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Herdade da Aroeira - Aroeira 1 Review

By: Andrew Picken | Tue 04 Oct 2016

Golfshake ambassador Andrew Picken recently headed to Portugal for a golf trip to Lisbon and played the Frank Pennink designed Aroeira 1.  Find out how he got on and what he thought.

Aroeira is a large golf resort located just 600 metres from an extensive stretch of magnificent sandy beach. Access is easy via a well-developed road network serving the capital, the international airport and the Setubal peninsula and is about 14 miles from Lisbon.

The Aroeira 1 course was designed by Frank Pennink in 1973 and is a Par 72 measuring 6,609 yards and is set in 350 hectares of densely wooded pine forest supported by series of lakes. The local microclimate means that golf is a year-round activity.

If you get the chance to play this course it is a thing of beauty, carved through mature pine trees which provide a combination of shade and definition. Each hole has its own definitive boundary identified by the tree line and each hole provides an challenge of its own requiring continual focus and attention.  Featuring rolling, undulating fairways, it has been described as the  ‘Wentworth of  Portugal’, and it is easy to understand why.

The clubhouse offers a restaurant, bar and pro shop. There are also tennis courts and a swimming pool. The golf school and driving range are also well equipped. There are plans for a hotel in the future.

Course highlights (white tees)

1st, 530 yards, par five

Aroeira 1st

I particularly enjoyed the first hole as it   offers a lovely opening vista from the tee. The old fashioned single storey wooden clubhouse overlooks the teeing area and fits in beautifully with the surrounding forest.


The opening tee shot has to be struck over a lake, with out of bounds all the way down the right side of the hole. There are no fairway bunkers, they are not needed. The fairway is pinched and tight enough to make this a challenging opening hole. Pine trees stand resplendently to either side forming the hole magnificently. This is a visually beautiful golf hole.

2nd, 433 yards, par four

Aroeira 2nd

This is the hardest hole of the course. Out of bounds features on the right for the full 396 metres. There is a dogleg right with the larger lake protecting the elbow of the dog leg. A 260 metre carry would be needed to cut across the corner without getting wet. I loved the way the trees are set up to define this hole.

3rd, 368 yards, par four

Out of bounds looms left for the full length of the hole from the tee box. Again there are no fairway bunkers. They are not necessary. The dogleg is formed into a pinched and tight fairway and these are all that are needed to protect this hole. Trees and foliage provide a real funnel from the tees again giving the impression of a tighter tee shot than is actually the case.

8th, 202 yards, par three

The eighth is a demanding par three with out of bounds on the right and behind the green. The tee shot is played to a small green protected by a solitary bunker short and right of the putting surface.   The bunkers are well formed and the sand well drained and fine thus giving no excuses for poor shot execution.

11th, 389 yards, par four

Aroeira 11th

Gulp! Go right here and you are in big trouble as there is out of bounds and two lakes waiting to collect any sliced drive. This is the second hardest hole on the course due to the pinched waist of the fairway at the landing area point and the small elevated green, which is protected on the left by another lake as well as bunkers left and right.

14th, 135 yards, par three

This is the easiest hole on the course. This is a beautiful golf hole,  a substantial lake covers most of the available area between tee and green. The green is oval-shaped protected by bunkers front, back and right. Left is the lake. This is a great island green and is visually stunning. This is a short hole but still intimidating.

15th, 501 yards, par five

This is a tight, challenging par five, with out of bounds on the right and a double dogleg, from left to right and then right to left before arriving at a small green that is protected by a lake to the left and a large bunker to the right. Because the green is so difficult to hold, this is a genuine three-shot hole – a fairway wood simply won’t stop on the green.

18th, 391 yards, par four

Out of bounds once again runs down the full right side of the closing hole. The green is visible from the tee directly as the hole develops directly tee to green. There is clever use of a double line of trees to provide natural hazards to avoid on the left of the fairway. In my opinion there is great use of the natural land and topography in the design of this hole.

Post Rounds Thoughts

I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of playing this course and can see that it would suit all levels of player.

It is well established and is presented in a wonderful condition.

This is a course I would happily play again and again as it has a number of routes to success. I consider that the green fees at this location offer excellent value given the quality of the golf made available for your enjoyment.

Monarch, the scheduled leisure airline, operates year round flights to Lisbon from Birmingham, London Gatwick and Manchester airports with fares, including taxes, from £44 one way (£79 return). For further information or to book Monarch flights, Monarch Holidays or Monarch Hotels, please visit www.monarch.co.uk

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