Golf in Portugal

I’ve been fortunate enough to play a lot of golf over the last few weeks and I went on my first golf holiday to the Algarve, Portugal towards the end of March which was amazing.

This post is a brief review of the three courses I played.

The Old Course

Favourite hole(s): 7 and 11

Shot highlight for me: 6 iron approach shot on hole 8

Of the three courses, this was my favourite and it probably helped that it was the course I got the best score on (+19)!

The Old Course is part of the Dom Pedro golf courses. The course reminded me of some English courses and there was a good mix of difficulties on the holes. Unlike the other courses I played, there are no ocean views or large expanses of water but each hole was unique and memorable. I managed to get 4 pars overall, my first being on hole 5 which was a tricky hole. The course was in excellent condition and it is not too long. Of all the courses I played, I think this one would have been easy to walk on without the need for a buggy. The course is compact with all the holes close together.

As my first experience of golf in Portugal, I was impressed at how beautiful and well-maintained the fairways and greens were. The umbrella-like pine trees lined the fairways and looked amazing in the sun and if a ball went towards the trees, it could normally be found very easily.

The staff were very welcoming from the moment of arrival which just added to the whole experience.

Vale do Lobo (Ocean Course)

Favourite hole(s): 11

Shot highlight for me: Approach on hole 11 with the green in front of the sea

Vale do Lobo is a golf and beach resort and from the moment of arrival you see how busy it is with hotel guests around.

We played the Ocean course as the Royal course was closed. I started off finding that my ball seemed to be attracted to every possible bunker over the first few holes!

On hole 6 you can find someone selling some golf balls over the fence at a big discount in case you need some spare balls before approaching the water! Hole 7 is a par 3 and you can win a prize if you get a hole in one (although you have to pay to enter).

It took me a few holes before I started enjoying this course, it was very busy with slow groups in front so it was hard to get momentum but after we were let through on hole 8, I started playing better.

I nearly made a monumental mistake on hole 9 when I started to aim at the wrong green - thankfully my playing partners knew the course and had the course layout to hand but didn't let me forget my mistake for a while! There is a beautiful waterfall leading up to the green (if you are looking at the right one!).

Hole 11 was spectacular; it was amazing to drive up the fairway over the hill and see the green right in front of the sea. Hole 15 is a par 3 that runs parallel to the beach and is another beautiful hole. It was also a special touch on the uphill hole 18 (par 5) as the green is in front of a grandstand. This was a nice way to finish the round.

I would play this course again if I was given the opportunity but would like to play the Royal course first.

Quinta do Lago (South course)

Favourite hole(s): 1,3 and 16

Highlight for me: Drive on hole 3

This is another beautiful course and part of a golf resort with some great practice facilities and helpful staff in the proshop. We made good use of the driving range before we started (although the balls were very expensive).

One thing I have to mention about this course is the buggies. They are very clever as if you drive too close to particular areas of the fairway and green, the screen tells you to move, the buggy slows down and starts making a noise to warn you.

Ladies play off the green or silver tees here so don’t start looking for the red tees!

The ball ran quite quickly and the course was in excellent condition, it did feel like a championship course. Each hole was unique and had something special so it is more difficult for me to pick my favourite holes on this course.

Hole 3 is a pretty par 4 with a lake located to the left of the fairway. You have to hit over a very large lake on the par 3 hole 15. There are several holes that you can par but the greens did slope a lot so it is a good course to test your putting. Hole 18 was not as impressive as the other courses which was a slight shame but it is a stunning golf course overall.

This is another course that I would definitely recommend!

Overall it was a great trip and the weather was perfect especially given the cold, wet conditions in the UK. There are lots of companies where you can book tee times at a discounted rate so I would definitely recommend checking those either online before you travel or in person when you arrive.

Please let me know if you have any questions about the courses I have mentioned above or any other recommendations for a future trip. There are several other courses on my list!