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The Ultimate Guide to the Best 9 Holes of Golf in Portugal

Have you ever wondered what the best 9 holes in Portugal would look like?

We have come up with our fantasy 9 holes across the whole of the country which would make up our most epic golf course. We have picked links style holes from the Silver coast, Scenic pictures perfect holes from Lisbon region and some absolute stunners from the Algarve. Combined together to make a fantasy 9 hole course with a par of 36 that would test the very best golfers in the world. We have started with a Par 3 which is unusual for a new course design, But hey we like to do things a bit different at 360 Golf Holidays.

See what you think of our ultimate golf course in Portugal, These are all courses in which you can play yourself on your next Portugal golf holiday

Our Fantasy Portugal 9 golf Golf Course Scorecard

Our Hole

1st

2nd

3rd

4th

5th

6th

7th

8th

9th

Total

Golf Course

Monte Rei

Oitavos Dunes

Quinta do Lago South

Praia D’el Rey

San Lorenzo

Penha Longa

Dom Pedro Victoria

Vale do Lobo Royal

Penina Championship

 

Actual Hole

14th

4th

16th

13th

6th

6th

17th

17th

7th

 

Par

3

4

4

4

4

5

5

3

4

36

Yards

181

442

406

312

386

442

556

235

339

3299

Score

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monte Rei Golf and Country Club

Best Golf Course in Portugal | Monte Rei | 360 Golf Holidays

East Algarve

HOLE 1 – 14th Hole – Par 3 – 181 Yards

The fourteenth Par 3 is a true gem, water surrounds the hole’s left-hand side and a bunker catches shots that are miss-hit long and right. Take aim for the green’s more generous front third, leaving you with two puts for your par. Make sure you check the wind conditions before teeing off here as they certainly will have a factor in club choice.

Monte Rei golf club has rapidly taken the title of No.1 course in Portugal, a fairly new course.

Nestled between the picturesque foothills of the Eastern Algarve, the Monte Rei Golf and Country Club is a sanctuary of peace and tranquillity, the jewel in the crown of Golf in Portugal. This Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course has been a challenge to players of all skills and handicaps from around the world since 2007.

Set against the background of the Serra do Caldeirão Mountains to the north and the Atlantic Ocean to the south, the 7182 yard, par 72 course blends seamlessly with the surrounding terrain.

Having already identified the North Course as Portugal’s best course, Monte Rei will continue to work on its South Course in 2020/2021, another Jack Nicklaus Signature Course 18 hole. Solidifying its position at the top of European golf resorts, Monte Rei will have two Jack Nicklaus Signature courses just one of an exclusive list of clubs worldwide.

Oitavos Dunes

Best Golf Course in Portugal  | Oitavos Dunes | 360 Golf Holidays

Cascais, Lisbon Region

HOLE 2 – 5th Hole – Par 4 – 442 Yards

The fifth is a long par-four and tends to play into the wind. The landing area is roomy but there are several bunkers in play. Admire the scenery over the Sintra mountains and the Atlantic Ocean. A smaller size green, in true Links style, encourages a running approach shot. Maybe not the signature hole at Oitavos but one of the prettiest holes in Portugal and one that requires imaginative golf shots and who doesn’t enjoy playing links style shots? 

Held tightly against the beautiful Sintra-Cascais Natural Reserve, the golf course of Oitavos Dunes is part of the Quinta da Marinha resort, a five-star resort in the popular Cascais Region.

The course was constructed for the Champalimaud family, who owned the property for over 100 years, engineered by American Arthur Hills, and opened for play in 2001.

A true roller coaster from start to finish, Oitavos Dunes has done well to draw global recognition and praise in its short existence and is always considered to be one of the best golf courses in Portugal.

The views of the sea and the mountains are magnificent, and the course is recommended for its enjoyable central holes and surrounding charm.

Hosting four Portuguese Opens, as well as the 2019 Golf Sixes. Oitavos Dunes has continued to go from strength to strength and a must-play golf course in the Cascais region. 

Quinta do Lago 

Best Golf Course in Portugal | Quinta do Lago

Algarve

HOLE 3 – 16th Hole South Course – Par 4 – 406 Yards

A fantastic hole that runs parallel to the lake, you need to take aim at the right-hand side of the fairway which is guarded by the tall umbrella pines. this will give you the best opportunity to attack this tricky green. The green is guarded tightly by two large bunkers the right hand one is a must miss and aiming for the central part of the green is the sensible play here and two putts will secure a tough par.

Official Rankings will tell you that the South course is the best of the three Quinta do Lago Golf courses, Maybe most would agree. Our personal favourite of the three is Laranjal, Yet the North is an absolute delight to play also. Whichever course you decide on, there is no shadow of a doubt that Quinta do Lago operate three of the finest golf courses in Europe. 

Quinta do Lago has everything in a golf break you might want, and more. Encircled by 2,000 acres of the picturesque natural park of the Ria Formosa, all three championship courses are set in naturally beautiful areas.

The South Course opened for play in 1974 and remains Quinta do Lago’s crown jewel. It is the work of American architect William Mitchell whose stereotypical American tees and bunkers acquired immediate credibility and global recognition and has been home to numerous Portuguese Opens.

Beau Welling and Paul McGinley, whose state-of-the-art Academy is also on-site, redesigned the North course in 2014, as is the TaylorMade performance Centre.

Laranjal lies two kilometres to the east of the resort. To find it, you may need to negotiate a few narrow lanes but it’s an absolute gem and our pick of the bunch. 

Praia D’el Rey 

Best Golf Course in Portugal | Praia D'el Rey | 360 Golf Holidays

Silver Coast, Obidos 

HOLE 4 – 13th Hole South Course – Par 4 – 312 Yards

The 13th is a beautiful short par 4 with a roaring ocean into your left. The hole plays into the prevailing wind and the narrow green is undulating and continues to run into caverns in the surrounding area, but it is less than 300 yards off daily tees and is a good possibility for a birdie. The green is drivable but a long iron from the tee is the rational and reasonable play to find the perfect position to get to this green and close to the pin.

Located an hour’s drive north of Lisbon, along the Atlantic coast, you will find Praia d’El Rey – one of the best golf courses in Portugal. It’s a unique course in that it’s both parkland and links.

A true links golf course integrates with several holes hugging the Atlantic Ocean and many dunes comparable to Royal St George’s or Princes. 

Cabell B. Robinson engineered a spectacular 18-hole succession, enriched by an elaborate mesh of deep bunkers, slanted greens, and sandy dunes, in striking contrast to lush fairways and luscious pine woods.

In 2017 Cynthia Dye opened up neighbouring West Cliffs Golf Links which has done nothing but enrich Praia D’el Rey as a tremendous golfing destination.

The Silver coast was always more well established as a region for fine surf. If you are looking for excellent golf in a more laid back environment then please do give Praia D’el Rey a try.

San Lorenzo

Best Golf Course in Portugal | San Lorenzo | 360 Golf Holidays

Algarve

HOLE 5 – 6th Hole – Par 4 – 386 Yards

The 13th is a beautiful short par 4 with a roaring ocean into your left. The hole plays into the prevailing wind and the narrow green is undulating and continues to run into caverns in the surrounding area, but it is less than 300 yards off daily tees and is a good possibility for a birdie. The green is drivable but a long iron from the tee is the rational and reasonable play to find the perfect position to get to this green and close to the pin.

San Lorenzo opened in 1988 to play and has since been a very much adored and well-respected golf course in the Algarve. By far the most attractive element attributed to this course is the way it blends into the area’s natural environment.

Located in the beautiful location of the Ria Formosa nature park. Fauna and flora are sumptuous. The course involves a full variety of holes. The front nine leads to a fantastic run on the lagoon that really requires shots of precision to keep out of the water and off of the beach which is not deemed out of bounds. 

The course was designed by the American golf designer Joseph Lee, and the beautiful Bermuda grass fairways offer perfect conditions for play. You are always welcomed with a warm greeting upon arrival to San Lorenzo and it is almost a custom to participate in a friendly pre-round ‘Medronho’ with Antonio who has been the director for many years at San Lorenzo. 

Penha Longa Atlantic Course

Best Golf Course in Portugal | Penha Longa | 360 Golf Holidays

Sinta, Lisbon region 

HOLE 6 – 6th Hole – Par 5 – 442 Yards

The signature hole of Penha Longa is listed in the world’s top 500 holes. As part of its surrounding environment, this magnificent par 5 has a Roman aqueduct. All through-hole there are many spacious bunkers, and a large lake quietly awaits to the left of the green. There is a good opportunity to knock the ball on in two on this short par 5. Setting up a great birdie chance.

Penha Longa is a formidable golf course created by Robert Trent Jones Jnr.

Tucked away high up in the hills of Sintra, this former site of an ancient monastery now has two challenging courses (the Monastery and the Atlantic) that celebrate in the distance incredible views of the Estoril and Sintra coast. This is perceived as one of the European Tour ‘s best courses.

The Atlantic course is a significant challenge, even on a calm day, but the course will become a real test once the wind catches and blows across the Sintra mountains. So much so that only one golfer managed to record a score under par in the 99 Estoril Open.

At Penha Longa, we cannot pinpoint a weak hole. The course offers some of the finest vistas in the whole of Europe.

Dom Pedro Victoria Course

Vilamoura, Algarve

Best Golf Course in Portugal | Dom Pedro Victoria | 360 Golf Holidays

HOLE 7 – 17th Hole – Par 5 – 556 Yards

The signature hole was chosen by Arnold Palmer and is in fact the longest hole on the course. Make sure that you miss the right side where several waterfalls and lakes will eliminate any chance of par. A real 3 shot par five as the approach to the green is also protected with water. A stunning looking hole but played wildly will be costly to any scorecard.

Dom Pedro Victoria opened for play after a multi-million – pound investment in 2004. Designed by the great Arnold Palmer  It was the fifth course to be added to the Vilamoura portfolio. A sure sign of Victoria’s quality is the fact that it adeptly hosted the 2005 WGC World Cup, an event that saw Stephen Dodd and Bradley Dredge’s Welsh team win.

Not just that but the inaugural Portugal Masters tournament was challenged on the Victoria course in 2007 and has since returned annually. Oliver Fisher recorded a round of 59 strokes in 2018, which still represents the course record today.

The Victoria course can be stretched from the Championship tees to 7,100 and is speckled with several large man-made lakes that are a significant threat, creating a beautiful contrast to the crystal white swaths of sand bunkering that watch over the greens.

This is an impressive test that can humble even the most capable golfer and is an essential part of any golfing adventure to Vilamoura.

Vale do Lobo Royal Course

Best Golf Course in Portugal | Vale do Lobo Royal Course | 360 Golf Holidays

Vale do Lobo, Algarve

HOLE 8 – 17th Hole – Par 3 – 235 Yards

The whole that optimizes golf in the Algarve. Our favorite hole is the 16th on the Royal, which if the wind is against it must be one of the most challenging shots in the world. From the back tees you can be hitting driver on a windy day over the cliffs, So pick your tees wisely. If playing from the blacks the safe miss is long right, However, par here from any tee position is a great score.

The Vale do Lobo Royal Golf Course, which opened in 1997, was designed by top American golf architect William “Rocky” Roquemore based on Sir Henry Cotton’s original designs. Regarded as among the most prestigious golf courses in Portugal, its characteristics include the almost island green of the 9th and the iconic 16th, with cliff-top carry over one of Europe’s most photographed holes.

No Trip to the Algarve is complete without a visit to Vale do Lobo. 

Rocky famously once quoted

“We have combined Sir Henry Cotton’s first and last design and created a timeless course. We have blended the ideas of the original course with the new course by following a train of thought evident in his designs” 

With the neighbouring Vale do Lobo Ocean course to play alongside the Royal and located in one of the most attractive regions of the Algarve. Vale do Lobo has been and will always remain a staple of any budding golfer looking to play golf on the Golden Coast. 

Penina Golf Course

Best Golf Course in Portugal | Penina Golf Resort | 360 Golf Holidays

Alvor Region, Algarve

HOLE 9 – 7th Hole – Par 4 – 339 Yards

A classic hole, a short par 4 by modern-day standards but one that highlights the brilliance in Henry Cottons hazard placement. A ditch runs through the fairway at 230 yards meaning a carry of 250 + is required through a tight treelined fairway in order to get close to the green. Play sensible and thread your 200-yard club down the fairway. This will leave you a short iron to a well bunker guarded green that has very subtle undulations. A real classic golf hole.

The Sir Henry Cotton Penina Championship course is a masterpiece and the course that he wished to be remembered by. Unlike the majority of golf courses on the Algarve. The Championship golf course is relatively flat and more of a parkland layout in which you might find in Surrey.

The Design of the course is simply flawless, with expertly placed bunkering and examples of golf course design from the golden age of mapping out courses. The moment you approach the Penina Resort, you will realise you entering the history of golf in Portugal.

Everything tells something from the Hotel to the Clubhouse. The course itself is not difficult compared to modern-day designs, But a thoughtful one that makes you think about every golf shot.

The course is always kept in ideal conditions, and yet due to the tree lines surrounding the holes, you must hit straight if you want to score well. 

Dom Pedro Old Course

Vilamoura, Algarve

Play-Off Hole – 17th Hole – Par 4 – 386 Yards

One of our favourite golf holes. The 17th is a great dogleg par 4 that requires a precise shot to just right of the two fairway bunkers, the bigger hitters will be able to carry these and set up an easier approach. This is a great risk and reward hole to decide your game on our fantasy 9 holes of Portugal.

English architect Frank Pennink was welcomed to design the very first course on the newly developed luxury development Vilamoura in 1969. The recently opened Faro airport and the first major tourism explosion in the Algarve meant that after many decades of financial instability this was a fantastic time of exuberance.

Well, the Vilamoura area has never looked back and has grown to the most widely known golf tourist spot in Europe. The Old Course Vilamoura was the Algarve ‘s third golf course after Penina and Vale do Lobo both developed by the great Sir Henry Cotton.

Pennink was given the brief to make a championship course the quality of the better Surrey or Berkshire courses and was given a paragliding pine forest, a few miles back from the sea, where to do it.

The plot was distinguished by a ridge – a spine – running through its centre as if it had been transplanted from Gleneagles’ King’s course, Frank Pennink made sure he made the most of it. And legacy was created creating a layout that was very testing and beautifully crafted.

A course made to stand the test of time, and over the years it has only improved and improved in our opinion.

Play the Best Golf Courses in Portugal on your next Golf Holiday

For a little over four decades, we have been travelling to Golf’s Golden Coast for our annual golf holidays. And whilst the golf in the Algarve is still the most popular region for short golf breaks, there are some truly incredible Portugal golf courses.

Golf in Lisbon in recent years has seen a huge boost to golf travel as has the Silver coast which has for many years been more popular with the surfing community.

We have to thank Sir Henry Cotton, primarily for taking the wonderful game of golf to the Algarve, and for many years Mr. Cotton held court at his beloved Penina with his companion Pacifico, a donkey purchased in the Monchique hills and trained to carry his golf bag.

Had Sir Henry Cotton not have realised incredible potential Portugal possessed to act as the heavyweight golfing destination of Europe, then we doubt it would have the prestige in which it has in modern times. 

In 2020 you can now play golf courses all over designed by the likes of Jack Nicklaus, Cynthia Dye, Robert Trent Jones, Author Hills, Frank Pennink, and Martin Hawtree.