Top Golf Courses in and Around Vale do Lobo
August 7, 2023
Nestled within the idyllic embrace of the Algarve in Portugal, Vale do Lobo stands as a haven for golf enthusiasts, offering a world-class golfing experience amidst breathtaking coastal beauty, and all with the finest selection of holiday villas close by.
With a diverse selection of exceptional golf courses both within the resort and in the surrounding area, Vale do Lobo has rightfully earned its place among the top golfing destinations in Europe.
Keep reading to discover the top golf courses in and around Vale do Lobo, where each fairway promises an unforgettable tee time.
Ocean Golf Course
We begin our golfing adventure with the crown jewel of Vale do Lobo – the Ocean Golf Course. This internationally renowned course is undoubtedly one of the prettiest in Europe, boasting awe-inspiring views of the Atlantic Ocean.
Designed by the legendary Sir Henry Cotton, the course seamlessly blends the natural terrain with challenging fairways and strategically placed bunkers. The course’s most emblematic holes are two challenging and spectacular par 4s, the 11th and the 14th, which treat golfers to spectacular views. Hole 15, a par 3, runs directly along the beach.
The signature cliff-top 16th hole, with the waves crashing below, is a breathtaking spectacle that golfers are sure to remember long after the game is over.
Royal Golf Course
Adjacent to the Ocean Golf Course, the Royal Golf Course is another gem awaiting avid golfers. Also designed by Sir Henry Cotton, this course offers a distinctive contrast to its sister course.
Set amidst a stunning pine forest, the Royal Golf Course challenges players with tree-lined fairways and undulating greens. With captivating views of the countryside and the ocean in the distance, each hole promises an invigorating golfing experience.
It features a par 3, including an island green at hole 9 and the famous hole 16, in an iconic cliff-top location – one of the most photographed holes in Europe.
Laranjal Golf Course
Venturing beyond Vale do Lobo, we find the Laranjal Golf Course in Quinta do Lago, a mere 15-minute drive away. This hidden gem, which opened in 2009 and was voted Best Golf Course at the 2011 Portuguese Travel Awards, is known for its generous greens and challenging water hazards. The greens, in particular, are a test for even the most skilled golfers, making it the perfect course for longer hitters looking for a challenge.
Designed by Jorge Santana da Silva, the course features five beautiful lakes, towering umbrella pines, majestic cork, oaks, and fragrant orange trees, making it a feast for the senses at every turn.
A short drive from Vale do Lobo, in Quinta do Lago resort, lies the South Course, a timeless golfing masterpiece which has hosted numerous prestigious tournaments and consistently ranks among the top golf courses in Europe.
Designed by William Mitchell, the course showcases the Algarve’s natural beauty at its best. Majestic pine trees frame the fairways, while sparkling lakes add an element of challenge to the game. While the 8th, 15th and 18th are testing holes for low handicap players, the course’s varying difficulty challenges golfers of all levels and abilities.
The impressive Villa Vizela is nearby.
Originally named after the adjacent nature reserve, Ria Formosa, the picturesque North Course in Quinta do Lago has been captivating golfers since 1972, and its allure continues to grow. It was redesigned in 2014 and all the greens, tees, bunkers, irrigation and drainage systems and cart paths have been re-built using innovative technology. Four sets of tees have been introduced on each hole to accommodate players of all levels.
Distinguished umbrella pines stand tall, framing many holes and adding both beauty and strategic challenges to the game. As you embark on your golfing journey, each hole presents a unique set of obstacles, from tricky water hazards to strategically placed bunkers.
San Lorenzo Golf Course
The San Lorenzo Golf Course, located within the Ria Formosa Natural Park, is around 30 minutes from Vale do Lobo. This world-class course, designed by Joseph Lee and Rocky Roquemore, is revered for its unparalleled beauty and strategic layout.
Golfers navigate through a maze of saltwater marshes and pine forests, creating an exhilarating and visually captivating experience.
Victoria Course – Dom Pedro
The Dom Pedro Victoria Course in Vilamoura was designed by golfing icon Arnold Palmer and is considered to be the most challenging course in Europe. It has hosted the Portugal Masters Tournament since 2007, and the well-known World Cup Championship was held there in 2005. It’s recognised as one of the best courses to play golf in the Algarve, with a layout that presents a challenge even for the most seasoned players.
Composed of 90 hectares, the landscape includes carob, olive and almond trees combined with wetlands and lakes. It features an exceptional driving range and a putting green of some 2,500 m2. There are a number of teeing options on each hole (often as many as six are offered), accompanied by wide but undulating fairways, providing a fair test of golf, although water hazards and cleverly-positioned bunkers keep things interesting.
The Old Course – Dom Pedro
Located in Vilamoura is the Old Course, often described as the ‘Grande Dame’ of the Algarve golf courses. Renowned worldwide, the Old Course opened in 1969 and was completely renovated and modernised in 1997, while retaining the original layout. The designer Frank Pennink wanted to create a golf course in Portugal that would remind players of the beautiful and challenging inland British courses. The exceptional fairways of the Old Course run alongside pine trees, which are the main hazards, and over gently undulating natural terrain, adding an extra challenge to the game.
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