Discover why Portugal is the “World’s Best Golf Destination”
Playing golf in Portugal remains in the memories of all those who have the chance to go there. Why? Excellent courses in stunning settings, a mild climate all year round and the friendly welcome given to golfers.
It is difficult to find a better golfing destination for a holiday. It has been voted the World’s Best Golf Destination by the World Golf Awards for the fifth year in a row since 2014. This is quite remarkable considering there are only 87 courses in the country.
Many of the courses were designed by famous architects such as Robert Trent Jones Jr., Jack Nicklaus, Arthur Hills, Nick Faldo, Severiano Ballesteros, Henry Cotton, Rocky Roquemore and Arnold Palmer, the creator of the award-winning Oceânico Victoria, one of golf’s flagship courses, where the Portugal Masters has been held since it was first staged in 2007.
And even though games can be relaxed or hotly contested, the encounter concludes at a table in the clubhouse or the restaurant… to practise a “sport” at which the Portuguese excel: socialising.
Here are the four golf courses in Portugal hand-picked for our Spain and Portugal tour.
Quinta Do Lago – ALGARVE
Rated as Europe’s Best Golf Destination by the World Golf Awards in 2015 and 2016, the Quinta Do Lago is the spearhead of international golf. The resort consists of three courses, with the South Course being their crown jewel having hosted 8 Portuguese Open tournaments in the past.
Despite its Championship status, amateur golfers should not fear a nightmare round as the course varies in difficulty facilitating for all levels of golfers. The layout is awe-inspiring – umbrella pines line the generous fairways, a few water features here and there as well as bold bunkering.
The resort features a world-class golf academy, PMG Academy, that was founded by Paul McGinley – a member of the 2014 Ryder Cup winning team; a miniature golf course where each hole resembles other world-renowned courses including Augusta and Sawgrass; and, to top it all off, the only Taylormade Performance Centre in Europe. To say the very least, it is a glorious day of golf.
Monte Rei Golf and Country Club – ALGARVE
Being Portugal’s #1 Golf Course, the golf offered at Monte Rei is unrivalled in the region. Some courses, like anywhere, lack in certain aspects whether it be in the conditioning of the course, the difficulty or the special spark that makes visitors want to come back. Monte Rei is not like any of those courses. It is a thrill from start to finish.
The course is a Jack Nicklaus signature, one of only a few in Europe, so you know the layout will provide for an unforgettable experience. A truly unique design that features a number of water hazards and superb bunkering – it is guaranteed that no hole here will disappoint.
The signature is the 14th hole. Considered the prettiest hole at Monte Rei, don’t let this distract you from the challenge that lies ahead. The par 3 requires golfers to reach the green from the tee, if they don’t they will find nothing but the lake that surrounds the hole.
Penha Longa Atlantic Golf Club – SINTRA
The Atlântico course at Penha Longa is both an adrenaline rush and tranquilising experience at one of Portugal’s most inspiring environments. It’s a challenging layout that weaves up and down hills providing golfers with breathtaking views of the Atlantic and neighbouring towns Cascais and Estoril. With fearless drives, daring approaches and crafty greens, the course ensures excitement at every turn.
Designer, Robert Trent Jones Jr, has created a real test for even championship golfers. So much so that in the 1999 Estoril Open, Jean-Francois Remesy won the tournament as the only player under par, breaking par by only two shots.
The signature 6th hole was listed in the Top 500 holes in the world by Golf Magazine. It is an incredible par 5 that includes a medieval arched wall and castle tower in the backdrop. The green is beautiful and sits peacefully by the lake as it greets your approaching shots.
Oitavos Dunes – CASCAIS
Oitavos Dunes is the only golf course in Portugal to crack Golf Magazine’s Top 100 courses in the World in 2017, ranking 55th. It has hosted 4 Portuguese opens and the first course in Europe to receive Audubon Gold Certification. The Dunes is set in a beautiful location that overlooks Cascais Bay and has the Sintra Mountains as a backdrop.
The layout is a charming blend of woodland and links-type holes that have been brilliantly placed to create an exciting landscape. The course is complete with memorable thrills – a wide, open links layout possessing scenic sand dunes, native umbrella pines and a challenging cliff-swept shoreline.
The signature 14th hole is set on the most western point of Europe and presents the most stunning views out to the Atlantic. It is a marvellous par 3 that plays over a storm ravine that continues to run along the right side of the hole. As you approach the green, we know you will be pulling out your camera before your putter.
Where to go to in Portugal for the travelling golfer
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