Portugals top 10 golf courses

Portugal has to be one of the top golfing destinations in the world with outstanding world class courses, all bathed in glorious sunshine and a mild climate for that perfect round!

There are so many options available to the keen golfer, be it on the Algarve surrounded by lush greenery or on the wild Atlantic coast north of Lisbon. Rest and recreation facilities are in abundance at the plentiful clubs and lavish resorts. The only problem is which courses to choose……..here are some of the favourites:

1.    The Monte Rei resort

The Monte Rei Golf & Country Club is situated in the splendid location of Eastern Algarve. The environment is prestigious and is set in a picturesque mountain backdrop.

Only a 30 minute drive from Faro International Airport, the resort features bar and restaurant, tennis courts, swimming pools, gym, spa and salon. It’s certainly an amazing golf course that golfers from across the globe love to visit.

Opened in June 2007, Monte Rei North, i the par 72 Championship golf course, designed by Jack Nicklaus. It measures 6567 metres. Golfers can enjoy a series of five par-3s, eight par-4s, and five par-5s in the distinctive and exciting layout. Water also comes into play for 11 out of 18 holes.

2.    Quinta da Marinha

Situated at a distance of 25km from Lisbon, Quinta da Marinha Resort is ideally located in the settings of Sintra and Cascais, among nature, mountains, beaches and serenity. The 5870 metres golf course has 18 holes to challenge the skills of any golfer. Robert Trent Jones Sr. designed the course amidst the stunning views of the Sintra Mountains and the Atlantic Ocean in the 1980’s and since then it has played host to several professional championships.

The countryside view brings you closer to nature, you can smell the sea breeze, as you play this serene course.

3.    San Lorenzo Golf Course

This spectacular golf course was opened in 1988. It has 18 holes situated at the southeast corner of Quinta do Lago neighbouring the estuary of Ria Farmosa. The landscape is wonderful without doubt, meandering its way tenderly over rising and falling pine forestry.

The renowned American golf designer Joseph Lee designed its parkland style layout. He has made ultimate use of the topography making the game all the more interesting and challenging ,the playing conditions on the Bermuda grass fairways are perfect throughout the year.

The holes draw a virtual 8 figure on the course in the centre of that 8, is the clubhouse of San Lorenzo that has a pro shop, restaurant and bar and a plethora of facilities. Many players regard this course as one of the finest in Europe.

The par three 5th hole has an amazing view, with the beach as its backdrop, the next 2 holes take the golfer past the Ria Formosa’s intimidating waters. The 17th and 18th promise a strong finish, particularly the 18th with its tricky semi-island green and water surrounding it to its left, with the more than 400 yard par 4. Even a skilled golfer will need to test their shots if they want to steer clear of the water on this course, but well worth the visit.

4.    Oceanico Old Course

Oceanico Golf is a gem of the Portuguese golf courses, counted among the largest portfolios of courses in Europe, offering seven golf courses of championship level in the Algarve, Oceanico Golf truly is grand.

Oceanico Old Course is among the famous 5 of Vilamoura. Located in its centre, just a 20 minute drive from Faro airport, Oceanico Old Course is famous among the world of golfing. It was opened in 1969, and was modernized and renovated after 27 years up to the new standards. However, the layout has been not changed as it was designed by the legendary Frank Pennink in a parkland style, which is still the same. The course is spread across smoothly rising and falling natural topography with extraordinary pine trees all the way through the layout. The magnificent design has earned it the prestigious title of “the Grande Dame of Algarve courses.”

The clubhouse at the Oceanico Old Course has top class facilities for the golfers to relax and indulge. Adhering to the environmental promise, the golf course has putting greens adjacent to it. The management is very particular to stick to the practices to protect the environment according the established guidelines of the ISO 14001 standards as well as the programs like Committed to Green and Green Globe.

5.    Praia D’El Rey

Spread along the western Atlantic coast Praia D’El Rey Golf & Beach Resort is undoubtedly among the Europe’s most striking golf courses. It is 106km north of the capital Lisbon.

The famous American architect Cabell B. Robinson designed it as a link golf course. The 6,625 metres course was opened in 1997. Many players consider this par 73 course as among Portugal’s more challenging as it is not only a link course at the side of the beach, it passes through forested vicinity, where houses overlook the course. The golfers undoubtedly have the experience of a lifetime at this 18-hole golf course, which is both wonderful and wild, uphill and downhill all the while with staggering views of the Atlantic ocean.

Golfers need to posses a valid certificate of golf handicap in order to be eligible to play at this course. The 5-star hotel along with the golf resort is renowned for its excellent facilities and great food.

6.      Troia

This golf course is situated on a peninsular, 40 km to the South of Lisbon. To reach there, go by the motorway to Setúbal from the docks, take a ferry that goes across the estuary to the peninsular where the golf course is located.

The holes are dotted on the dunes. Players enjoy the blue Atlantic views across the sand. Designed by the prestigious Trent Jones Sr, this course challenges the skills of any golfer. The primary challenge of Troia is the sand bordering the entire course along with wild plants and pine trees. The greens are narrow and small, well guarded, with huge bunkers at times. From the description it seems to be a highly unfeasible golf course. The challenge of the game makes it all the more enjoyable for the adventurous golf tourist to try out a game at Troia.

7.       Furnas History 

Located at an altitude of 500 metres, it is a splendid golf course featured in the middle of an adventurous volcanic landscape plentiful with tropical vegetation. This is beyond doubt an incredible experience of golfing. Originally, Furnas Golf Course was a 9-hole course. McKenzie Ross designed it and Cameron & Powell extended it to 18-holes. It is situated on São Miguel Island in the Azores, above the beautiful Furnas valley, whose tropical vegetation and hot springs are pretty famous. The climate is favourable all year to enjoy a round.

At a 25 minute drive from Ponta Delgada and only 15 minutes away from Caloura, Água d’Alto, Furnas Course offers two putting greens, a practice tee and chipping area and all equipment is available for hire. The breath-taking beauty of the landscape only adds to the excitement of the game in this particularly unusual golf course.

8.    Penha Longa Golf Courses

Situated with the beautiful backdrop of the Sintra Mountains, the Penha Longa resort is a spectacular 27-hole golf course along with a luxurious 5-star hotel. The secluded feel of the area gives a unique charm that adds to its beauty.

The two distinct golf courses at Penha Longa are Atlântico and Mosteiro. While, Atlântico is truly championship standard, Mosteiro is a 9-hole beauty. No wonder golfers love the splendid design by Robert Trent Jones jr. The design is pretty clever using every contour to maximize the challenge, excitement and interest at every shot during the game.

9.    Porto Santo Golf Club and Course

The peaceful island of Porto Santo was discovered in 1418 and is a 2 hour boat ride from Madeira. Golf champion Seve Ballesteros designed the beautiful golf course across this island. The 6434 metre course was opened in October, 2004. It offers 18-hole par 72 course along with a Pitch and Putt of 9-holes par 3 circuits. Plus, there are horse riding facilities and fine tennis courts too. The design is modern, but it blends so well in the backdrop of natural landscape.

It has two distinctive zones. One is the South Course, which follows the American style, is surrounded by lakes and offers a precise and lengthy game. The other is the North Course, designed along stunning cliff tops. Among all else, the facilities of a jacuzzi and sauna as well as the pro shop give it the touch of ultimate luxury. The restaurant and bar of the golf club let you enjoy dining and wining with a spectacular view from the island of the beautiful seashore.

10.     Quinta do Lago – South course

One of the best golf courses on the Algarve, Quinta do Lago South has hosted the Portuguese Open many times. It is a favourable course for long hitters, but players have to pick a specific route intelligently to have a good score. Holes number 3, 15, and 17 feature lakes and the most challenging holes for scratch golfers are 8, 10, 15 and 18. Birdie players can enjoy and improve their game on holes 2, 3, 5, 12, 13 and 17. This golf course provides a great game experience for all levels of player.

Surrounded by the lush green panorama of the Ria Formosa National Park, this golf course was designed by William Mitchell in 1974. It was the first golf course in Algarve to have the tees, greens and bunkers of American standard. No wonder it has become the favourite golf course for several European tour players.