The Lisbon Golf Coast - scenic golf in serene surroundings
Golfers looking for an easily accessible golfing destination, delightful, relatively quiet and cheap courses, sunny blue skies, excellent beaches, ample non-golfing activities and good evening entertainment need look no further: the Lisbon Coast of Portugal is for you.
Click here for a map of the Lisbon Golf Coast
|Praia D'El Rey Golf Course
The stunning Lisbon Coast enjoys a warm, dry climate, and, although slightly cooler in winter than the more southerly Algarve, golf is playable all year round. The picturesque courses here are generally quieter and better value for money, and there are currently over twenty high-quality venues to choose from, all within an hour’s drive of the capital Lisbon, one of Europe’s liveliest cities.
We were recently invited by the Lisbon Golf Coast to play three of these lovely courses, and watch the Pros in action at the Estoril Open de Portugal being played at the outstanding coastal Oitavos Dunes course.
Praia D'El Rey
The Cabell B. Robinson-designed Praia D'El Rey layout spectacularly overlooks the Atlantic Ocean less than one hour north of Lisbon and near the medieval town of Óbidos, a world heritage site.
The championship course, rated 13th in Europe by Golf World magazine, is a good mix of parkland and links: while some holes cut through the pine trees, others offer superb sea views, with the stretch of holes 13 to 15, the visual highlight of the course, running right along the natural unspoilt coastline.
No two holes are the same. There are some long par 4s, in particular the 441-yard 5th, where a good drive in the fairway over bushes is essential for a chance to get home in two, but also some very good short par 4s, such as the 300-yard 13th, with its views over the deep blue Atlantic - it may be short, but it's far from easy, with the wind blowing off the ocean and menacing bunkers waiting on the right.
The par 3s are fun, be it the very short 14th (146m off the whites, 75m for the ladies!), a good test of accuracy, the 11th straight uphill to the green, and especially the memorable 8th, from an elevated tee, with water in front and lurking bunkers behind the green.
Several elevated tees make for an interesting round; at the 10th you certainly get the wow! factor as you take in the downhill dogleg hole with the spire-topped hotel and the sea beyond; the fairway is generous, but don't miss it or it will be difficult to get up in three, with the huge lake short of the green on the right and bunkers on the left.
The 17th, perhaps the toughest hole on the course, a par 5 over brush from the men's tee and the excellent 18th are both tight driving holes, and complete a very pleasant round.
Praia del Rey can be quite tiring with its elevation changes and longish walks between green and tee, but it is well worth doing without a buggy to take in the scenery. Deep bunkers and undulating greens pose a challenge, but multiple tee positions make it playable by all, while the ladies are generously treated off the red tees. The natural landscape of sand dunes along the peaceful seafront holes is very relaxing, with the sound of the sea and the wealth of wild flowers to enjoy. These holes are also mercifully construction free - and thanks to a very sensible decision destined to remain so - and the sunsets are magnificent! Thoroughly enjoyable.
Click here for full details of Praia D'El Rey Golf & Beach resort
Bom Sucesso Design Resort, Leisure & Golf
On the spectacular Silver Coast, an hour’s drive from Lisbon Airport, Bom Sucesso is a unique development close to the sea, on the banks of the Óbidos Lagoon.
Dubbed one of the world's most pioneering architectural golf projects, 'innovation with quality' was the goal at Bom Sucesso, harmoniously blending modern architecture and nature to provide luxurious accommodation for golfers wanting to experience this outstanding course.
The villas, townhouses and hotel, designed by some of the world’s leading contemporary architects, will afford fantastic views over the course, the lagoon and sea. There will be greenery on top of most of the buildings including the clubhouse, to help them blend into the landscape, and there will be no artificial fences, only vegetation. At the time of our visit, a lot of construction was still going on but the clubhouse overlooking the 18th should be completed in 2009, and the five star Hotel & Spa next door in 2011. Self-catering accommodation for rent is already available however, and you can enjoy a week’s stay in a stylish two bedroom house for less than a thousand Euros. There will also be a wide range of facilities, some of them opening this summer, and a large nature reserve.
The golf course is the centrepiece of the development and opened last September. An 18-hole championship layout, it is carved through a eucalyptus forest on sloping terrain. The fittest among us might wish to walk it, but a buggy is recommended. The scenery is magnificent, especially at the 17th, with views stretching to the lagoon and mountains to the east and the Atlantic Ocean to the west.
Donald Steel designed the 6811 yard course to be enjoyed by all levels of golfer, so there are forward tees, forgiving rough and generous fairways – some of them bowl-shaped, so that mildly offline shots will roll back to the centre of the landing area.
Memorable holes include the par five second, probably the toughest on the course, a beautiful dogleg with a lake and a narrow approach. The par three third is a mid iron shot over a lake with out-of-bounds right and bunkers at the front, while the uphill 16th, with its sloping green set into a hill-side, makes for a tough third off a steep bank if you get your approach shot wrong.
But the best holes remain the final two. The 17th is a 530 metre dogleg par five with a drive that's daunting off any tee, and some truly spectacular long distance views. The fairway slopes towards a deep ravine on the left – don’t even think of cutting off the dog leg here - and there's a forest on the right and a large bunker centre left. If you reach the corner safely, the third is downhill to a green set on a ledge with a bunker hidden front right.
Having survived 17, you must face the downhill drive of another dogleg at the 18th, with bushes left, a stream across bottom of the fairway and another in front of the green. Two superb finishing holes that will wreck many a promising card!
Whether as a visitor or resident, Bom Sucesso will be a pleasurable experience, the green fees are reasonably priced and there is a wide choice of nearby courses with reciprocal agreements, including Praia D'El Rey, Oitavos, Aroeira, Ribagolfe, Penha Longa, Quinta da Marinha and Troia.
Click here for Bom Sucesso course details
Penha Longa Hotel & Golf Resort
Penha Longa Hotel and Golf Resort is a secluded, elegant, world-class resort sitting in the Sintra Hills, just a 30-minute drive from Lisbon and a few minutes from the historic town of Sintra, with 27 holes of golf.
|View down the 18th fairway at Penha Longa, with the secluded Hotel behind
Close to the 14th century monastery, down scenic steps to the clubhouse and its stylish new restaurant, is the 18-hole championship Atlantic course, while the slightly less demanding 9-hole Monastery course, ideal for guests arriving late afternoon who wish to play a quick round, is situated to the other side of the hotel.
Robert Trent Jones II designed the Atlantic Course, measuring almost 7,000 hilly yards and offering breathtaking views over the Atlantic Ocean, with Estoril and Cascais to the South and the Sintra hills to the North. It is ranked in the top 30 courses in Continental Europe and has played host to numerous tournaments, including the Portuguese Open.
Elevation changes, water hazards, gorse and numerous well-placed bunkers combine to make the Atlantic course a real test – not forgetting the wind up in the exposed hills. At the par three 15th, for example, the wind and the slope can make any ball landing on the front of the green trickle back into the water!
You'll want your A-game here, but do take the time to admire the stunning views, breathe in the pungent smell of eucalyptus and enjoy the lush, peaceful and unspoiled countryside.
Afterwards, relax on the terrace overlooking the beautiful course and plan on doing better the next day, or perhaps investigate another of the five courses which are easily reached from this haven of luxury. And be sure not to miss a visit into historic Sintra while you are here.
Click here for Penha Longa course details
Click here for details of all courses on the Lisbon Coast
WHERE TO STAY
Praia D'El Rey Golf & Beach Resort *****
Av. D. Inês de Castro, 1
Vale de Janelas, 2510-451 Amoreira - Óbidos
Tel: +351 262 905 100
Fax : +351 262 905 101
Contact Form: http://www.praia-del-rey.com/353/contact-us.htm
The award-winning Praia D'El Rey Golf & Beach Resort has a 5 star Marriott Hotel, luxury accommodation with private terraces or balconies overlooking the ocean or the golf course, and year-round sunshine. Set in extensive grounds of pine forest and natural dunes, with breathtaking views over the Atlantic and the Berlenga Islands beyond, the facilities include a world-class spa and a vast range of outdoor activities, with impeccable personalised service by smiling staff.
The resort is somewhat remote – and as a result delightfully tranquil - but all the nocturnal entertainment you could wish for can be found in Cascais, a picturesque old fishing village and now a favourite night spot for Lisbonites.
Click here for Praia D'El Rey Hotel details
As well as the 5 star Marriott, Praia D'El Rey offers stylish self-catering villas and townhouses, an ideal choice for a family holiday, sunshine weekend or a tennis and golf mini break.
With something for everyone, this secluded Resort could be the ideal spot for a relaxing holiday with friends or family, or a more active one if you can tear yourself away from the beach and explore what is still regarded as true face of Portugal. It is also an excellent base for golf with the Golden Eagle, Penha Longa and Oitavos courses about an hour away, and the new Bom Successo close by.
Bom Sucesso Design Resort, Leisure & Golf
Bum Sucesso, Vau Bom
The Five star Hotel & Spa will open in 2011.
Tel: + 351 262 965 310
UK Freephone: 0800 032 4992
Ireland Freephone: 1 800 555 107
Contact Form: http://www.bomsucesso.net/online-enquiry
Self-catering accommodation is already available for rent for holidays or weekends and gives access to all the facilities and services of the resort. The Holiday Design Villas are townhouses and detached villas fully furnished and decorated to a superior quality.
Penha Longa Hotel, Spa & Golf Resort
Penha Longa traces its origins to the 14th century and even has its own monastery, while the palace at Penha Longa was a favorite retreat for the Portuguese royal family in the 16th and 17th centuries. The striking pink hotel nestles in a cork and eucalyptus forest and is reminiscent of a Moorish palace. Its tranquility, natural beauty, top class facilities and numerous outdoor activities make it a most attractive and exclusive retreat.
Penha Longa Hotel, Spa & Golf Resort
Estrada da Lagoa Azul
2714 - 511 Sintra
Tel: +351 219 249 011
Fax: +351 219 249 007
Contact Form: http://www.penhalonga.com/contacts_e.html
Click here for Penha Longa Hotel details
Hotel Cascais Miragem
The elegant 5 star Cascais Miragem has 192 rooms and suites, an exclusive area for meetings and conferences, a beautiful infinity edge pool surrounded by the restaurant and bar areas, a health club (over 3000 square meters), a Zensations Spa with 7 treatment rooms, and private car park.
Hotel Cascais Miragem
Av. Marginal n.8554
Tel: + 351 210 060 600
Fax: + 351 210 060 601
Click here for Hotel Cascais Miragem details
For a wider choice of hotels, please consult the Lisbon Tourist Board (details below).
HOW TO GET THERE
London Gatwick - 5 weekly flights with TAP
London Heathrow - 44 weekly flights with TAP & 21 with British Airways
Bristol - 4 weekly flights with EasyJet
Liverpool - 4 weekly flights with EasyJet
London - Gatwick 7 weekly flights with EasyJet
London Luton - 14 weekly flights with EasyJet
Manchester - 2 weekly flights with bmiBaby
Prices fluctuate with the Euro/Sterling exchange rate, but there is a good choice between regular airlines and low cost carriers.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Turismo de Lisboa -
Visitors & Convention Bureau
Rua do Arsenal, 15
Tel. +351 210 312 700
Fax +351 210 312 899
|Golf Courses on the Lisbon Golf Coast (numbers refer to map below):|
1 Belas Club de Campo
3 Pestana Beloura Golf
4 Golf do Estoril
5 Penha Longa Atlantic
6 Quinta da Marinha
7 Lisbon Sports Club
8 Tróia Golf Championship
9 Clube de Golf Quinta do Perú
10 Clube de Golf do Montado
11 Ribagolf I
12 Ribagolf II
13 Santo Estêvão Golf
14 Clube de campo da Aroeira I
15 Clube de Campo da Aroeira II
16 Praia D'El Rey G&C Club
17 Clube de Golf Golden Eagle
18 Westin Campo Real
19 Campo de Golf Bom Sucesso
20 Clube de Golf do Botado
21 Golf do Vimeiro
22 Aldeia dos Capuchos
23 Campo de Golf da Belavista
24 Clube de Golf Paço do Lumiar
Photo credits: © Bom Sucesso Design Resort - GolfToday
Map courtesy of Turismo de Lisboa ©CLiPARTE www.cliparte.pt