Playing golf in the Algarve is a bit like being served a massive chocolate gateaux with loads of whipped cream.
Initially it's the best thing that you could possibly imagine. But by the halfway point - usually somewhere halfway through day three - you start to feel a bit bloated and sick. That's when I start to crave a bit of variety from the same flat (perfect) lie, and holes that seem to all mould into one.
But at this time of year the courses around London have started their inexorable descent into muddy sludge, and I've been polishing my game indoors - at this point i'm chomping at the bit.
In terms of clobber, I'll be packing our new Striped Play Well Polo - the lightweight jersey cotton is perfect in the sun, and the ribbed hem and cuffs gives it a great shape, especially when worn untucked. I'll pair it with our Drawcord Good Walk Shorts on the course, and with the Good Walk Chino in the evening. The Ripstop Haar Jacket is a must for early morning and into the evening - it can get pretty chilly once the sun stared to fade. I've got a lovey sunbleached Bucket Hat, and an Olive Cord Cap which needs a bit of exposure to the sun. And a nice crisp pair of socks every morning, naturally.
I've also enjoyed putting together my golf bag. For Portugal, the set up is built around a high flight for soft fairways - this is not the place to break out the persimmon. And naturally all clubs have been totally rebuilt for maximum pleasure.
What's in the bag
Big Dog - Trusty TaylorMade Superquad 282, possible last minute modern switch to Titleist TSR4
Sub Woofer - Sonartec SS03 4 Wood (90 gram pole, 4 wood head gives me some flight)
Hybrid - Callaway Apex Pro 3 (original version better than everything that has come since. It's very rare that I use a hybrid, but this one is magical. Carries 230 and then stops, but will only use it if there's no wind.
Blades of Glory - Maxfli TM92 2 to 9 (traditional lofts give me so much more workability and accuracy, these have been a revelation)
Shovels - 51 and 56 are Orion G spec from Japan
Mr Lobber - In the pic (above) it’s the Cleveland 588 Tour Issue, however I may well be taking a very rare Vokey K Grind I found recently on ebay. I don’t always use the lob wedge, but a rounded sole lob wedge with lots of camber on the sole is a must for the grabby Algarve turf. Really cuts down on the self-loathing round the greens.
Wand - Scotty Cameron T Stamp 009 oil can (although i have serious doubts about entrusting this to EasyJet. I love it so much, but that's why I can't leave it at home).
All of this of course goes in my new Sounder Golf Bag. I have a Club Glove travel cover which is big enough for pretty much everything, and I add a strut in the bag to protect shafts in transit.
The single-strap Sounder bag works with a buggy - just loop the bag strap through the handle, and the smaller bag stops iron heads getting dinged as they clatter around.