Completed and underway in Comporta

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Golf on Portugal's Alentejo coast.
Posted on
June 1, 2024
Robert Green in ,
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

At the beginning of last month, I spent some 36 hours in Portugal near a village called Comporta, about 75 miles south of Lisbon. It is a coming holiday destination and it’s likely it will increasingly become more of one, not least because of golf. It already has one course and by next summer a second should be in full swing.

I will start with the excellent existing one, the Dunas Course at Terras da Comporta. Designed by David McLay Kidd (Bandon Dunes, the Castle Course at St Andrews, Queenwood), it is in parts reminiscent of Pinehurst #2, where the US Open will be played later this month. Perhaps even of Pine Valley. Don’t just accept my opinion as to its quality. It was named the world’s best new course 2023 by World Golf Awards; Leading Courses recently rated it the best course in Portugal; and it was the first course to go straight into the top-10 in the Today’s Golfer ranking of the top-100 courses in continental Europe. The photo here is of the tumbling par-four 13th hole.

Dunas Course at Terras da Comporta, 13th hole

It is not only a wonderful golf course, it has been set up to cater for players of all abilities. There are six tees on every hole so that it can provide a stimulating par-71 test for the professional as well as for the neophyte. From the tips it measures 7268 yards. From the newbie tees, it’s 4207 yards. My guide round the course was Rodrigo Ulrich, who is in charge of the golf business of the owners, Vanguard Properties. He is the golf director both at Dunas and of the new property, Comporta Torre (named after the village which is close by), on which nine holes may be given a ‘soft opening’ this autumn.

In its original guise, the Torre site represented the Portuguese bid for the 2018 Ryder Cup which eventually went to Paris. The design has since been substantially altered under the direction of Sergio Garcia. As at Dunas (and Pinehurst, and Pine Valley) there will be a lot of waste areas (or ‘sandscapes’) – areas of sand which are not bunkers, meaning that you may ground your club. And as at Dunas, but unlike most comparatively new resort courses in Portugal, there will be no water hazards. The opening hole on this par-72 layout will be a par-four of around 400 yards. The green will be located between the two trees shown in the foreground of this photo.

Comporta Torre, 1st hole

The Alentejo coast, where these courses are, boasts one of the most comprehensive active and ancient systems of sand dunes in the whole of Europe. Integral to Vanguard’s operation is that its projects are “developed in an ethically responsible way that respects the environment and the community in which they are built”. The latter project has liaised with the GEO Foundation for Sustainable Golf in order to create a course which melds into the indigenous character of the terrain, allowing nature to flourish and the golfer to enjoy an outstanding experience.

Of course, as always, how well (or not) you play will be affect the quality of your experience. But it’s surely better to have an off day on a course offering these views than on a rainy day at an urban muni?


You can follow Robert Green on Twitter @robrtgreen and enjoy his other blog

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About Robert Green

Robert Green is a former editor of Golf World and Golf International magazines and the author of four books on golf, including Seve: Golf’s Flawed Genius. He has played golf on more than 450 courses around the world, occasionally acceptably.

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