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On the sandy soils of the Cascais hinterland. Oitavos Dunes is a smouldering beauty, waiting on the rocky coastline like a Siren to passing golfers. This links style course is undoubtedly one of the finest courses in Portugal: we would say Europe.Penha Longa Architect: Robert Trent Jones Jr. 18 holes: 6,290m: par 72.
Hand a tract of virgin bush (and a large budget) to Mr. Trent Jones and it is not surprising that he has created another visual masterpiece. Stunning scenes of neatly groomed fairways, closely cropped bunkers and distant Greens. An absolute must (as is a buggy for most!).Quinta da Marinha Architect: Robert Trent Jones Jr. 18 holes: 5,845m: par 71.
A classical Portuguese design with intricately shaped bunkers and dense rows of Parasol Pines lining every hole. Here and there on the back nine there are glimpses of the Atlantic, elsewhere some generous water hazards and teasingly borrowed Greens will keep you entertained. A reasonably level course for walkers, although buggies are in good supply should you require it. The old colonial style Clubhouse has now been replaced with a modern two-storey affair, in keeping with the new Onyria hotel and villas that surround it.Belas Clube de Campo Architect: R. Roquemore. 18 holes: 6,380m: par 72.
The first five holes run through wild open country, then the course takes on a more “residential” connotation. However all of the building work is now completed and the houses are neat and tidy, so there is little intrusion into your game. Length is not paramount off the Tee: position vital. Quite a few long walks between Greens and Tees over hilly terrain, however there are plenty of buggies available.
Estoril is another member of the Portuguese “Old School”. A fine course that swoops through the pine, mimosa and eucalyptus clad hills just behind Estoril. Twenty times host to the Portuguese Open, the course has seen its fair share of drama. Although now split into two sections by a road, Estoril retains most of its peaceful nature and olde worlde charm.Quiinta da Beloura Architect: Rocky Roquemore. 18 holes: 5,774m: par 73.
A very approachable course, where pars fours are always reachable in two and par fives provide some birdie opportunities. This is a fair course that twists and turns amongst brightly coloured houses that are never intrusive in your game; what is intrusive sadly is the motorway that now cuts through the course. That apart, Beloura provides a relaxed, well rounded game of golf.Lisbon Sports Club Architect: Hawtree & Son. 18 holes: 5,233m: par 69.
A step back in time to the first Golf Club to be created in Portugal. As one might imagine, a course of this vintage is fairly short by today’s standards, but a great fun course, where the hills and valleys have dictated the layout of these fairly tightly-knit holes.
Praia d'el Rey, Royal Obidos, Golden Eagle, Troia, Ribagolf, Quinta do Peru and Aroeira.
3 nights at Onyria Marinha****
5 nights at the Baia Hotel*** in Cascais