DG interview Owner & Founder, Carlos Ferreira of TEETIMES.PT



Destination Golf interview with Carlos Ferreira, Owner & Founder– Teetimes.pt

  1. When did you open Teetimes.pt and what inspired you to start a golf tour operator company in Portugal?

Carlos: It all started more than 30 years ago with clients I had from other businesses who took me into golf and from then on, I became “adept” at it. At the time I was the pioneer in selling green fees in Portugal, which coincided with the appearance of low-cost flights and the time-share business, the internet and consequently the independent traveller.

  1. Why did you choose to work in golf tourism?

Carlos: I think it was more golf tourism that choose me. At first, I was more passionate about the game than the industry, and I filled a gap that existed in the market. The right business at the right time.

  1. Can you tell us about the unique experiences, events and services that your company offers to golf enthusiasts visiting Portugal?

Carlos: Service, service and service. We have a mindset of providing the customer with more than just service, accompanying them at all times, providing the most accurate and detailed information possible about the golf courses (maintenance, state of the course, conditions and their value). We organize events such as the Prestige Tournament and the Open Championship, which take place in November and January respectively. We promote the best events organized by golf courses and/or hotels that stand out for the good quality and customer experience offered by their partners. We have noticed that most golfers want to play golf, but as Portugal is a destination with a great gastronomic offer and beautiful landscapes, especially in the north of the country, we are always available to help clients enjoy these experiences.

  1. How do you ensure that your golf tours and events cater to a diverse range of golf holidays?

Carlos: First of all, we make sure that the tours and events we offer are of a high standard and then we make sure that the prices are as fair as possible. Value for money is unbeatable

  1. Could you highlight some of the top golf courses or destinations that you include and what makes them special?

Carlos: We started and maintained our operational base in the heart of an area that has been recognized several times as the best golf destination in the world (Vilamoura, Vale do Lobo and Quinta do Lago). From then on, we’ve closely followed everything that’s being done in Portugal and Spain, for example in Spain the Solheim Cup, Sotogrande and La Hacienda Links, and in Portugal we’ve had West Cliffs, Ombria and most recently Dunas Comporta, which in its first year won the best new golf course in Europe.

  1. You must have a great team, but how do you handle logistics such as transportation, accommodation, and tee time reservations for your clients?

Carlos: Yes, I have a great team and we have carefully selected partners who give us a guarantee such as an external service, transfers, car hire and club hire. When it comes to booking accommodation and golf courses, Tee Times has always wanted to be at the forefront of technological development and that’s why we have connections to various API’s that allow online bookings for the best hotels and golf courses on the Iberian Peninsula to be made for clients

  1. In what ways do you incorporate local culture and attractions into your golf tour itineraries?

Carlos: Our involvement in the general culture allows us to have an understanding of the offers available and to organise any desired experience on request (taylor made).

  1. You have faced tough years with financial crisis and covid, but what major challenges have you faced over the years and how did you overcome them?

Carlos: I have witnessed two major crises, the economic crisis in 2008 and the Covid-19 crisis in 2020. We managed to overcome both, one of which was more difficult than the other… the first one we managed to get through with a lot of resilience and I have to thank the trust that was placed in us by our partners, golf courses and hotels that allowed Tee Times to get through that crisis… And in 2020, it also took some effort, but we had the support of the Portuguese government, which we’ll have to repay in the upcoming years.

  1. Can you share some memorable feedback or testimonials from past clients?

Carlos: Operating for over 30 years, we are fortunate to have a good percentage of loyal customers who contact us directly whenever they are travelling, allowing us to build up a good database.

Some of our feedback:

  • “teetimes.pt always deliver and remain my go-to provider” 8th April 2024
  • “The service of teetimes is more than excellent. Always a prompt response and very customer oriented.” 3rd April 2024
  • “I’m a big fan of tee times.pt. They are great to work with and make your golf experience simple and enjoyable. I specifically work with Telma. I call her for all my golf bookings when I visit the Algarve. She’s a wonderful representative of the company. Give them a try, you won’t be disappointed.” 29th March 2024
  1. How has the golf tourism industry changed in Portugal over the last 10 or 20 years?

Looking ahead, what are some of the future plans for Teetimes.pt?

Carlos: Since the dawn of the internet era, which has revolutionised both the golf and leisure tourism industries, I’ve been following the growth in the number of golfers in Portugal and Spain and I’ve seen that golf courses are concerned with improving their structures and the type of maintenance they offer for a better customer experience. Nowadays, ecological issues and, more recently, restrictions on the use of water, with a greater impact in the south of Spain and Portugal, I see courses realising that they have to overcome this challenge in order to continue providing great experiences for players.

Tee Times is determined to promote new destinations to its customers in the near future.

  1. When did you open your office in Vilamoura Marina and how has that helped golfers to book their games of golf?

Carlos:  The Vilamoura Marina, with its huge nightlife offer, has become the most frequented place for golfers visiting the Algarve, so it makes perfect sense for us to have an office in the heart of the event, giving golfers greater proximity and visibility.

  1. We noticed that Teetimes.pt is nominated for Europe’s Best Golf Tour Operator 2024 at the World Golf Awards in Madeira this year. That must make you very proud, but how do people vote for you?

Carlos: We have been winners several times as the best Portuguese golf tour operator and in 2023 and 2024 we decided to take on the challenge of being the best golf tour operator in Europe. We’re counting on the votes of our clients and partner friends so that we can achieve this incredible goal.