There is no shortage of top quality golf close to Portugal’s bustling capital. Here is our selection of those around Lisbon.
The Portuguese Riviera
A few kilometers along the west coast of Lisbon are the luxurious places of pleasure of the former Portuguese royalty and their well-heeled friends. The towns of Estoril, Cascais and Sintra are full of castles and palaces. This area is home to luxury hotels, a casino and is also home to some of the best courses Portugal has to offer.
Oitavos Dunes is a links course that makes the most of its rugged natural surroundings. It is located among pine forests and reforested dunes in the beautiful Sintra-Cascais Natural Park, an area of outstanding natural beauty. With the Atlantic on its doorstep, it offers spectacular ocean views. Generous fairways, deep bunkers and a challenging layout make golf here a memorable experience. This course was designed by Arthur Hills and has been ranked in the Top 100 Golf Courses by Golf Magazine and is consistently ranked among the best that Portugal has to offer.
Quinta da Marinha
A Robert Trent Jones design, Quinta da Marinha is a par-71 course that measures 6,350 yards and is a real treat. Notable for its beautiful views of the Atlantic and the Sintra Mountains, the course features numerous tees and elevated greens, adding to an already challenging design. Golfers should also be aware of the many bunkers and water hazards that act as natural defenses for the course, typical of a Trent Jones design. The 3rd hole at Quinta da Marinha is definitely his signature hole. A par 4 with the most incredible view of the Atlantic Ocean, it has been used to promote golf in Portugal.
Golf do Estoril is one of the oldest golf courses in Portugal and has hosted the Portuguese Open and Amateur Championships on several occasions. It is located in one of Europe’s most revered tourist resorts and offers magnificent views of the Atlantic. This masterpiece of a golf course was designed by Mackenzie Ross and he made good use of the surrounding pine and eucalyptus trees. Although short at 5,808 yards, it demands excellent accuracy as there is rough terrain with narrow fairways.
Belas Clube de Campo
Designed by the famous William “Rocky” Roquemore, Belas Clube de Campo Golf Club is set in the beauty of the Carregueira Mountains and is a 30 minute drive from Lisbon. It has been seamlessly integrated into the country club residential development of villas spread across the hills and has fantastic views of the mountains and valleys beyond. Several fairways and greens are located in deep valleys and offer unforgettable panoramic views.
The Atlantic Championship course at Penha Longa is designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr.. The course takes advantage of the steeply sloping terrain and excellent views of the surrounding landscape. Six of the holes are located in the valley, while the other holes have been built on a hill offering beautiful views over the Sintra hills.
It has hosted the Portuguese Open three times (1994, 1995 and 2010) as well as the Estoril Open in 1999. Regularly ranked in the top five Portuguese courses, if you are planning a golfing holiday in Lisbon, this course is definitely one to play.
A little further north along the highway from the airport is a nice little group of courses that should be on everyone’s wish list.
Royal Obidos is a modern design by the legendary Seve Ballesteros, who sadly passed away before he saw this beautiful layout come to fruition. The course features lagoons on many holes making it a true risk/reward course. Make sure you pack plenty of balls!
El Rey Beach
Golf World Magazine voted Praia D’El Rey the third best course in Portugal – that’s high praise indeed. Large bunkers protect perfectly manicured greens of all shapes and sizes. The stretch of holes from 12 to 15 runs along the seafront and offers great views of the coast. The 17 is a monstrous uphill par 5, measuring over 620 yards. Extreme precision is required throughout this course, especially when the Atlantic breeze picks up.
Barely five years old but already established as one of the best Portugal has to offer, this Cynthia Dye design is beautiful and in places devilishly difficult, the key to a pleasant ride is to listen to the starter’s advice when it comes to the selection of tee boxes. Do that and you’ll find the fairways generous and appreciate what a fabulous course it is.
Over the Tagus River, the highway leads to even more glorious courses located just 45 minutes drive from the capital at the two-course resort of Aroeira and the nearby 36-hole Ribagolfe.
Aroeira Pines Classic & Aroeira Challenge
Both courses weave through pine forests flanked by plenty of expensive private property, and they’re relatively easygoing if you can manage to cut to the chase. The original, the Pines Classic, is well established and although the Challenge is more visually appealing, both make excellent golf vacations in an established location.
Ribagolfe lakes and Ribagolfe oaks
A short drive away is Ribagolfe, which offers a complete contrast to the pine trees of Aroeira’s two courses. Much more open, they meander through the cork oaks on slightly hilly ground. The Lacs course in particular is a good test of golf and the best players will appreciate the difficulty of the first holes.
For full details of all the hotels and courses featured here, visit our golf travel partner www.golfbreaks.com
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