The 5th green with its stunning Atlantic Ocean backdrop and the town of Areia
Our coach is winding through some tiny villages in Póvoa de Varzim which is about 30mins from the centre of Porto, today's course appeared on the European Tour schedule when they held the Portuguese Open back here in 1991, and if you want to know how tough this track is only three players broke par with the winning score being -5. As you can imagine there were a handful of scores in the high 60s, there were plenty of rounds in the high 70s, to low 80s and a certain Ross McFarlane shot 90, I think he went to top himself that day and missed!!
And as you stand on the first tee with the North Atlantic Ocean crashing on the beautiful white sand beach to your left, as you peg up your ball on the 502-yard par 5 1st tee, you know that sea breeze which carries that salty fresh air that you can taste is the main reason for so many wrecked cards.
To be fair you really need to take advantage of the first, it represents a great chance to get quickly under par, because believe me by the time you hit the 18th you will feel like you have been in a 18 round boxing match where your opponent obviously swapped the feathers for f**king lead – excuse my Portuguese!
Every hole is a test, the par 3s are awesome and you better take a dozen cheap balls with you, I played off six, missed about four fairways and lost the ball on all of them! I think I could play the 3rd, 4th and 5th holes for the rest of my life, they are right alongside the beautiful sandy beach and look across to the town of Areia.
The start of the back nine is just as awesome as the front and just gets better as you go along and it's a great run of holes all the way to the 15th. There really should be a couple of seconds waiting to towel you down and spit out your gum shield as you depart the 18th, I felt a bit like Apollo Creed in the first Rocky movie, I certainly want a rematch, I want my title shot, I am sure Ross McFarlane feels the same way, well once he got over the shock.
Looking back down the 6th 13th tee is right on the beachRaised green at the 15th
Looking acroos from the 3rd green to the par 3 4th green in the background