5 Fantastic Courses in Portugal, the ideal golf destination

The Oceanico Faldo course is just one of many excellent layouts in Portugal, which is a popular and growing golf destination for travelers from around the globe.

 

Portugal might not be the first destination that comes to mind when planning your next trip. Yet in many ways, the beautiful country that borders Spain along the Atlantic Ocean presents everything required to make it the ideal place to enjoy great golf.

Warm breezes and gorgeous scenery are par for the course in Portugal. The food and wine selections are legendary. The region has developed a reputation for its laid back vibe and welcoming nature. In 2016, more than 11 million visitors visited Portugal and PerryGolf offers a variety of options for travelers interested in adding another stamp to their passports. In a given year, more than 400,000 golfers travel to Portugal to tee it up on one of the country’s 90 courses.

Our six-night, three-round Custom Tour includes two full days for sightseeing in Lisbon and Sintra. Or you can cruise on one of our partner Azamara Club Cruises’ majestic 690-seat ships and tour the Iberian Peninsula in May or September of 2019. Explore these options using Quick Quotes to find the package that suits you best.

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Whatever your pleasure, incredible golf awaits. Here’s more information on the entertaining variety of courses you’ll enjoy on a PerryGolf journey to Portugal.

Oitavos Dunes

Ranked No. 55 in Golf Magazine’s 2017 Top 100 Courses in the World this is the best of prolific architect Arthur Hills’ many excellent designs. While not a true links, the course offers views of the crystal blue Atlantic as it winds through thick strands of pine trees, shaggy sand dunes and wide open coastal areas.

The layout is filled with memorable holes and spectacular views and a pair of par-3s, No. 9 and No. 14, are certainly atop the list. Not extremely long by modern standards – the course measures a shade under 7,000 yards from the back tees, a quite reasonable 6,537 from the members tees and 4,950 for the ladies – expect to feel the warm salt air breezes freshening through the day on a course that plays firm and fast and delivers pristine putting surfaces.

As a bonus, the Oitavos Hotel provides some of the finest accommodations in Portugal, including a world-class spa, multiple fine dining options and a delightful pool, complete with a bar where myriad food and drinks are available.

Oceanico Faldo

We’ll let Sir Nick himself tell us about this terrific layout.

“The land at Amendoeira is dramatic and the project has the potential to be a real talking point in the Algarve. With so many courses in the region, that’s no mean feat,” architect Sir Nick Faldo said during his visit in 2007.

The six-time major champion designed a gem in the Algarve. Cacti, wild herbs and olive trees dot the landscape. As expected, the master strategist Faldo crafted holes which give the players options off the tee and reward the accurate player on a championship layout that measures nearly 7,200 yards from the back tees. The course is consistently ranked among the top 10 in Portugal.

“This was a very exciting project, which gave me a great opportunity to exploit my passion for design the same way I exploited my passion for playing,” Faldo said. “You have incredible views, beautiful undulating land and any time you have natural terrain like this, it is great fun to work with.”

Vale do Lobo

The 16th hole at the Royal Course at Vale do Lobo has been described as the most photographed hole in Portugal. The tee box on this par-3 is perched atop a cliff and features a demanding forced carry over a ravine to the green. The ninth, a virtual island green par-3, is another of the lasting memories for anyone fortunate enough to walk the fairways of this Rocky Roquemore’s design.

The noted American architect designed the course in 1997 based on the original drawings of the legendary Sir Henry Cotton, who won The Open in 1934, 1937 and 1948 and was one of the founding fathers of golf in Portugal. Cotton, the leading British player of his generation, designed the Royal course at Vale do Lobo.

“The Royal and the Ocean are two great courses,” said 11-time Portugese national champion Antonio Sobrinho. “On the Royal, you have to hit the ball straight – you’re going to be in trouble if you don’t. The Ocean is different, it forces you to shape more shots and I really enjoy that.”

Praia d’el Rey 

Cabell B. Robinson is an American architect who built a career creating outstanding courses across Europe. A protege of Robert Trent Jones Sr., the mustachioed Robinson owns degrees from Princeton University and Cal – Berkeley. He spent nearly two decades running the European office for RTJ and opened his own shop in 1987. Over the last 30 years, he’s designed golf courses in France, Spain, Cyprus, North Africa and of course, Portugal where Praia d’el Rey winds through dense pine forests and provides spectacular vistas of the Atlantic Ocean and Berlengas Islands.

The course opened in 1997 and quickly became a favorite for anyone visiting the region.

Penha Longa

Robert Trent Jones II is another of the esteemed architects to capitalize on the terrain and coastline to create, Penha Longa, yet another staple for golfers visiting Portugal.

There are 27 holes at Penha Longa and each offers a distinct challenge. The course is a past host of the Portugese Open, with its demanding tee shots and undulating greens testing the skills of the top professionals and amateurs. It’s typically rated among the top 100 courses in Continental Europe, where RTJ Jr. has enjoyed a long, extensive career.

Located a couple hours drive north of the Algarve region, there are many lakes and rivers feeding the lush vegetation in these foothills. Be sure to take advantage of your time on the driving range before the round, because the starting holes are demanding and force a golfer to be sharp from the outset.

 

3 Golf Destinations for Couples in 2018

L’Hemisfèric, an IMAX Cinema, planetarium and lasertarium is a central component in the innovative, remarkable City of Arts & Sciences in Valencia, Spain.

Traveling with your spouse creates an opportunity to recharge and reconnect, while sharing lifetime memories visiting interesting locations that are rich with history, beauty and fantastic golf. PerryGolf recommends these three destinations for adventurous couples who enjoy spending time traveling, chasing birdies and basking in the wonders of the world.

IBERIAN PENINSULA

Take delight in the finest ports throughout Portugal and Spain on the 690-guest Azamara Quest, featuring 8 Nights and 5 Rounds of golf.

https://www.perrygolf.com/golfcruising/iberian-peninsula-2018-cruise.php

Enjoy the antics of the cute Barbary apes near the Rock of Gibraltar. These lovable primates are the only wild monkeys in Continental Europe.

Barcelona captures the imagination of thousands of visitors annually.

Savor the majesty of Barcelona, with its ideal blend of food, scenery and nightlife. The second-largest city in Spain is one of the most frequently visited destinations in the world and was the host of the 1992 Summer Olympics.

Tour the gothic cathedral in Valencia, and savor Oceanogràfic inside the City of Arts and Sciences, which is one of the 12 Treasures of Spain

Equally unforgettable is the beautiful port city of Malaga and its glorious renaissance cathedral, which was built between 1528 and 1782 and whose interior includes both the renaissance and baroque styles.

Walk in the footsteps of golf’s legends during a round at Valderrama, considered the top ranked course in continental Europe and site of the Andalucia Valderrama Masters, won this year by tournament host Sergio Garcia.

Finca Cortesin, which played host to the Volvo World Match Play Championship on three occasions, is a divine Cabell B. Robinson design routed through a dramatic valley located near the Mediterranean. It’s routinely ranked as one of the top courses in Spain.

ITALY

When it comes to romance, history and gastronomic delight, Italy is difficult to beat.

https://www.perrygolf.com/escorted-tour/italy-escorted-golf-vacation-2018.php

PerryGolf’s escorted tour includes 14 Nights and 6 Rounds of Golf.

Admire the countryside while traveling stress-free on Italy’s wonderful railway system.

Enjoy the Roman Edifices while touring the city of Verona, which served as the setting for three Shakespeare plays, including Romeo and Juliet as well as The Taming of the Shrew.

Perhaps glimpse a celebrity while taking a moonlit stroll on the banks of Lake Como.

The elegance and beauty of Italy’s Lake Como defies description.

Spend time studying the intricacy of Leonardo Da Vinci’s magnificent painting, ‘The Last Supper.’

The Marriott Venice Resort & Spa is known across Europe for the most luxurious accommodations. Nights spent there are relaxing and divine.

And, of course, there are terrific golf options.

Roma Acquasanta is Italy’s oldest golf course and features stunning views of the Rome skyline.

Also located only 10 miles from Rome is the delightful championship layout Marco Simone, which is the site of 2022 Ryder Cup. Saint Peter’s Dome is within view from several holes on this Jim Fazio design which unfolds on the grounds of an 11th century castle.

Venice Golf Club basks in a spectacular setting between the Adriatic Sea and Lagoon of Venice and features distinct links characteristics and the ever present bora and sirocco winds. Great champions from Palmer to Jacklin to Trevino have battled this formidable foe.

NEW ZEALAND

New Zealand has roughly four million residents, making it one of the world’s least populated countries. Golf is the most popular sport with more courses per capita of population than any country in the world. And the world-class courses are complemented by food, wine and phenomenal scenery.

PerryGolf takes you there for a 13-Night, 7-Round Escorted Tour that simply must be experienced first-hand.

https://www.perrygolf.com/escorted-tour/new-zealand-escorted-golf-package-nov5.php

The Kiwi is a small, flightless bird that’s considered a symbol of sparsely populated New Zealand.

Admire native birds like the Kiwi or the Moa. The Kiwi, which is a flightless bird, has loose hair, strong legs and no tail. It is the national icon of New Zealand and the unofficial national bird. They can live from 25-50 years, although they are vulnerable to predators because they lack a sternum and have underdeveloped chest and wing muscles.

For the wine lover, Hawke’s Bay and its world-renowned wineries, is a highlight of any trip to New Zealand. It’s the nation’s oldest wine producing region in New Zealand is known for its full-bodied red wines and complex Chardonnays.

Speaking of breathtaking beauty, the golf at Cape Kidnappers provides the pinnacle.  This unique Tom Doak design in Napier ranked No. 44 in the world in Golf.com’s 2017-18 rankings delivers stunning panoramic views of Hawke’s Bay. The fairways perched 157 meters above the sea, on the grounds of what was formerly a 5,000-acre sheep station.

 

Our goal in designing golf courses is to create interesting holes you wouldn’t find anywhere else. That wasn’t hard to do at Cape Kidnappers, because the site is not like anywhere else in golf. If it were any bigger or any more dramatic, it would probably be cordoned off as a national park. – Tom Doak

 

Cape Kidnappers features amazing scenery and thrilling golf.

Tour the Lord of the Rings trilogy filming locations around Wellington, which is described as ‘the coolest little capital in the world.’

The only Jack Nicklaus signature course in New Zealand, is Kinloch, a links-style design tucked between gorgeous views of Lake Taupo and rugged farmland.  Often compared to the classic seaside links of the British Isles, Kinloch is a fair, yet demanding and memorable test of golf.

A scenic cruise of Lake Taupo features the Mine Bay Maori Rock Carvings and full commentary on the Maori culture and the area’s vast volcanic history.

And, tucked inside Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkables Mountain Range, is Jack’s Point, located 20 miles from the cozy resort town of Queenstown. Measuring nearly 7,000 yards from the championship tees, the course winds through a natural environment of tussock grasslands, native bush and massive rock outcroppings.

Top 5 Golf Courses to Play In The Mediterranean

Valderrama has played host to many European Tour events and the 1997 Ryder Cup. It’s consistently rated as the No. 1 course in Continental Europe.

 

Warm breezes, the fresh aroma of eucalyptus and beautiful scenery make the Mediterranean a desirable destination for golfers any day of the year. PerryGolf offers a variety of Cruises and Custom Tours to the region, enabling travelers to enjoy the arts, architecture and gastronomic delights so readily available. These five golf courses are certain to challenge and enchant all golfers.

Valderrama

Considered the top course in Continental Europe, the demanding layout at Valderrama has been the home for many European Tour events and the 1997 Ryder Cup, which Europe won in thrilling fashion, 14.5-13.5 over the United States. It’s the only time the matches have been held in Spain and is remembered best for the fiery leadership of captain Seve Ballesteros, the nation’s finest golfer. Another native son, Sergio Garcia, claimed the 2011 Andalucia Masters title at Valderrama.

Located in the southern tip of Spain, near Gibraltar, Valderrama enjoys a rich history, opening in 1974 as Las Aves, and taking its current name in 1985. Three-time Open Champion Henry Cotton served as the first golf professional at Valderrama. Tiger Woods played in his first Ryder Cup here in ’97 and was No. 1 in the world when he won the 1999 WGC-American Golf Express tournament on the venerable layout two years later, defeating Miguel Angel Jimenez in a sudden-death playoff.

The signature hole on the Robert Trent Jones Sr. design is the 17th, a 540-yard, par-5 featuring a steep-banked pond that defends the green. Many matches were settled in this dramatic amphitheater during the ’97 Ryder Cup as the world’s best golfers accepted the risk and attempted to reach the green in two shots. The course has earned the reputation for immaculate conditioning year-round.

 

Alcanada 

Robert Trent Jones Jr., a legendary architect as well, designed Alcanada, which opened in 2003. This sparkling gem on the Mediterranean Island of Mallorca winds through pine and olive groves, measuring more than 7,000 yards from the championship tees and delivering sparkling views of the nearby island Alcanada and its iconic lighthouse.

In general, internet reviews describe Alcanada as a tough but fair golf course. Perhaps the stunning beauty of the sea offsets the challenge. Regardless, a round on this hidden gem is certain to be memorable.

 

Oitavos Dunes

Down in the southwest corner of Portugal, 30 miles west of Lisbon along the shore of the Atlantic Ocean lies a breathtaking golf course designed by renowned American architect Arthur Hills. Oitavos Dunes, which opened in 2001, was ranked No. 55 in Golf Magazine’s 2017 World Top 100.

Hills’ natural links rolls and flows through the sand dunes, umbrella pines and coastal transition areas. The course measures 7,010 yards from the tips as a par-71.

“We disturbed little of the environment as we routed the golf course in harmony with a piece of property sculpted by nature,” the architect said.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XE6012QWgSU&w=560&h=315]

 

Finca Cortesin

How pure is Finca Cortesin?

So pure it wrested the Volvo World Match Play away from Wentworth in England after a 45-year run, and played host three times (2009, 2011, 2012) in four years.

Ross Fisher, Ian Poulter and Nicolas Colsaerts earned titles in the prestigious event which routinely includes many of the world’s top-ranked golfers. Sergio Garcia and Lee Westwood praised the immaculate condition of the course, which is located in southern Spain. Garcia even compared the greens to Augusta National’s, which he conquered in dramatic fashion last April.

Cabell Robinson’s design is not for the weary or weak-spirited. The beast measures nearly 7,500 yards from the back tees and features 102 bunkers!

 

Oceanico Faldo

In the Central Algarve region of Portugal, the six-time major champion Nick Faldo designed a fair, yet demanding par-72, that registers more than 7,100 yards and features a slope of 138 from the championship tees.

“I like my courses to be challenging to whoever plays them,” said Faldo, who has more than 50 golf course projects completed or in progress around the world. “There might be easy holes in some places, but they are a challenge because you have to think about them, and that is what I am after. The best compliment you can get in the design business is when players come off the course and say ‘wow, that was a challenge.'”

The resort also features a floodlit par-3 course – just in case there’s not enough daylight to get your fill of golf.

 

 

Free Onshore Excursions on PerryGolf’s Iberian Golf Cruise! Offer Ends 12/15

OFFER EXTENDED TILL JANUARY 31!

Golf & The Iberian Peninsula By Sea ~
Portugal, Spain & France on board Azamara Journey

10 Nights | 6 Rounds | 3 – 13 September 2014
Azamara Journey | Lisbon – Barcelona

Golf and The Iberian Peninsula by Sea with PerryGolf

Don’t Forget to Pack Your Curiosity.
You’ll Need It.

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2 New Golf Cruises: 2014 Iberian Peninsula and 2015 British Open

 

2015 British Open at St Andrews Golf and Cruise Vacation with PerryGolf

2015 British Open at St Andrews by Sea ~
England, Ireland & Scotland on board Azamara Quest

14 Nights | 7 Rounds | Attend the Open at the Old Course
4 – 18 July 2015 | Southampton – Edinburgh

The 144th Open Championship will be hosted by the incomparable Old Course in July of 2015. It will be the 29th Open played at St Andrews which is the destination of our ninth British Open golf cruise and our finest yet!  This 14 night voyage through the British Isles is beautifully balanced between famous city experiences such as Liverpool, Dublin and Edinburgh with visits to the charming islands of Guernsey and the Isle of Man, plus the isles of Skye and Lewis in Scotland’s Hebridean archipelago.

The golf will be equally exceptional with 7 rounds including “Royal” Clubs, Open Championship & Ryder Cup venues in Scotland, Ireland and England ranging from Old Head and Royal Liverpool to Royal County Down and Gleneagles PGA Centenary.  Better yet of course, attending the Open Championship atthe Old Course St Andrews is a golf and history experience like no other.

The Azamara Quest is an outstanding vessel for such a voyage through the British Isles; large enough to offer every amenity – nimble enough to navigate the smaller harbours.  It is certain that the ship’s 42 suites will be in high demand, so if you prefer such comfort we would advise you to act quickly.

Click 2015 British Open at St Andrews by Sea
for itinerary details and VIDEO.

2014 Golf Cruise Vacation Portugal, France and Spain by PerryGolf Vacations

Double Cabin Upgrade Offer Expires 21 October 2013
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Golf & the Iberian Peninsula by Sea ~
Portugal, Spain & France on board Azamara Journey

10 Nights | 6 Rounds | Lisbon – Barcelona | 3 – 13 September 2014

PerryGolf is proud to again partner with Azamara Club Cruises for an exceptional golf voyage onboard the outstanding 694 guest Azamara Journey around the Iberian Peninsula. Our itinerary begins in Lisbon and concludes in the vibrant Spanish city of Barcelona. Golf includes Valderamma, consistently rated #1 in continental Europe, plus PGA Catalunya ranked narrowly behind. The well regarded Spanish layouts of Montecastillo, El Saler, El Prat, plus France’s Golf St Cyprien, complete the six round program.

Many Guests are golfing couples but an equal number are golfers travelling with a non-golfing spouse. The latter are exceptionally well catered for beginning with fabulous on board facilities plus your choice of Azamara Land Discoveries® which are offered in each port.

The itinerary also allows for some relaxing “sea time” under Mediterranean skies where our Guests are absolutely spoiled.  Azamara Journey (and her sister ship Quest) provides a wide choice of dining and bars, a full service spa, plus varied evening entertainment. In addition to all “normal” cruise features, soft drinks, specialty coffees, boutique wines, beer and cocktails are included within the cruise fare, as are all gratuities.  Better still, our itinerary is set to allow for late evenings and occasional overnights allowing you much greater “immersion” in the destination.

Click Golf & the Iberian Peninsula by Sea
for itinerary details and VIDEO.


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About the Author: Harrison Gould is the Social Media Marketing Manager of PerryGolf, the leading provider of international golf vacations. You can find him on Google+