and, while strolling the greens, players experience the exotic and diverse range of flora and fauna for which the Azores are known. Plus, the courses are designed by some of the best golf course architects in the business.
One local favorite is found on the main island of São Miguel just outside the town of Furnas. Operated by AzoresGolf, this nine-hole course was built in 1939 and designed by architects MacKenzie Ross. The architects Cameron & Powell designed another nine holes.
The newer Batalha course on São Miguel, also by Cameron & Powell, takes advantage of the island’s natural features. Guidebook writer David Sayers described as, “one the world’s most intimate and exquisitely beautiful courses, given its mountain setting with sheltering forests and numerous elegant tree ferns.”
Even more impressive is the Azorean dedication to keeping the islands naturally pristine. In 1995, the European Union recognized the people of Portugal and the Azores Islands for their commitment to the environment, as evidenced in the numerous nature reserves and protected parks and forests. The National Geographic Center for Sustainable Destinations has named the Azores islands as the world’s second most appealing island destination in its fourth annual Destination Scorecard survey. A panel of 522 experts aided by George Washington University reviewed conditions on 111 islands and archipelagos. The Azores were out-scored only by the Faroe Islands of Denmark, and received the title of “Authentic, unspoiled, and likely to remain so.”