The Best New Course in Europe?
It is not often we title up a video or article as 'The Best New Course', but on a recent visit to Lisbon, Portugal I played what many will consider to be the best new course on continental Europe, if not Europe as a whole.
The course in question is West Cliffs, a Cynthia Dye design that is the second course at Praia D'el Rey and it is truly magnificent. Courses that use and fit into the landscape on which they were built are rare and even more so when you look at recent constructions and that is why West Cliffs can be considered as a modern masterpiece.
Although the course is truly unique, it has echoes of the Surrey sandbelt and courses such as Hankley Common and Sunningdale (yes, I know that is in Berkshire). It also reminds you of Whistling Straits and Cynthia Dye certainly points to that course as an inspiration for her green designs.
You can view the ocean from all 18 holes with the back nine sweeping ever further up the hill to provide some truly spectacular views. However what is most impressive for me was the use of natural vegetation to create a course that almost feels timeless, I was lucky enough to play one of the very first rounds at West Cliffs, but if felt like it had been there for decades, a trick that I suspect many golf architects aspire to.
West Cliffs is just part of an overall package at Praia D'el Rey that includes a second great test of golf in what is now known as the 'old course' by many, me included even if it is not the official name. Sitting alongside that is a beautiful village of self catering apartments and a luxurious Marriott Hotel.
Just an hours driver from Lisbon, Praia D'el Rey is now, in my opinion a must visit for UK golfers and West Cliffs is already being talked about as the No.1 course in Portugal. Whether it eventually gains that crown depends a large part on how the course beds in and how much of the natural beauty that it boasts is eroded by the inevitable development of villas and hotels (A course like this has to be paid for after all). For the time being though it is a stroke of genius, one you must play.
Example Golfbreaks.com package*
Stay for 3 nights' self catering at Praia D'El Rey Resort (2 Bedroom Apartment - 4 Person) and play 2 rounds of golf (Praia d'El Rey or West Cliffs) for only £199*
*Prices correct as of April 2018
For more information on play and stay packages please visit our friends at Golfbreaks.com
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