Portugal is internationally renowned as a golf destination and many of its courses, designed by famous architects, offer a great challenge for golfers.
Designed to blend harmoniously into the landscape, the layout of most courses is suitable for various levels of difficulty. From amongst all of them, certain greens are notable for their difficulty or for their surroundings and are a true test of skill and technique.
Praia d’El Rey
A nine-hole course at the edge of the ocean, the vagaries of the sea winds turn Praia d’el Rey into a course that can be different every day, which in itself is already a great challenge. However, the big test designed by Cabell Robinson is the 570 metre-long 17th hole. The Berlengas islands can be seen in the distance from the 2nd hole, and the view of the Atlantic Ocean from the fairway of the 12th hole is greatly appreciated. It was considered the seventh best course in Europe by Golf World Magazine.
Quinta da Marinha Golf Club
On the links designed by Robert Trent Jones, the 13th hole is a spectacular par 4 of 339 metres, which descends towards the sea, ending in a green with the ocean as a backdrop. With five par 5s and six par 3s set amongst a pine wood, the course has stunning views over the sea and the Sintra Mountain.
Belas Clube de Campo Golf Course
Belas is a complete and varied championship course designed by Rocky Roquemore, which requires a carefully defined golfing strategy, which appeals to golfers of various handicaps. The great challenge here is the 18th green on the “Big Hole”, which is protected by a fearsome lake. Hole 2 is also noteworthy, named Augusta in homage to the 13th hole on the course that is home to the U.S. Masters.
Troia Golf Championship Course
The Troia links were designed by Robert Trent Jones as his ideal course. Hole 3 is a famous par 4 on the dunes where Sam Torrence won the Portugal Open on two below par.
Montado Golf Course
This course designed by architect Jorge Santana da Silva, which is set amongst cork oak woods, sets the challenge to reach the 18th hole, which is located on an island.
Vale de Lobo Royal Golf Course
In the layout defined by Sir Henry Cotton, set on top of the Algarve coastal cliff, combining fairways with areas of pine woods, the star is the green of hole 16, with a breath-taking view over the sea. This par 3 requires a shot of 218 metres to soar over three cliffs to the green! It is one of the most photographed holes in Europe and is widely used to promote golf in the region.
Pine Cliffs Golf & Country Club
Pine Cliffs has a unique location on top of an extraordinary cliff on the Algarve coast, 60 metres from the golden sandy beach. The jewel of the course is the 6th hole, the famous “Devil’s Parlour”, at the edge of a ravine, where you have to play over the beach to get to a narrow green, with a stroke of 198 metres.
Sir Henry Cotton Championship Golf Course
This course was scrupulously designed by Sir Henry Cotton so that each hole would set a real challenge to golfing strategy. Even so, there are two highlights. Hole 5 shows the importance of water, as it doglegs left for 451 metres, with bunkers and water to the right. Hole 13, a par 3, requires a long stroke over water. It has been considered one of the best 500 holes in the world.
Quinta do Lago South
William Mitchel designed this course with greens that can be played in many different ways, and this makes it one of the most versatile golf courses, which has hosted the Portugal Open for many years. In addition to the well placed bunkers, the highlight here is the 15th hole, a par 3 that requires a shot of 200 metres over a lake to a green flanked by pine trees.
Pestana Alto Golf
The highlight of this course designed by Sir Henry Cotton overlooking Lagos Bay is the 16th hole, one of the longest in Europe, requiring a par 5 of 604 metres known as “The Giant”. Any golfer who makes a birdie is entitled to receive a certificate and his name will be entered on the Club’s roll of honour.