West Cliffs receives GEO Certified Development status

West Cliffs receives GEO Certified Development status
Sean Dudley
By Sean Dudley

The recently-opened West Cliffs Golf Links in Portugal has become a Golf Environment Organization (GEO) Certified Development.

Located an hour north of Lisbon, the course sits on a 200 hectare site featuring rolling sand dunes and coastal vegetation, with views over the Atlantic Ocean from all 18 holes.

As well as receiving Certified Development status, West Cliffs has also become the first European course to complete GEO’s OnCourse Developments programme.

The course was designed by Cynthia Dye McGarey, and the project team worked closely with the local government to help ensure minimal environmental disruption.

The amount of golf course irrigation and intensively-managed turf was limited to 26 hectares of the site.

Dye and the project team adopted a flexible approach when it came to drainage and bunker design. This helped capitalise on existing lower sites and existing sandy areas.

Only 220,000 cubic metres of earth was moved during the course’s development, and none of this was taken from the site itself. Selected pine trees were removed to promote sections of coastal scrub, wetlands and aquatic habitats, which characterise the site.

“The entire ethos of the project from day one has been to generate greater positive impacts and a sustainable, long lasting legacy for the area,” said Sam Thomas, GEO’s golf developments manager. “The level of commitment in the construction work at West Cliffs has been very impressive and, it can be said, has raised the bar for sustainable golf course construction. We are proud to be able to work with leaders who take their opportunity to demonstrate the social and environmental benefits of great golf. To become the first golf development in Europe to successfully complete the OnCourse Developments programme is a great statement to the commitment and results generated by everyone involved. We very much look forward to our continual involvement in this exciting and high-profile golf development.”

“Cynthia, her team and Progolf have done an incredible job in creating a course that fits in so seamlessly with the surroundings,” said Francisco Cadete, director of golf at West Cliffs Golf Links. “It’s a great achievement for West Cliffs to receive this recognition from the GEO, and the accolades are recognition for all the hard work that everyone involved has put in to make this project such a success. What we have now is a course that sets a new level for golf development in Europe and our hard work will continue on to deliver a wonderful legacy for the region.”