‘Birdie’, ‘eagle’ and ‘bogey’ are all familiar terms which one can expect to hear ringing across the gentle hills of the Algarve. The reason being that the Algarve is a destination frequented by golfing enthusiasts who travel from far and wide to sample the green of the regions outstanding golf courses. For many the Algarve is a golfer’s paradise, and it isn’t hard to understand why…
But what really separates the Algarve from any would-be-pretender is the quantity and quality of the golfing that is available out there. The Algarve is the home-away-from for professionals as the region regularly hosts numerous world leading international tournaments and competitions. Incredibly, there are over forty courses laid across thirty-five golf clubs, ranging from 9-hole courses all the way to 18 holes. Much to the benefit of golfing enthusiasts the majority of courses can be found dotted along the picturesque cliffs of a sun-drenched coastline, commanding impressive sea views. While the rest are located a short distance inland where they are nestled among the rolling hillsides of the Algarve. Golf courses are an instantly recognisable feature of the Algarve countryside, made distinguishable for being a verdant, lush oasis of playing green amidst the typical arid countryside of the Algarve.
Algarve Golf Courses
So without further ado here is the run down of our top Algarve golf courses.
It is nearly impossible to imagine today, but until 1966, golfing and golf courses had not even graced the Algarve but that all that was to change when legendary golfer Sir Henry Cotton laid out the Championship course at Penina. Now, 50 years later, the region is a premier location in Europe, tantamount with golfing and never far from the minds of ardent golfers. Unsurprisingly, the Algarve is of par excellence and more often than not, a poll-topping golf destination – But don’t take my word for it, find out for yourself as the proof is in the putting.
It is a challenge in itself to single out a single resort for recommendation, especially as so many are worthy of note, but next on our list of top Algarve golf courses is the hightly-esteemed and internationally known Vale do Lobo course. The renowned Vale do Lobo commands a reputation for being home to two of what some would describe as being the finest golf courses in the Algarve, the Royal and the Ocean. An honour earned by twice hosting the Portuguese Open in 2002 and 2003. The courses themselves are characterised with umbrella pine and fig tree lined fairways which leading Royal patrons to play upon the lush green ‘16th’ course elevated along the sea-facing cliffs, while Ocean patrons are directed towards the sandy beach below.
Rates and Dates
Sir Henry Cotton Championship Course
The ten time Portuguese Open course is open to golfers of all levels and abilities, ranging from beginners and intermediates through to professionals. There are rates for both residential and non-residential golfers as well as academy – all of which are ready to take your bookings (Summer 2016). One need not worry about the seasons either, as The Par 73 is open all-year round.
The Academy Course is advised for intermediate level and is ideal for golfers with 9-hole experience. Prices are based on two people and cost in the region of €30-€60 depending on the duration you choose.
Royal Golf Course
The internationally renowned Royal Golf Course boasts both 18 and 9 hole courses, the latter of which would be suggested for intermediate golfers and those looking to enhance their game over the course of their golf holiday. Visitors to the course can expect to pay green fees of €95 for 9 holes. Buggies and trolleys are also available at an additional cost.
Ocean Golf Course
Last but not lease is Vale do Lobo’s second golf course, the Ocean Golf Course. Similarly to The Royal, buggies and trolleys are available upon payment of a deposit. Visitor rates for the 9 hole course start from €90, while 18 holes is €180.
Whether you choose the Royal or the Ocean golf course there are additional golf packages available no matter the season.
Both these superb courses are located in the heart of Vale do Lobo and is just 20 minutes’ drive from Faro Airport.
After a long day practising that swing (and before your back succumbs to the backache) guests should take time to explore the Vale do Lobo, or what has become known as the ‘Golf Coast’. Famed for its beaches, marinas and of course its golf courses the resort has everything you would need to complete your luxury golf holiday.
The first port of call has to be Vilamora Marina, between Albufeira and Faro. Home to not just sleek yachts and formidable ocean-going liners, the lively marina is complete with high-end waterfront restaurants and elegant cocktail bars. For those in search of something equally as charming but a little more removed, visitors should venture south to the quaint seaside village of Alvor. The age-old village has retained much of its charm and original Moorish architecture with visitors charmed by the old town and idyllic harbour. A wander along the winding streets reveal a plethora of bars and eating establishments which are sure to cater for all tastes. Nearby there are rolling dunes and pristine Blue Flag beaches.
Where to Stay?
But now you know what to expect and what this corner of the Algarve has to offer the question remains what hotel offers you access to all these wonderful golfing attractions? Well, the answer is simple, the Ria Park Hotel & Spa, in Quinta do Lago, is ideally located for numerous golf courses including the before mentioned resort of Vale do Lobo, as well as Vilamoura. The hotel itself is idyllically set within a beautifully landscaped gardens and located within an area of outstanding natural beauty, including the pleasant Ria Formosa Nature reserve and is only a stone’s throw from Garrao beach.
Inside the hotel you are greeted by an elegantly furnished reception area that directs you to a charming bar, before leading you back outside to an impressive swimming pool surrounded by mature botanical gardens. Guest rooms and suites are generously proportioned, while ocean view rooms offer unrivalled views over the nature reserve and Atlantic Ocean. But to make your stay as irresistibly relaxing as possible guests can enjoy the hotel’s very own spa centre which comes complete with a swimming pool, steam room, Jacuzzi and fully equipped fitness room.
So, tee off your next golfing holiday with a sophisticated and relaxing stay at the Ria Park Hotel & Spa, courtesy of Classic Collection Holidays. Or combine your golf trip with a relaxing stay in our recommended 5 star spa hotels in the Algarve.