As Europe’s premier modern golf destination, Quinta do Lago is well aware of the need to adapt and change and has created a blueprint for the return of golfers and their families post-Covid-19, with the long-term focus on sustainability, mental wellbeing and the environment
The top Portuguese resort has laid the foundations for life after the pandemic by promoting a multi-tiered plan with the emphasis on outdoor living and incorporating three key principles: to foster nature, conserve resources and support the community.
Following an extended period of lockdowns across Europe, spending time outdoors and living a healthy lifestyle in an eco-friendly environment has never been more important to people.
Nestling in the heart of the Ria Formosa Natural Park, Quinta do Lago has always been passionate about the environment – only nine per cent of the resort has been built on with the rest devoted to golf, water and lakes and green spaces.
As well as featuring improved sustainability on its three 18-hole championship courses – including a €7m makeover of the iconic South Course – the resort has adopted an enhanced approach to conservation across other sectors of its business including at its world-class sports hub The Campus, The Magnolia Hotel, its 12 bars and restaurants and general resort services.
Sean Moriarty, CEO at Quinta do Lago, said: “Following the challenges of Covid, people will be looking for green living, safe spaces and low-density areas, and Quinta do Lago lends itself perfectly to this new approach.
“We have always been a resort driven by nature with an environmental focus. We are a destination which lends itself to outdoor living and we are looking forward to welcoming guests back to experience our new sustainability initiative – one of our key investments which took place during the initial lockdown.
“Covid enabled us to reflect on what is important and launch this strategy sooner than anticipated, there were policies in place but previously we did not have an official master plan to work towards. This has started with one of our renowned golf courses and has spread across the whole resort.
“People are in need of some good news, and we are looking forward to sharing how we are improving and strengthening our environmental credentials – enhancing guest experience and our relationship with the natural world.”
Set amongst 2,000 acres of the Ria Formosa Natural Park and located just 15 minutes from Faro airport, Quinta do Lago is famous for offering residents and guests a variety of lifestyle pursuits and a strong sense of community in an unparalleled location.
At the forefront of the resort’s latest initiatives is the renovation of its South Course, an eight-time host of the Portuguese Open.
Among the improvements made, all of the layouts fairways, bunkers, tees and green surrounds have received an upgrade, with subtle changes also being made to a number of holes to enhance the golfing experience.
Carried out with sustainable goals in mind and with Quinta do Lago golf course superintendent Mark Tupling and his team working with the Golf Environment Organisation (GEO) Foundation, a state-of-the-art irrigation system has also been installed together with more eco-friendly grasses – maximising efficiency and reducing the use of non-renewable resources.
In addition, a planting scheme introducing native plants in and around the golf courses to control and remove invasive exotic species; building ‘bug hotels’ for insects – helping to control garden pests so reducing the use of insecticides – increasing the number of bird-nesting boxes and constructing bee houses; removing single-use plastics at its restaurants; and using a new fleet of electric golf buggies across the resort are among the other initiatives to be introduced to help conserve resources.
Quinta do Lago created its own farm in 2019 to provide its restaurants with homegrown organic produce, while further measures to help foster nature include the placing information boards on the golf courses and nearby nature trails advising people of the wildlife living nearby.
As one of the biggest employers in the Almancil area with more than 500 staff employed throughout the year, the resort also appreciates the importance of supporting the local community in its new eco-strategy.
As well as offering affordable golf to juniors taking up the game and support in playing regional and national tournaments, a series of other events and activities will be available including guided nature walks through the golf courses, educational trips to the resort farm and working closely with the animals living in and around the resort.
Moriarty added: “It is interesting to think about how we will travel in a post-pandemic world, which has highlighted how important our relationship is with our environment – hopefully, this will have a lasting impact and we will begin to travel more sustainably and live healthier lifestyles as a collective.”