Onyria Palmares Beach and Golf Resort Feature Review
Review by Golfshake Ambassador Andrew Picknan who visited Onyria Palmares Beach and Golf Resort in the Bay of Lagos in the Algarve, Portugaul. Here is his detailed feature review.
Onyria Palmares Beach and Golf Resort is a 27-hole complex that has recently benefited from a €300 million investment, which will be opening to great anticipation in early 2017. When it does, the five-star, boutique Onyria Palmares Beach House hotel will comprise of 18 rooms and two suites – each with beds facing the windows so guests wake up to a stunning view of the Meia-Praia beach.
The hotel will be located between the golf course’s 18th green and the driving range, just 700m from the beach. Guests will enjoy 180 degrees of panoramic views to the Bay of Lagos – the four-kilometre beach that extends from the Ria de Alvor estuary to the city walls of Lagos.
Golf Courses at Onyria Palmares Beach and Golf Resort
The initial 18 holes were designed by Robert Trent Senior in 1975. His son later undertook considerable work between 2009 and 2011, which resulted in the construction of the coastal nine. Although each loop of nine compliments the other, they provide their own distinctly different character.
This is a complex that would never bore a visitor as the three loops can be played in different combinations. Our group managed 27 holes in a single day easily with a morning tee time. This venue would make an ideal final day location as the airports and supporting infrastructure are excellent and it is very easy to play all day and still be back in the UK by the early evening.
The course tumbles and cascades from a hilltop clubhouse to the Bay of Lagos and the Atlantic Ocean. There are three loops of nine holes made up of; Alvor (holes 1-9), Lagos (holes 10-18) and Praia (holes 19-27), with all offering extensive panoramic views of the bay of Lagos.
This complex is a rare mix of parkland with corridors of pinewoods that frame the holes individually and authentic links style holes that meander through the dunes next to the beach like water finding its natural level and direction.
When interviewed about his rationale for the course, Robert Trent Jones said: “Mother nature is the best architect so we just followed her lead. We followed the ground and it gave us the answer.”
I had read this quote before I played the course and was initially sceptical but having experienced the track I can now see exactly what he meant. His designs have followed the natural topography and the course is the better for it.
It offers a unique opportunity to play pure links golf in the warm sun and Atlantic winds. These natural factors offer additional protection to the course and it makes for an enchanting mixture. And in true links fashion there is even a train line rattling along the course perimeter. Not quite the steam trains of Sheringham, but the Portuguese graffiti laden diesel version. An interesting diversion.
This loop has many dramatic changes in elevation the course primarily in the north of the property, this undulating nine assumes a more parkland character by playing through corridors of mature pine trees.
Elevation change is crucial to the integral design as most of the holes ascend and climb hillsides or descend down into intimate valleys. The framing of these golf holes is stunning in those wooded areas.
You can see the more links-style dunes holes to follow whilst playing the sixth and seventh holes. Try not to be distracted and focus on those being played. Easier said than done, as I found myself stopping between shots staring at the landscape trying to take it all in. This complex as a whole is visually stunning.
Alvor Course Highlights
#4 543 metres par 5
The fourth hole drops down into a deep protected valley with the town of Alvor gleaming white and pristine in the distance. This par-5 is an absolute gem and rolls and meanders down the valley from an elevated tee.
A well struck tee shot will be gathered and rewarded with propulsion towards the green. The second shot can be played left or right with the ideal line allowing a carry of the bunker protecting the left side of the green. A shot via the right hand side of the hole is still an option but it brings into play a large expanse of sand.
I could happily have played this one hole all morning. I hit three balls off the tee and ended up with a different score with each! This is a signature hole if I ever saw one.
#7 is a 195 metre par-3
There is an expansive scrub and wasteland that protects the hole from tee to green. Featuring an island green without a drop of water in play. Quite unique. It is beautifully intimidating from the tee box, and is a delightfully challenging one shot hole.
Hole 10 to 18 are known as the Lagos Course and begins with a similar parkland characteristic to the Alvor. This nine hole layout incorporates the only two lakes found on the entire site. They are in play for the par-3 12th the par 4 15th.
Holes #17 and #18 immerse golfers into the extensive dunes complex and the south-west portion of the site. The final holes of the loop climb back towards the clubhouse.
I particularly liked the #12th which is 164m off the white tees. This par-3 boasts an island green, protected short by water and a series of deep bunkers on the left side.
#17 449 metre par-5 stroke index 6
Look out for the cliffs of Lagos in the distance as you consider the elevated tee shot down the valley. Out of bounds right imposes itself the full length of the hole. This is reinforced visually by waste and scrubland and has the effect of making the tee shot seem even more intimidating. With a dogleg right fairway, there is an encouragement to cut off as much of the elbow as possible by a widening of the generous fairway at the landing point.
There is a large dune protecting the front of the green and a smart second shot accurately played is imperative to a successful completion of this hole. I really like the way areas of dunes have been left completely natural and uncultivated. Providing completely natural hazards offers many different solutions to the golfing problems posed.
Holes 19 to 27 of the complex form the Praia course, which features a seaside dune landscape that is exposed to all of mother nature's elements. Four coastal holes are located between the beach and the railway line.
The opening holes descend sharply from an elevated tee and a parkland type setting into a true coastal adventure. This sense carries on to the final hole which is a strong par five arising out of the sandy humps and hollows, through a deep valley into an amphitheatre below the clubhouse.
#25 315m par four
The green is shallow yet wide and orientated on a slight diagonal from left to right. Tightly mown hollows around the green add again to the technicality of this hole. Don't be surprised to find an under hit shot back around your ankles!
The next few holes have ribbons of turf laid on to the sandy waste. The visual effect of all these ridden strips of great and adds immensely to the feeling of intimidation off the tee.
This course is extremely well conceived and executed in design and layout. I love the 3 x 9 layout, particularly with the different styles of course construction on offer.
Play a quick 9 holes or spend a day completing 27 and 36 holes. This facility offers the full range of golfing facilities, all provided to a superb standard.
There is also a superb golf academy on offer run by Steve Bainbridge. The practice facilities are first class encouraging tuition at all levels. Many elite golfers use the facility for warm weather training and I think this is only likely to increase with time. Steve can be contacted via www.elitegolfacademy.co.uk.
I would recommend this course to any level of golfers; the quality of the design and it's careful construction provides a pleasurable test at all levels. Our group travelled from to Lisbon from Gatwick then returned via Faro using Monarch Airlines scheduled flights.
Lisbon: 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)
Faro: Monarch operates flights to Faro from Birmingham, Leeds Bradford, London Gatwick, London Luton and Manchester airports with fares, including taxes, starting from £49 one way (£94 return)
For further information, please visit www.monarch.co.uk.
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