Interview with Pedro Castelo Branco, Golf Director of Royal Óbidos: Emersing into the world of Seve Ballesteros in the 2023 Ryder Experience
Nestled within the stunning Portuguese landscape, Royal Óbidos Golf Course stands as a testament to the legendary Seve Ballesteros’ iconic design prowess. As the esteemed host of the 2023 Ryder Experience, this magnificent course weaves together the spirit of golfing excellence and the rich legacy of its renowned architect. In an exclusive interview with Pedro Castelo Branco, Golf Director of Royal Óbidos, we delve into the unique essence and allure of this extraordinary golfing sanctuary, uncovering the captivating features that make the Ryder Experience a truly exceptional and unforgettable journey for all golf enthusiasts.
1. As Golf Director of Royal Obidos Spa & Golf Resort, how do you feel about hosting the prestigious International Pairs World Final Ryder Experience, and what does it mean for the golf course and its staff?
It is an honor to host such an important international tournament. The resort and the staff are familiar with hosting major international tournaments, the participants will definitely enjoy the course and all the services of the Resort.
2. Can you tell us about the unique features and challenges of the Royal Obidos Spa & Golf Resort, and how do you think it will test the skills of the Ryder Experience participants?
Royal Óbidos golf course is a very challenging championship course that can easily be adapted and prepared to create more or less challenges. The course is long but very fair and there are a few “risk & reward” holes that will definitely make the difference when you are playing for the win.
3. With golfers from around the world competing, what makes Royal Obidos Spa & Golf Resort stand out as a must-play destination for amateur golfers?
This region has become one of the most wanted destinations in Portugal for golf tourists. There are 4 courses within a 5km range with very high standards, meticulously mantained throughout the year alongside some of the best services on offer. Royal Obidos stands for its quality and the best greens in the area.
4. As the International Pairs Ryder Experience participants will be staying on-site, could you highlight some of the unique features and amenities of the accommodation that will make their stay a truly memorable experience?
They will find a 5 star hotel with high quality hotel residencies and self-catering units. We have one of the best Spas in Portugal, 3 swimming pools, tennis & paddle courts, kids Club and a sports centre. We are also just 15 minutes away from the medieval village of Obidos where you can find a rich history and great gastronomy, we entice the participants to visit the town and explore the very rich culture on offer.
5. With the opportunity to stay right on the course, can you share more about the available options for purchasing property within the golf course community, and how living on-site can offer golf enthusiasts a unique and enriching lifestyle experience?
More than 60% of the club members are internationals that have come to retire in the area. Only 45 minutes away from Lisbon Airport you’ll find the beautiful resort of Royal Obidos and be able to fully relax by the countryside. You also have the beautiful beaches along the coast, great food and properties at half the price compared to the capital of Lisbon.
6. What role does Royal Obidos Spa & Golf Resort play in promoting golf tourism in the region, and how do you see the Ryder Experience during the World Final contributing to the growth of golf in the area?
The World Final Ryder Experience will bring players from more that 30+ different countries, and this aligns with our main objective, to showcase the beauty of the region. We all work together throughout the year in partnership with the Region’s Tourism Board to welcome more and more visitors. The International Pairs World Final & Ryder Experience fits right into what we aim to accomplish.
7. Are there any signature holes or specific course highlights that you recommend participants explore and look forward to playing during the World Final Ryder Experience?
Royal Obidos stands as the last design of Seve Bellesteros. On the signature second hole you’ll find a bunker near the landing area of the tee shot with the design of an ‘S’ for Severiano, a very special touch to the amazing layout.
8. Can you share any interesting anecdotes or stories related to previous golf events or tournaments held at Royal Obidos Spa & Golf Resort that highlight its charm and appeal?
Royal Obidos has been the host of the Portugal Open, a Challenge Tour event for the last 4 years. Which stands as a testament of the quality on offer.
We’ve also hosted the European Senior Golfers Association’s annual tournament where we host 380 players from 23 different European countries. The golfers are around 55 years of age and older, they play the tournament over 4 days of competition without the use of buggies, although it might be a long course, it’s a nice and easy walk.
9. As the Golf Director, what message would you like to convey to all the golfers participating in the International Pairs Ryder Experience and the golfing community worldwide?
You will feel most welcomed at Royal Óbidos. Come and discover this beautiful golf destination so close to Lisbon! We look forward to hosting you and crowning the next Ryder Experience Champions!