Tina, Business Manager at meetingsclub
who manages to keep the team in order on a daily basis! Full of fun, great at making tea and always there for our meetingsclub Members and venue partners. She’s a real dynamo, genuine team player and someone who can turn her hand to almost anything. But one thing she didn’t do until recently is play golf. No big deal you might think, but when your husband’s a golf pro…! So, Tina decided to do something about it whilst on a short break to Lisbon where she also celebrated a “significant birthday.” Read how Tina got on and check out her Top Tips from the golf course and what you should do and where you should go if visiting the ‘San Francisco of Europe’ – LISBOA!
At the beginning of January, hubby and I managed a quick cheeky get away to fabulous Lisbon!
We didn’t go sight-seeing initially, no I was there to learn how play to golf after all these years! My husband Mark is a bit of a golf addict – well actually it’s his job – and the time had come for me to finally take the plunge, pick up something called “a club” and dare I say it plan for those retirement days when we can play together….
Arriving at the gated access to Penha Longa Resort, which is approximately 30 minutes from the airport, we buzzed the entry bell and gave our name for access. The sun was shining and driving up the long winding road with the golf course either side you could tell we were in for a real treat at this stunning resort.
#serviceisthesecret ALERT – we were greeted at the door with a really warm welcome and the offer of a hot hand towel. Walking into the lobby the Christmas decorations were still up, looking pretty and magical. Time for a herbal tea whilst we were checked in.
But no time to rest. It was already 11.00 and time for my first lesson 😊
Top Tip: On the range, head down, good stance, relaxed grip and hang over the ball…. and off you go!
Later that day I was let loose on the 9-hole par 3, yeah my time had come to play internationally. But the top tips given to me on the driving range just didn’t seem to work the same. Funny that. I kept plodding on and with some good shots and loads of patience I really enjoyed the game. Afterall, when you’re walking past monasteries, streams flowing around you and beautiful walk ways to each hole – you can’t help but enjoy yourself.
And then highlight of my day and my golfing career. Picture the scene. Walking along the last hole with the sun still shining and the amazing hotel on my left, I only went and GOT my FIRST birdie! I bowed and waved to the crowd (that wasn’t there) and jumped up and down until I ran out of energy.
Time to relax, we came back to the Penha Longa hotel for a well earnt G&T and a debrief of my golf experience before a casual night in the bar!
A great movie was on the Fox channel – Snitch – so we sat with our coffee, enjoying the chance to relax before the day ahead which I knew was going to be busy!
Finally, off we went and check this out – I was upgraded to the championship course. Would love to say I did well, but no I became frustrated at myself – not a good trait! Time to take stock, grab another coffee and then enjoy lunch in the Arola restaurant overlooking the 18th hole. The winter sun was shining, the restaurant was busy due a conference in the hotel and it was lovely to be part of a buzzing atmosphere chilling in the warmth of the sun.
Top Tip: Always go out and practice before you play – think about your poise, grip and stance.
After parking my frustration of the morning, it was time to go back out and practice and take advice from my personal coach! A much better afternoon and we decided to play a few holes and YESSSSSSS another birdie for me – a cracker of a shot much better than yesterdays as well!
#serviceisthesecret ALERT – the news was out ha ha!! The hotel staff must have heard about my birdie 😊. When we returned to our room a gift and the best bit, it was edible!
An hour or so of golf practice on the putting green this morning before we checked out.
Top Tip: Bad putting comes from bad posture. Eyes over the ball and relax.
So, time to head back into the centre of Lisbon where we checked in the FonteCruz Autograph Hotel.
#serviceisthesecret ALERT – on check in we handed over our passports and the receptionist noticed it was my birthday (forgot to mention that) and she kindly upgraded our room to a Suite with its own fire place where I even could put my birthday cards up. How thoughtful, lucky us.
We quickly changed and headed out towards the river, taking in the beauty of Lisbon where we sat and enjoyed a lovely lunch in the Terrerio do Paco area, where Mark found his new hero dancing!
Next up a treat for myself a blow dry. Beds you could lie back on made me feel sleepy and relaxed. And then time for a hair wash with a head massage thrown in. I was in heaven– just need to find a place back home for this indulgent treat as it is a must for any lady!
Returning to the hotel another #serviceisthesecret ALERT – just after we’d entered our room there was knock on the door. Two glasses of fizz and a birthday cake – nice! That night a few doors up from the hotel we enjoyed JNcQUOI a great funky restaurant where we ate tasty local Portuguese dishes.
Whistle stop tour day as we only had a few hours before the plane home. The sun yet again shining.
We ambled towards the river and took the No 28 tram, that took us all over the centre of Lisbon. Couldn’t get over the sheer beauty and feel of Lisbon which was so warming, the architecture of the buildings a sight to see.
Top Tip: Be careful! There are lots of pick pockets so hold onto your bags.
The tram ride took a good hour and was fun way to see the city. We finally hopped off in the Estrela district and walked down to the river before catching a bus to Belem, a charming district to the west of the centre. Full of small of shops & cafes, we stopped and sat on the walkway drinking coffee, watching the world go by. Street artists were performing and walkers dodged Segways as they zoomed past. In the distance we could see The Jerónimos Monastery and so rest over, we headed in the general direction where a high-profile ceremony with local dignitaries was taking place. So spectacular I thought it must be royalty as it reminded me of the changing of the guards at Windsor Castle. Time nearly up, there was one place left to visit, Santa Justa Lift! We queued but sadly ran out of time before our taxis arrived. Next time then.
Well what a treat and what wonderful memories Lisbon has left in my heart.
Two things I have learnt.
- Lisbon is beautiful in so many ways and hopefully we’ll have the opportunity to visit again one day.
- Mark my husband has the patience of a saint teaching me golf, but what a fabulous time we had together and I can’t wait to visit the next place on my international golf tour.