Quinta do Lago offered England Golf’s elite training squads some welcome respite from Storm Dennis as its players headed to Portugal for some warm-weather training at the top Algarve resort this month.
The country’s top amateur women and girls and the elite boys’ squad swapped the wind and rain of the UK for some welcome sun on their backs and the chance to enjoy the resort’s array of five-star golf and leisure facilities during two recent winter training camps.
The primary focus of the warm-weather breaks was for the players to work on England Golf’s five ‘Pillars of Performance’ – world-class holing out, outstanding short game, precise wedge play, ball-flight control and strategy/tactical awareness.
Among the leading names taking part at Quinta do Lago were GB & Ireland Walker Cup star Conor Gough – who won the 2019 English Men’s Amateur title aged just 17 – Curtis Cup player and European number two Lily May Humphreys; reigning Women’s Amateur champion Emily Toy; and Mimi Rhodes, who won the prestigious Justin Rose Telegraph Junior Golf Championship at the resort in November.
Jennifer Henderson, assistant performance manager for the England Women’s and Girls’ squads, said: “For me, not only are the practice facilities world class in design and condition, but having exclusive use of every type within close proximity, means we can greater individualise group training sessions and easily adapt to the needs of the players.
“Having a choice of championship golf courses also means our national coaches have numerous opportunities to continue player development in increasingly challenging scenarios.”
A long-term partner of England Golf, Quinta do Lago’s facilities include three 18-hole championship golf courses – the North, South and Laranjal – a Paul McGinley Golf Academy, a TaylorMade Performance Centre and extensive leisure activities and facilities.
Away from the fairways, the players had the opportunity to work on their strength and conditioning at the resort’s state-of-the-art performance centre The Campus – a world-class sports hub designed for professionals and amateurs alike to keep fit – as well as enjoying the choice of 13 first-class bars and restaurants and accommodation at the recently-acquired boutique The Magnolia Hotel.
Stephen Burnett, performance manager for men’s golf, said: “For me it's the opportunity to practice and compete at such a top-quality facility with fabulous playing surfaces, which just aren't available to us back in the UK at this time of year.
“Quinta do Lago’s director of golf, Brian Evans, and his staff took care of our every need, both this week and on previous visits; it’s just a top-class venue.
“One thing I would highlight this year are the putting surfaces. They are as good or better than they've ever been. This has been just an ideal opportunity for the boys to work with the team and put in the hours to make them better players heading into the start of a busy season.
“Of course, the Portuguese sunshine helps the cause too!”
The England Golf players who visited Quinta do Lago were:
- England Women’s and Girls’ Squad: Lily May Humphreys (Stoke by Nayland GC, Essex), Mimi Rhodes (Burnham & Berrow GC, Somerset), Emily Toy (Carlyon Bay GC, Cornwall), Jess Baker (Gosforth Park Ladies GC, Northumberland), Rafiah Banday (Royal Mid Surrey GC, Surrey), Rosie Belsham (Whitley Bay GC, Northumberland), Rachel Gourley (Arcot Hall GC, Northumberland), Caitlin Whitehead (Carus Green GC, Cumbria) and Lottie Woad (Farnham GC, Surrey).
- England Boys’ Squad: Jack Bigham (Harpenden GC, Herts), Oscar Doran (Delamere Forest GC, Cheshire), Conor Gough (Stoke Park GC), Max Hopkins (Bishops Stortford GC, Herts) Remy Miller (Prestbury GC, Cheshire), Craig Passmore (Torquay GC, Devon), Jack Ingham (Eindhovensche GC, Holland) and Josh Berry (Doncaster GC, South Yorkshire)