From The Madeira Island Web Site

Santo da Serra Golf
By Jorge Barbosa
Jun 8, 2008 - 2:03:15 PM


The Santo da Serra Golf course is a fair distance from Funchal. Indeed you need to return to the airport on the motorway to get to about halfway the distance from Funchal to Santo da Serra. Plan a good 25 or 30 minutes from say, the lido area of hotels, in Funchal to get to the course. Fortunately, the roads are quite good and the time taken to get there can be used to admire the wonderful scenery.


The Robert Trent Jones designed Santo da Serra Golf course is the granddaddy of Madeiran golf and hosts the important Madeira Island Open each year – a fixture on the European PGA tour. It has been referred to by many golfing sources as “spectacular” and testimony to this must also be the wonderful views that the course provides over the city of Machico and the Desertas islands through several of its holes.

The site does lie at about 700 metres above sea level, and although the air quality and temperature is excellent all year round it can get misty in the winter months. The great irony about weather conditions in Santo da Serra is to expect the opposite to what may be experienced in Funchal. Sometimes, it may be pouring rain in Funchal and it is blazing sun with buzzing bees in Santo da Serra! We recommend to call ahead to find out what conditions are like before assuming that what “goes for Funchal goes for Santo da Serra” in terms of the weather.


There are three 9-hole circuits, the “Machico” circuit (named after the small city at the bottom of the steep drop from the mountainous top where the course lies), the “Desertas” circuit (as this overlooks the “Desertas” islands down south), and the “Serras” course (which in turn refers to the place and the trees where it is located).

Holes 2,3 and 4 are of the Machico circuit are probably the most memorable. The 179 metre 4th hole requires the golfer’s best attempt at accuracy and concentration – between the tee and the green lies a vast ravine or chasm and getting to the “well-guarded” green is an exciting challenge. If you manage to get a birdie here it would be considered a most excellent and praiseworthy result.

With the option of at least four tees on each hole the course provides for challenging tours or, for the less inclined to battle it out, a more leisurely and calm golfing experience.

The immaculately well kept and manicured fairways, greens, even the roughs and semi-roughs are world standard. The course is surrounded by lush green exotic flora and adorned with ornamental ponds and lakes with careful protection of old arboreal treasures dotted all across the course.

Quite well know celebrities have been found to golf here – don’t be surprised if you find yourself bumping into Prince Andrew or other notable European figures on the course....

A short history


The “Clube de Golfe do Santo da Serra”, often referred to as merely “Santo da Serra Golf”, had it origins just prior to the breaking out of the second world war – cerca 1937, albeit that golf was practiced adjacent to where the current golf course lies when the property there formed part of the now defunct “Pousada da Serra” hotel.

Credit is given to two English brothers of the Miles family (well known for their wine production and other business interests on the island) for initiating the course. The course comprised nine holes and was mostly used by the expatriate community and their Portuguese friends. Indeed, when the course was inaugurated, the huge Portuguese flag shared the wind with an equally huge British flag to represent the two interested parties in the recent development.

From 1967 the course operated under the auspices of the National Portuguese Department of Education. In 1998 under concession granted by the regional government a private company assumed management and control of the course. They pursued the total revamp and expansion of the course so that by 1991 two complete 9 hole circuits were available, the “Machico” circuit and the dramatically beautiful “Desertas” circuit – both adapted and built upon the original 9 holes of the now defunct “Favellas” circuit. And who else was invited to design this new course? None other than the hugely successful golf course design machine Robert Trent Jones.

Two years later Mark James won the first Madeira Island Open – a tournament that is now a staple of the European PGA tour.

In 1996 the regional government ceded concession of the course management and development to the “Clube de Golfe do Santo da Serra” which was confirmed and notarised in 1998.

In October of the same year an additional 9-hole circuit was inaugurated – the “Serras” circuit to complete the current 27 hole course we see today.

Also, under the new management, the golf course’s first purpose built clubhouse was inaugurated in 2000.

It may be also interesting to note that the “Clube de Golfe do Santo da Serra” was also responsible for the creation of the very recent and new Porto Santo golf course.


27 holes, 6067 metres + 2930 metres
Club house with a bar, restaurant and a terrace from which one can enjoy watching the activities about the the course
Chipping green with bunkers
Driving range
Gym and Sauna
Fully equipped Pro-shop
Club hire
The Club provides buggies and trolleys
Buggy-bar service.

Clube de Santo da Serra Golfe 
Designed by Robert Trent Jones
Holes 27
Length 6.067 metres + 2.930 metres
Par 72
Address 9200-152 Machico, Madeira,Portugal
Telephone (+ 351)  291 550100 
Fax (+ 351)  291 550105
Nearest Accommodation(s) Hotel do Santo, Estalagem Santo da Serra, Quinta Santo António da Serra, Quinta do Pântano

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