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Courses in Portugal


Golf Course

Multiple Properties

Benamor Golf Club

This pretty but fairly short layout was the first course to be constructed east of Faro, the capital city of the Algarve. Benamor's original design was done by Sir Henry Cotton, three-time winner of the Open Championship and one of England's greatest golfers. It opened in 2000. Benamor only measures 6,100 yards from the back tees, but many of the holes are lined by carob, olive or fig trees. Due to its modest length, Benamor is ideal for high handicappers and new golfers. The gently rolling terrain is also easy to walk, and it features gorgeous views of the Atlantic to the south and the mountains to the north.

Estoril Golf Club

A shorter course compared to some of the others in the region, yet it still provides an engrossing challenge. Its hole number 16 is internationally well known; a tough par 3 that measures over 200 yards. The Estoril Golf Club hosted the Portuguese Open Championship between 1953 and 1972, and also in 1977 and 1987, as well as several non-Pro international Championships. For that reason famous golfers the calibre of Ramon Sota, Max Faulkner, Seve Ballesteros, Bernard Gallacher, Peter Aliss and many others have played here. An excellent golf addition while visiting the Lisbon, Sintra & Estoril areas.

Monte Rei Golf Club, North Course

The Monte Rei Golf Club is set in the picturesque foothills of the Eastern Algarve, with sweeping views of the Serra do Caldeirao mountains to the north and the Atlantic Ocean to the south. The first of two Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Courses - "Monte Rei North" opened for play in June 2007 (the 2nd course is under design). This par 72 Championship course measures 6567m from the Tournament tees is a truly unique design; with water coming into play on eleven of the eighteen holes, the course features an enjoyable series of eight par-4s, five par-3s and five par-5s in a challenging and distinctive layout. The course presentation is highly individual, each hole a design gem blending effortlessly into this natural canvas, from its ingenious shape and sculptured bunkers, to the impressive presentation and attention to detail making every hole as remarkable as the next; fairways and greens are bordered by several lakes, indigenous plants, native grasses and trees adding drama to the landscape, and providing golfers with unforgettable moments to cherish in this unique and tranquil golf environment.

Oceanico Millenium Course (Vilamoura)

Credit for the beautiful Millenium Course at Vilamoura goes to Martin Hawtree, son of the well-known English architect Fred Hawtree. The layout consists of nine remodeled holes from the previous 27-hole Laguna course, and nine new holes. When it opened in 2000, this carefully crafted combination caused Golf Digest to rate Millenium the 7th best course in Portugal. The newer holes make up the front nine and are fairly open. The fairways on the back nine are narrower, mainly due a number of the region's distinctive "umbrella" pine trees. This very attractive and very enjoyable golf course measures 6,780 yards from the back tees.

Oceanico Old Course (Vilamoura)

Designed by Englishman Frank Pennick and opened in 1969, the challenging layout known as the "Old Course" was the first to be built at the beautiful Vilamoura facility. It was sturdy enough to be the site of the Portuguese Open in 1970 and 1979, and it is still a fantastic test today. In fact, Golf Digest recently ranked it the second best course in the country. Surprisingly, for a layout that measures a healthy 6,839 yards from the back tees, golfers often conclude that the toughest holes on the Old Course are the par threes. Also unusual, but potentially helpful to your score, is the fact there are four par fives on the back nine.

Oceanico Pinhal Course (Vilamoura)

The Pinhal Course at Vilamoura is not as tough as the Old Course but no push-over by any means. Also designed by Frank Pennick and built in 1976, Pinhal was remodeled in 1985 by the renowned architect Robert Trent Jones Sr. The result was a playable layout with both British and American traits. Compared to most other courses in the Algarve area the greens here are quite small, requiring precision on the approach. The front nine winds through a forest of pine trees, the back is more open and offers several views of the sea. From the tips, Pinhal measures 6,890 yards.

Oitavos Dunes Golf Club

The layout at the lovely Quinta da Marinha Resort is the only one in Portugal designed by the American design firm of Arthur Hills/Steve Forrest and Associates. Opened in 2001, Oitavos Dunes Golf Club is rare in that it features 18 holes in a continuous loop (much like the Old Course in St. Andrews, Scotland). The course winds its way through both pine forest and dunes land, and the Atlantic Ocean and the Sintra Mountains can be seen from every hole. Also in view — in the middle of the round — is Cabo da Roca, the westernmost point of Continental Europe. Oitavos Dunes measures 6,893 yards from the back tees, and it is the only course in Europe to be recognized as a Gold Certified Signature Sanctuary by Audubon International. The course has hosted the Portuguese Open on four occassions and in 2009 Golf Magazine ranked the course as #88 in the world.

Penha Longa Golf Resort, Atlantic Course

One of only two layouts in Portugal designed by Robert Trent Jones II, Atlantic is the regulation course at the beautiful Penha Longa Golf Resort (the facility's newer 9-hole course is called "Mosteiro"). Located within the foothills of the majestic Sintra Mountains - just 30 minutes from Lisbon - this very pretty and fairly hilly tract offers views of the ocean as well. Opened in 1992, the Atlantic Course is regularly ranked as one of the top 15 courses in Portugal. It measures 6,878 yards from the back tees and it's a good test for even low handicap players. One of the most scenic holes here is the par-four 6th. The green is fronted by a lake and backed by an ancient Roman aqueduct.

Penina Golf Club

Opened in 1966, the course at the La Meridien Golf & Resort was the first to be built in the beautiful Algarve region of Portugal's southern tip. Penina was also designed by Sir Henry Cotton and it is considered his masterpiece. The course is fairly flat, but there's water on 10 holes, plenty of sand, and 400,000 trees to contend with. Twice the site of the Portuguese Open (1998 and 1999), Penina has three sets of tees and a back-marker measurement of 7,042 yards. For practice or to warm up for the championship course, the facility also features two enjoyable 9-holers: the Resort course (3,211 yards) and the Academy course (2,025 yards).

Praia Del Rey Golf Resort

Located an hour north of Lisbon on Portugal's "Silver Coast," the course at Praia Del Rey Marriott Golf & Beach Resort is one of the most picturesque in all of Europe. Designed by American architect Cabell Robinson and opened in 1997, Praia Del Rey was recently ranked the 12th best course in the country by Golf Digest. Like Oitavos, the course is partly set within a pine forest and partly along the dunes that run next to the beautiful beach. Stunning views of the sea and the nearby Berlenga Islands are numerous. Praia Del Rey is one of the longest layouts in Continental Europe (7,005 yards from the tips), and it features the 2nd longest par five in Portugal (623 yards).

Quinta da Ria Golf Club

This beautiful Rocky Roquemore-designed layout is another one in the Algarve area where you're encouraged to not let the stunning views distract you from the task at hand. The sea, mountains and nearby Ria Formosa Nature Preserve are ever present. Opened in 2002, Quinta da Ria is set on gently rolling terrain and well known for its wonderful condition. There are a few water hazards here, most of which are off to the side, and many of the holes are bordered by almond, olive or carob trees. The greens are well guarded by bunkers, and the subtly sloped putting surfaces are quite testing. At 6,580 yards from the back tees, Quinta da Ria is not particularly long; however, it's still a good challenge.

Quinta do Lago Golf Club - North Course

Even though the European Golf Association considers the North course to be the tougher of the two at Quinta do Lago, Golf Digest ranked the North the sixth best course in all of Portugal and the South Number five. (Only at Vale do Lobo are there two other Top 10 courses at the same resort.) Credit for the design of the North course goes to Americans Joe Finger and Rocky Rocquemore (1987). The North features a number of exceptional par fours and tips-out at 7,093 yards. The greens at both courses, by the way, are often called the best in the area.

Quinta do Lago Golf Club - South Course

The first of two courses to be built at Quinta do Lago, the South is a good test for the low handicap player yet enjoyable for golfers with lesser ability. Designed by American architects William Mitchell and Joe Finger and opened in 1974, the South has been the venue for the Portuguese Open seven times. In 2005, Golf Digest ranked it the fifth best course in the country. From the tips, it measures 7,095 yards. The signature hole here is the beautiful and challenging 208-yard par-three 15th, played over a large lake to a well-contoured and well-guarded green.

San Lorenzo Golf Club

Located only ten minutes from the luxurious Le Meridien Dona Filipa Hotel, San Lorenzo was named the No.1 course in Portugal by Golf Digest in 2005. Designed by Joe Finger and opened in 1988, San Lorenzo is a beautiful parkland-style layout in the shape of a figure 8; counter-clockwise on the front nine, clockwise on the back. The course features tree-lined fairways and large, well-bunkered putting surfaces. Holes five, six and seven offer spectacular views of the Atlantic; holes 17 and 18 are played next to a long lake that's often abundant with waterfowl. The round ends with an exciting shot to a semi-island green. From the back tees, San Lorenzo measures 6,825 yards.

Vale do Lobo Golf Club - Ocean Course

Nowhere else in Portugal does one resort have two courses that are as beautiful and highly rated as those at Vale do Lobo. The first to be built here was the Ocean Course, a Sir Henry Cotton design that opened in 1968. In 2005, Golf Digest ranked it the 3rd best course in the country. Don't be fooled by its modest length of 6,212 yards from the back markers. The Ocean Course is quite challenging, with many of its holes meandering through umbrella pine, orange, olive and eucalyptus trees, and others edged precariously above the shore of the Atlantic.

Vale do Lobo Golf Club - Royal Course

Even though it is quite a bit longer (6,800 yards from the tips) and considered more difficult than the Ocean Course at Vale do Lobo, Golf Digest rated the Royal Course one notch below it at Number 4. Nine of the Royal's holes were completed by Henry Cotton in 1975; American architect Rocky Rocquemore built a second nine based on Cotton's plans. Among the many highlights here is the cliff-top 16th hole, arguably the most photographed par three in Europe. It measures 230 yards from the back tees and is played across two gaping gorges to a large putting surface. For this hole alone, the Royal Course is a must play in Portugal.

Vila Sol Golf Club

Rated the eighth best in the country by Golf Digest, Vila Sol was the first course in Portugal to be designed by renowned English architect Donald Steel. Challenging and beautifully conditioned from the very beginning, Vila Sol was chosen to hold the Portuguese Open only one year after it opened in 1991. Due to the numerous pine, fig, oak and olive trees that border many of the holes here, finding the fairways is a must. The greens are demanding as well, and among the fastest in the Algarve. A third nine was added in 2002, basically offering guests three courses in one. The original 18 measures 6,928 yards from the back tees.

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