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The best golf courses between Vilamoura, Quinta do Lago & Vale do Lobo.

Vilamoura Victoria 17th

Vilamoura - Victoria  Architect: A. Palmer (2004)  18 holes: 6,505m: Par 72.

The latest addition to the Vilamoura golf resort - and probably the toughest challenge of all.  Across fairly open terrain, Mr. Palmer has created a visual masterpiece with beautifully crafted water hazards cascading around the course.

Oceanico - Vilamoura Old
Vilamoura - Old  Architect: F. Pennink.  18 holes: 6,254 m: Par 73.

The first course built at Vilamoura in 1969 and extensively upgraded in 1997. The overwhelming feature of the course is the umbrella pines, which line almost every one of the tight testing fairways, and only one water hazard. Exemplary standards of greenkeeping and comfortable modern Clubhouse.

Oceanico - Vilamoura Pinhal
Vilamoura - Pinhal  Architect: F. Pennink.  18 holes: 6,353m: Par 72.

Very similar in style to the “Old” but one immediately senses a little more room between the pines on the generally broader flatter fairways. The course extends over a large area between holiday villas that split the course into three sections. Water only comes into play on the two furthest holes. A very pretty course with another fine Clubhouse.

Oceanico - Vilamoura Millennium
Vilamoura - Millennium  Architect: M. Hawtree.  18 holes: 6,157m: Par 72.

Sharing the same Clubhouse with the Laguna course the Millennium seems to bridge the old and the new in Vilamoura. Some holes are in the traditional Algarvian mode, meandering through the towering pines, the others much more open in style with water (and whatever wind is abroad) coming into play towards the close.

Oceanico - Vilamoura Laguna
Vilamoura - Laguna  Architect: J. Lee & R. Rocquemore. 18 holes: 6,111m: Par 72.

Intertwined with the Millennium the Laguna course contrasts markedly with all the other pine-lined courses. Not for the aquaphobic, with water very present on eleven holes. The course plays out in the broad sunlight, over hummocks and hollows; this is a thought-provoking layout, where placement of the ball off the Tee is a necessity to ensure a successful round.

San Lorenzo golf course

San Lorenzo Architect: J. Lee.  18 holes: 6,238m: Par 72.

One of the most exclusive courses on the Algarve, realistically playable only by residents at the Dona Filipa hotel. The course begins in traditional Algarvian style under the spreading parasol pines. These soon give way to the visually stunning central and closing sections that run through the nature reserve of the Ria Formosa bordering the coast. Indubitably one of the finest courses on the Algarve.

Vale do Lobo - Royal
Vale do Lobo – Royal Architect: H. Cotton. 18 holes: 6,059m: Par 72.

A very challenging course renowned for its cliff-top 16th hole – which is truly spectacular. The other seventeen holes however are more characterised by pines and dazzling white sands, with occasional outcrops of gnarled fig trees. Almost every shot is a visual delight.

Vale do Lobo - Ocean
Vale do Lobo – Ocean Architect: R. Rocquemore. 18 holes: 5,815m: Par 72.

A front nine that is not as ensconced in pines as the Royal including a couple of holes that break out of the resort onto the sands by the ocean. The back nine is a real treat that will have you lingering over your approaches into magnificent green placements amidst the tortured trunks of ancient olives and shade-spreading pines.

Quinta do Lago North golf course

Quinta do Lago – North
Architects: R. Rocquemore (1986) & P. McGinley (2014).  18 holes: 6,205m: Par 72.

Classic Algarvian golf as you pick your way through parasol pines, ice-white sands and past exotic looking villas  The recent overhaul by Paul McGinley has dramatically changed the course, eliminating many of the dog-legs and blind shots into Greens: it is now a much fairer and more enjoyable course.  The first Tee is a little way from the Clubhouse and there are some walks from Green to Tee so a buggy is well worth considering.

Quinta do Lago South golf course
Quinta do Lago – South Architect: W. Mitchell. 18 holes: 6,488m: Par 72.

Very similar to the North course in terms of terrain, however the holes that will linger longest are the closing holes where you head down to criss-cross the lakes over some very testing holes, quite a finish!. One of the longer courses, so hope (pray) that your driver is behaving.

Pinheiros Altos

Pinheiros Altos  Architect: R. Fream. 18 holes: 6,057m: Par 71.

Two very contrasting nines: the front nine is quite tight and demands a degree of control to safely negotiate the hills and dog-legs; the back nine is flatter and water comes into play – frequently. Beautifully incorporated into the course design, these water hazards are a visual dream and a golfing nightmare! The climax of the 17th and 18th is unforgettable.

Vila Sol golf course

Vila Sol
Architect: D. Steel.
3 x 9 holes: 6,335m: Par 72.
Ostensibly level terrain with a few elevated Tees and Greens here and there, Vila Sol feels as if the landscape has naturally dictated the course with the architect adding a few finishing touches here and there rather than huge earth moving exercises. Three loops of 9 holes, combined into three 18 holes courses each day, adds to the variety.

Other courses to consider:-

East of Faro there are some very interesting new golf developments at Monte Rei, Quinta da Ria and Quinta de Cima and also at Castro Marim, not forgetting Islantilla over the border into Spain.
Heading further West,
Penina and the other courses of the western Algarve are easily reachable for a day’s golf.