People will always debate which of Portugal’s numerous championship-grade golf courses should be counted among the top five in the country, but the following are courses that will definitely satisfy even the most demanding of golfers.
Here are three of the very best that the Algarve has to offer;
Vale do Lobo
The oceanside fairways of Vale do Lobo include two 18-hole courses – the Royal, where straight hitting is a must, and the Ocean, which has been designated as one of the top three course in Portugal by Golf Digest Magazine. You are certain to love the gorgeous Atlantic views when you get to the challenging Par 4s of the 11th and 14th Ocean holes, and the Par 3 15th hole is actually right next to a beach. Though the Royal’s spectacular and difficult 16th is renowned, the final hole provides a challenging end to your round, with its narrow fairway and confusing green.
Five of the holes of the scenic Palmares course run along the sand dunes of the Meia Praia beach, and the rest of the 13 holes are situated among the rolling hills that overlook the Bay of Lagos. The gorgeous course is only 2 km to the east of Lagos, and really comes alive in the spring when acacias, almonds, and other shrubs all bloom. Challenging holes situated on sand dunes are featured at the open 18-hole, Par 71 course, and the driving range, chipping green and putting green afford lots of opportunities for practice. Although Palmares has the potential to be difficult, it is great for golfers of all skill levels.
Quinta da Ria,
This course which is situated in the Ria Formosa Nature Reserve, is one of the top Portuguese courses, featuring ocean and mountain views from various locations. The 18 holes are dotted with more than 300 olive and carob trees. Many tricky doglegs must be dealt with and lakes and sand hazards stand in the way of many of the greens. Two driving ranges are available, one designed for use with irons and includes a golf academy devoted to iron shots, and another that permits you to use your woods to practice making long hits.
An old favourite on the Lisbon Coast
The famed Estoril located on the Lisbon Coast, is one of the oldest and most well-known golf courses in Portugal, and the Portuguese Open has been hosted here many times. The 18-hole, Par 69 course is set in a mature pine and eucalyptus forest, and features a challenging 185 meter fairway at its internationally famed 16th hole. There is another course with nine holes where less experienced people can practice their golf skills. When finished, they can enjoy fine Portuguese cuisine in the clubhouse restaurant with breathtaking views of the Atlantic.
The Portugal Golfing Island of Madeira
PGA European events, including the Madeira Island Open, are hosted on Madeira Santo da Serra. This is Portugal’s golfing island and it overlooks the bay of Machico. Originally built in 1937, the course was redesigned by Trent Jones in the 1990s, at which time it morphed into a 27-hole golf course featuring panoramic views. Unforgettable as well as demanding are the second and fourth holes of the Machico part of the course. You can choose from one of four tees at each hole, allowing you to experience various levels of challenge, from relaxing to more difficult. Throughout the course, you will find roughs and semi-roughs, and four gorgeous lakes with shade trees around them offering respite from the hot sun.
Portugal is a mecca for golfers and offers a wide variety of courses. If you are planning a golf holiday in Portugal you will not be disappointed with the breadth and variety of courses available to you. It’s also still possible to find reasonably priced tee times in Portugal.