Portugal is well known for its stellar golf courses. The wide range of golf resorts in Portugal will appeal to all golfers. Most of the renowned courses are in the South of Portugal, in the Algarve. However, Portugal’s centre, and the Lisbon coast offer some exceptional places, too! We had a close look…
Five years ago we enjoyed a week of golf in the Algarve. This year instead, we wanted to see and play the great courses around Lisbon. Unfortunately we had no luck with the weather. It was rainy, foggy and windy – certainly not what you would expect in otherwise mainly sunny Portugal. Actually, in October you can expect the perfect golf weather!
Here are 6 of Portugal’s top golf courses of the Centro region around Lisbon:
The Troia golf course is located just South of Lisbon, on the Troia Peninsula. It’s a beautiful links course, designed by famous golf course architect Robert Trent Jones Sr.
In 2011, Rolex ranked the course as one of the best golf courses in the world! Hence, it’s one of Rolex’ “Top 1’000 golf courses in the world“.
This course is a major challenge! The white sand is ubiquitous, not only in the bunkers that protect the small and straight greens, but also in the surrounding dunes. I can’t tell how often my ball landed in the bunker – but I could tell from the sand I found in my shoes and in my hair after the round! Nevertheless, at least you can enjoy the wonderful landscape.
The fairways are in very good shape, i.e. if you play on the fairways at all… and not in the dunes as the adventurous among us do…
Quinta da Marinha Golf Course
Quinta da Marinha is a rather flat course, located on the pictoresque Estoril Coast (25 km from Lisbon). Also this course was designed by the legendary Robert Trent Jones Sr. and is set in a private estate of 110 hectares, wooded with pine trees.
One of the most remarkable holes is no. 14 – a Par 3 which requires a precise shot crossing a cliff to reach the green on the other side!
We found it a bit awkward, though, that you have to cross fairways twice in order to get to the next tee. So watch out carefully!
Penha Longa Golf
Penha Longa Golf is a magnificent retreat in the mystic hills of Sintra. The championship course was designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr., and it is ranked in the Top 30 courses in Continental Europe! We liked this course as it is laid out on the steep slopes of an incredibly nice and inspiring landscape. It probably offers the most variation of these commendable courses.
The only thing which might distract your play is when the race cars on the former Formula 1 circuit in Estoril are having their practice rounds. Or… when a group of aspiring Dutch golfers crosses your way with their plaid pants…
Don’t miss out on the area around the club house! Featuring the Penha Longa five star luxury hotel and a little chapel this place makes for an exceptional experience! Also the stylish club house is definitely worth a visit!
Oitavos Dunes Golf Course
Oitavos Dunes is a great links course embedded within the Sintra and Cascais natural park. The course is set among Evergreen pine woods and reforested dunes, in an area of great natural beauty. It was designed by one of the world’s most respected golf course architects, Arthur Hills, and thus it shouldn’t come as a surprise that this course is ranked as one of the World’s top 100 golf courses.
The golf course includes two par 5 holes in a row, which I was lucky enough to play both even par for the first time!
I was feeling pretty good about myself afterwards, although I wouldn’t bet on a repeat performance. It was one of those days when the stars and strokes come together… or perhaps part of the magic of an exhilarating environment.
We were not only impressed by the course’s natural and wild beauty, but also by its stylish club house!
We also stayed at The Oitavos Hotel. Please find our travelogue about this stylish resort here.
Praia del Rey Golf
The Praia del Rey golf course is located at a short 45 minutes’ drive from Lisbon, near the medieval village of Obidos. The course has the characteristics of an authentic seaside links (back nine) and also provides a mixture of parkland holes.
Praia del Rey, rated 13th best course in Europe by Golf World magazine, is certainly one of the most picturesque layouts in Europe, set in extensive grounds of pine forest and undulating dunes with spectacular views over the Atlantic. We liked this course a mountain since the back nine offer a terrific view on the Atlantic Ocean!
Despite the heavy rain we enjoyed the course. Probably because I had a very good day but also due to the nicely maintained greens. Man, were they quick!
Belas Golf Course
Belas is yet another nearby championship golf course. Several fairways and greens are set in deep valleys. While the first 9 holes cross a naturally preserved landscape; the second 9 run by some houses and pine trees.
During our stay the course was in a rather poor condition – mainly due to the heavy thunderstorms of the previous days.
Disclaimer: The golf course managers and reception staff were very helpful when we booked this golf tour.
Thanks also for their photographs! Due to the rainy conditions we were not able to take our own shots this time around. Probably we should get back another day and try again…