The upgrades are part of a wider 4.5 million development strategy across the five championship courses from Dom Pedro Hotels & Golf Collection in Vilamoura and it is hoped that the changes will help to provide a tougher test for the best players in the game.
Central to this has been the addition of a more resilient Common Bermuda grass to the rough and green surrounds. According to the European Tour, as a warm weather variant that uses water much more efficiently, this will allow the greenkeeping staff at Dom Pedro to alter the line of the fairways more easily and present the course in tournament-ready condition – both during the event and for golfers all year round.
Working closely with the European Tour, the upgrade has seen the strategic addition of new trees across three holes on the front nine. Intended to prevent the longest hitters from cutting the corners of doglegs on the second, fifth (both down the left-hand side) and 10th (down the right-hand side, after the bunker), this will have an even greater bearing as the trees mature in the years ahead.
Simao da Cunha, Head of Golf Operations, Dom Pedro Hotels & Golf Collection, said: “We have worked very closely with the European Tour to improve the condition of the Victoria Course to provide a more complete test for both professionals and amateurs. This is part of a wider development programme that, with the addition of further trees and the strategic repositioning of bunkers in the years ahead, will establish the Victoria Course as one of the best in Europe.”
Jose Maria Zamora, Tournament Director, European Tour, said: “We have been visiting the Victoria Course for 13 years and have a very close relationship with the team there. Their commitment to the development of this course is evidenced by the work undertaken in changing the grass in the rough to Bermuda over the last two years. The course has always provided an interesting test and the changes being made will ensure it continues to be one of the finest-conditioned layouts we visit all year. I look forward to this year’s event and to working together with Dom Pedro going forward to make the Victoria Course the best it can be.”
England’s Tom Lewis won the Portugal Masters for the second time last year, holding off a world-class field that included compatriot Oliver Fisher, who shot the European Tour’s first ever sub-60 round when he signed for a 59 in the second round.