Why Aroeira Golf Resort is The Perfect Golf Getaway
2022 could be the perfect time to plan a golfing getaway to Portugal. You will not find many more appealing and value for money than those just unveiled by Orizonte - Portugal’s largest golf management company.
Orizonte is offering a number of packages at the 36-hole Aroeira Golf Resort, showcasing its new on-site hotel in a stunning location just south of Lisbon.
Those of you used to jetting off to the Algarve would do well to consider the Lisbon area for a change. There are plenty of top quality courses within easy reach of the Portuguese capital city, which in itself is well worth a day visit or perhaps an overnight stay in a hotel such as The Lumiares Hotel if time off-course permits. See https://www.visitlisboa.com/ for more details of the city itself.
There are lots of good things about the Aroeira Golf Resort, starting with its location less than an hour’s drive from Lisbon airport and a mere 40 minutes from the city centre.
The new hotel features contemporary styling throughout, the rooms are very good and the bar and restaurant excel. There are also plenty of apartments on-site should you prefer the extra flexibility.
It is just a few minutes drive to the Fonte da Telha beach and the Aroeira Beach Bar - a fab location in what could be called “proper Portugal.”
Lunch here is to die for - a great wind down spot on a huge stretch of sand favoured by beachcombers.
Orizonte markets the two golf courses on the estate, and offers deals at three others - the two at nearby Ribagolfe and a third at Quinta do Peru, just a short drive away. It also provides exceptional value for money on a wide range of accommodation options.
Clubhouse facilities at Aroeira and Ribagolfe are somewhat spartan by some standards, yet adequate and you can get a true Portuguese-style lunch and a beer or two.
The Aroeira and Ribagolfe courses are varied and will suit players of all standards. They aren’t the highest rated in Portugal, but they are extremely well-priced, worth the money, and certainly enjoyable.
We played three of the four in a whistle-stop inspection, missing out Ribagolfe Oaks (formerly Ribagolfe II) due to time restraints.
The exercise did prove that you can play three rounds in three days including the flights from the UK!
Aroeira Pines Classic
The first of the two Aroeira courses opening in the 1970s to a fanfare. Designed by Frank Pennick it is, as its name suggests, a course weaving through a pine forest flanked by numerous expensive private properties.
It’s a pretty straight forward challenge - in general just repeatedly hit it straight down the middle along the generous fairways avoiding the trees, which as well as posing problems in themselves, grow among very sandy soil requiring purely struck recovery shots.
The first few holes are very similar and a little underwhelming with the exception of the par 5 2nd, a long dog-leg which lives up to its stroke index 1 rating.
The 8th marks the start of a cluster of better holes with the 187 yard 9th possibly the pick of the bunch.
Our group favoured the back nine which was a little more open and varied. The 10th is a very good par 5 with a large sandy waste lurking to catch those driving right to take on the dog-leg, while the innocuous looking 11th has a hidden pond to the left of the green. The ducks here really ought to be wearing tin hats.
Another tricky but lovely looking hole is the par 3 14th which plays over water - those who fear wet feet here have to think twice however as there is a long bunker stretching the length of the green behind the stick, perfected placed to catch those clubbing up to avoid the pond.
Thought is also required at the penultimate hole - a short par 4 with a dog-leg left. Some might be tempted to drive the green but it is not going to be the best option for the vast majority. Best plan is to use your head, leave the driver in the bag and aim the the right corner of the dog-leg.
Our party joked that this course could have been rebranded Pines Classic II for the obvious reason that there are trees everywhere. However it is a more interesting and difficult course so its new name is indeed quite accurate.
Visually more appealing it is easy to see it is newer than the original with better fairways and faster, more testing greens during our visit in November.
Once more fringed by some very high end properties it features some very scenic holes, starting at the second where the elevated tee gives a splendid view of the long fairway of this par 5.
The 5th is also of great interest - it will be a matter of opinion whether you consider the strand of pines crossing the fairway about 150m from the green adds to its appeal or an unnecessary addition to a hole that is hard enough due to its length and extremely rolling green.
Hole 9 marks a very strong finish to the opening half. An ever-diminishing fairway lined by water to the right and a row of pines to the left is the target - too far right is dead, and equally, overdoing it to the left will block the approach.
Other highlights are the par 3 14th from an elevated tee the 15th hole where the fairway curves along a large expanse of water and the final hole with water coming into ply from the tee and the approach shots.
Open in 2004 this course, formerly Ribagolfe, is a complete contrast to the pines of both Aroeira courses. Much more open, it weaves through cork oaks along gently rolling ground.
In my opinion is far more challenging than its sisters and is the favourite of better players living locally.
The opening stretch in particular is a real test of accuracy and length, as elevated greens are the norm rather than exception.
Fairways are generous, well laid and maintained and during our visit the greens proved to be the quickest and by far the most difficult to navigate. Dog-legs are everywhere adding to the difficulty.
You may wonder where the course gets its name, as water is as scarce as pars and birdies on the way out, but as you turn into the back nine all seemingly becomes apparent. As it happens water is only a factor on holes 12, 14 and 15.
Despite the water adding an extra hazard, the back 9 is more playable, with hardly any elevated greens and seemingly not so long.
Most players will select the 12 and 14 and the most memorable I suspect, simply for the water that adds to the challenge.
The 12th is a long par 5 and unless you are capable of hitting a monster drive, your second shot ought to be down the fairway as taking on the water guarding the green is a really risky option. That said, two decent shots will leave a shot iron to a huge undulating green - so don’t count your chickens here until the ball has safety dropped into the hole.
The 14th is pretty short by comparison but no less daunting. From the tee you can see the pond extending the full length of the fairway to left so the further right you aim the better, in the knowledge however that you are adding length to the hole which dog-legs left.
While this course cannot boast a modern up-to-the-moment clubhouse - and it's a fair walk to the first tee - its remoteness adds to the tranquility of the round.
We didn’t have time to play Ribagolfe Oaks, apparently it is less difficult and worth playing too.
For more information on Golfbreaks, visit https://www.golfbreaks.com/en-gb/holidays/lisbon/aroeira-golf-resort/. Airport parking is easy and cheaper if your prebook with www.holidayextras.co.uk.
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