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Where to Stay: Vale do Lobo Resort
Just a 20-minute drive west from Faro airport you will find the Vale do Lobo Resort, the largest in the Algarve. The Vale do Lobo Royal Course sits at the very heart of the resort and is very well maintained. Year-round you will find both fairways, tee-boxes, and greens always in excellent condition.
The fairways are gently undulating, especially through the back nine holes, which are the latest additions to the course, having been added in the late 1990s. The Royal course is surrounded by pine trees, with lakes and wildflowers, making for a very pleasant setting. However, do not let the backdrop lull you into a false sense of security, as playing the course is far from being a stroll in the park.
The Vale do Lobo Royal Course hosted the 2003 Portuguese Open and therefore, players can expect a good test of their golfing ability. The length of the course, 6,166 yards is by no means the longest. The majority of visitors here will have played longer courses and has more length than the Ocean Course. There is an extensive collection of water hazards and bunkers, which must be avoided in order to record a low score. The rough on the Royal Course, is also tough and unforgiving, making accuracy off the tee absolutely crucial.
Stand out holes on the Royal Course, including the 9th, with the almost island green. The 16th, which is often used as the image to advertise Algarve golf around the world. Measuring at 224 yards from the back tees, the 16th is the signature hole and requires a tee shot, over three spectacular cliffs, to reach the green. However, with a narrow fairway and tricky green, the 18th hole is a real challenge, so concentration is paramount until the final putt has been made.