There was a lot of conjecture around whether or not hospitality was going to be allowed, a Pro-Am was going to happen and even whether or not spectators were going to be allowed on the premises. Thankfully not only is the event happening over its traditional venue Victoria, but all three elements which make the event so special are also accompanying Portugal's largest annual golfing event.
There are some big names playing too, a smattering of Ryder Cup players, a couple of Ryder Cup captains and a whole host of up and coming European Stars who have already won on the European Tour.
Namely the Højgaard brothers who are taking the European Tour by storm. They are twins, 20 years old, and have enjoyed their maiden victories this year. What is even more impressive about this stellar rise through the ranks is that two years ago they were playing in a tournament at Tróia representing their home club In the European champion club competition which is held every year.
Not bad work in two years, to go from representing their club to winning on the European Tour. They are well worth a watch because they can seriously play and if you want to see what the modern game looks like they are the very epitome of it.
It's a very special tournament for Edge Golf College as well; because of the support that we are receiving from the European Tour and Visit Portugal we have been given behind the scenes access to the event. This includes our students being able to play in the Pro-Am! This means they're going to be able to have a very interesting question and answer session with the pros that they're playing with, they will be able to see behind the scenes how the event is put together and all of the integral parts needed to create a successful event and finally, they will have access to the media centre so that they can see how the pros conduct themselves off the golf course in front of the cameras and pens of the world's media.
The crowning glory of the week for me will be to have access to the COO of the European Tour for a question and answer session with the students. Understandably the students are really only interested in how much money the players are playing for, what super fandango shafts are actually in the clubs of the superstars and how much the players are being paid to wear the clothes the students yearn to wear and have to pay for in their home golf club pro shops. Myself on the other hand, I'm very interested to hear how brutal the pandemic has been with regards to the staff levels at the European Tour, how the pandemic has affected the running of the events and what the next couple of years looks like since the Tour now has a closer relationship with the PGA Tour. All very boring to the students but very interesting for the lecturer.
Needless to say, I'm really looking forward to the week and it's safe to say so are the students.
The only worry will be the weather, as we know that November can be sometimes unpredictable. What is for sure, is that the weather will be better in the Algarve than the majority of the rest of Europe.
Having watched the American Grand Prix where they recorded over 400,000 spectators on the Sunday, I hope that the golfing population of the Algarve takes a moment to watch these outstanding golfers do what they do best, which is playing in front of a crowd.
It's been a long time coming and I hope to see you there!