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Sir Henry Cotton Championship Course: History

Built in 1966 by one of the Finest Golf Architects in the World

The first 18 hole course of its kind to be built in the Algarve, the Sir Henry Cotton Championship Course started a golfing movement that is, today, famous the world over. Designed and completed in 1966 by the great Sir Henry Cotton, the course stands as a shining example to golfing architecture and one man's passion for the great game of golf.

Whether the former championship golfer had any inkling of the mark he was laying down when he first began implementing his vision upon the Algarve paddy fields from which his course sprung, we don't know... what we do know is the staggering extent of the legacy that he created.

A Stunning Transformation in the Southern Algarve

First he introduced thousands of trees and shrubs, completely transforming the landscape into a vegetation rich, lush land, perfect for playing the game of golf. From this initial build, there quickly sprang another 30 courses across the region... with plenty more to come.

As the towering pines and eucalyptus trees reached maturity, the course was given a definitive character that remains unmatched across the entire penipnsular of the Algarve.

Sir Henry Cotton: The Man Behind the Vision

Sir Henry Cotton was a three times British Open Champion, even winning the competition with an extraordinary 65 in 1934 - which resulted in Dunlop honouring him with his own ball... the '65'. Most at home in the Algarve, with the great all year round climate - particularly during Autumn and Winter when many of the UK courses were slightly inclement to say the least, Sir Henry was determined to follow his vision of creating a world of year-round golf... and golfers the world over are mighty pleased that he did.

The Sir Henry Cotton Championship Course Today

A major revitalisation project has recently completely transformed both the hotel and the golf course. Prestigious events such as the Daily Telegraph Seniors' Match Play event (2001), the National Finals of the Audi Corp, together with major international and charity competitions - such as the Sir Henry Cotton Charity Classic - together with the Portuguese Open (1998 / 1999/ 2000 / 2004 / 2006) have all been hosted at the course.

Unusual Characteristics of a World Famous Course

The course itself is characterised by an unusual grouping of Par 5s, with four of the five arranged together in pairs in the beginning and end of the back nine - producing a Par 38 as opposed to 35.

As you turn home towards the 18th, the magnificent building of the hotel acts as a backdrop to the green and is framed by an amphitheatre of trees - a superb spectator setting. Drive short of the drainage ditch, position the second shot to avoid the bunkers guarding the putting surface... and take into account the pin position on one of the three tiers - and you could well finish with a highly commendable par.

Of the Par 3s, the most memorable is the 13th - voted one of the best 500 holes in the world. A lake borders the right-hand side, coming into play off the back tee, whilst the sloping green is guarded to the front and left by a pair of dangerous bunkers... great fun and a great challenge.

Exterior View of Penina Hotel and Golf Resort
Exterior View of Penina Hotel and Golf Resort

Sir Henry Cotton Championship Course: Walkthrough

Known as one of the most challenging – and satisfying – courses in the whole of Portugal, this marquee course is as unforgiving as it is beautiful. Flanked by streams, ditches and water hazards, the course is maintained to the highest standard… and boasts an extensive array of subtle slopes, elevated greens and breathtaking scenery.

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Water on the Sir Henry Cotton Championship Course at Penina Hotel and Golf Resort
Water on the Sir Henry Cotton Championship Course at Penina Hotel and Golf Resort

Sir Henry Cotton Championship Course: Rules & Specifications

The rules followed on the Sir Henry Thomas Cotton Championship Course are those of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews... and there are a variety of different tee positions to reflect your ability. However, whatever your level, this is guaranteed to be one of the most memorable courses you will ever play.

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Reflections on the Sir Henry Cotton Championship Course at Penina Hotel and Golf Resort
Reflections on the Sir Henry Cotton Championship Course at Penina Hotel and Golf Resort

Sir Henry Cotton Championship Course

Known as one of the most challenging – and satisfying – courses in the whole of Portugal, this marquee course is as unforgiving as it is beautiful. Flanked by streams, ditches and water hazards, the course is maintained to the highest standard… and boasts an extensive array of subtle slopes, elevated greens and breathtaking scenery.

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Sunset at the Sir Henry Cotton Championship Course at Penina Hotel and Golf Resort
Sunset at the Sir Henry Cotton Championship Course at Penina Hotel and Golf Resort

Resort Course

A great combination course that provides 9 holes of solid, but gentle, practice for beginners… as well as 18 holes of challenging golf for the more seasoned player. With 18 well thought out holes, this course follows the principles laid down by the father of Portuguese golf, Sir Henry Cotton: the perfect course for golfers of every level and ability.

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Hole 5 on the Academy Course at Penina Hotel and Golf Resort
Hole 5 on the Academy Course at Penina Hotel and Golf Resort

Academy Course

Weaving its way through the fairways of the Championship Course, this executive 9-hole course has been specifically designed for the intermediate golfer. Great for all-round holiday golf and a very enjoyable round. With reasonable short greens, accuracy off the tee, along with approach shots, provide all players a chance to practice their short game with aplomb.

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Po Box 146, Penina, Portimao, 8501-952, Portugal, Tel: +351 282 420 200 , Fax: +351 282 420 300 , penina@jjwhotels.com