Reviewing The Praia D'El Rey Resort Golf Experience
There seems to be no stopping the growing popularity of the Praia D’El Rey Resort situated north of Lisbon in Portugal.
Bookings have been flooding in this year with its two courses welcoming an upsurge in interest as golfers put the pandemic behind them, as reported in Golfshake in March.
There is no doubt that the opening of the resort’s second course, West Cliffs, in 2017, has added to the appeal. With Royal Obidos Spa & Golf Resort and Bom Sucesso Resort courses on the doorstep, this part of Portugal, known as the Silver Coast, has well and truly become a golf destination in its own right.
We have visited Praia D’El Rey on a number of occasions and now, as West Cliffs celebrates its fifth anniversary, it’s time to take another look.
Praia D’El Rey is about an hour’s drive from Lisbon’s Herberto Delgardo airport following the toll road north.
It was established in the late 1990s with a combination of apartments, villas and townhouses, with the Praia D’El Rey Marriott Golf & Beach Resort completing the accommodation options.
This five star hotel has a choice of five restaurants all serving fresh and authentic produce and has a comprehensive range of therapies and treatments on offer at the Kalyan Spa.
The championship course was added in 1997, and the resort manages the nearby West Cliff course which opened five years ago.
Its setting on the Atlantic coastline is stunning - with huge rollers attracting the international surfing set to nearby Peniche and Nazare.
Obidos, a fascinating town with well-preserved medieval architecture, provides added interest for those wishing to explore, while Portugal’s renowned sea-based cuisine and superb local wines add to the appeal.
A downside to the resort is a shortage of nearby restaurants and bars within walking distance of the hotel and clubhouse, so unless you are willing to drive or take a taxi to nearby towns your choices are limited.
Yet those looking for golf and more golf are well served by the Marriott. An added bonus is its regular five-minute shuttle bus service to the Praia D’El Rey clubhouse, and also to West Cliffs, only 10 minutes further away.
Five years on and West Cliffs continues to receive many plaudits for its design, beautiful surroundings and is without doubt one of the finest courses in Portugal.
It is challenging though, and due to some long carries from tee to fairway in places, it pays to take the starter’s advice when selecting tee boxes.
There is also an abundance of vegetation to contend with and while fairway width is often generous, a lost ball is often the result of a wayward shot.
The course is fairly hilly and energy sapping, particularly due to some long walks from green to tee, so buggies are recommended.
Greens are huge and very undulating, though cut to a pace to make them playable.
Despite these provisios, West Cliffs is hugely enjoyable and few will regret playing there.
The opener is a tricky par four; while not particularly long at 334 yards from the “55” tee boxes, it needs a good drive down the left followed by a deft iron to a long undulating green.
The 2nd is a downhill par three to a roller-coaster green with a large sandy waste area to the right.
You will need to have got right into your game by this point because the 3rd hole is menacing to say the least, with water running the length of the right hand side, to the edge of a tiny green hidden away among dunes.
The 4th is the first of those forewarned long carries off the tee, yet if you have listened to the starter you should not be in trouble.
Next comes the famous redan green on the par three 5th. Sloping severely from front to back it’s a real test of your green reading.
The two par fives that follow are arguably the best on the course, particularly the 7th. One word of advice. From a good vantage point on the previous tee, take note of the fairway and its hidden waste land that runs across it.
Native vegetation here is really a thing of beauty yet some of the finest views belong to the back nine which starts with a glorious short par four with the ocean in the background.
Standing on this tee just beyond the putting green to the rear of the clubhouse is a joy to behold. Highlight holes on the return include the downhill 14th, the difficult par five 15th and the final pair - the 17th with its 90 degree right dogleg and the highly memorable 18th which runs down a steep slope towards the green guarded by a large lake.
Praia D'el Rey Championship Course
A Cabell Robinson course opened in 1997 and quickly won the hearts of golfers.
It offers a mix of tree-lined parkland style golf and a handful of links-like holes overlooking the wild Atlantic in a truly stunning setting.
The original order of play featured the coastal holes on the front nine, but this was reversed so the most memorable holes play towards the end of the round.
It is a favourite course of many who play it, not many people go away with a bad impressions. A lively clubhouse with great terrace and extensive practice facilities complete the picture.
The first provides a nice warm up starting tee shot, but you immediately get to see that the greens are large and undulating and bunkers are aplenty.
The course heads off toward the coast for the next two holes before returning inland to a short yet testing par four 4th and a long 5th and 7th. The par three 8th over a lake is very interesting before the opening loop finishes with a tricky tee shot required with a fairway sloping severely from left to right bringing out of bounds into play.
The back nine begins from an elevated tee on a par five, with a large pond attracting balls hit to the right of the green before the much photographed coast holes begin to feature. The weakest hole of the course is here - an uphill par three which appears to have been wedged into a corner to the accommodate the Marriott hotel behind it.
The 16th presents the start of a trio of strong finishing holes - I’d say the par five 17th is one of the hardest the course and fully deserves its Strokesaver comment: “A par here will feel like a birdie.”
Praia D’El Rey and the associated West Cliffs courses are the centre piece of a great golfing experience on the Silver Coast and make a worthy alternative to Algarve golf.
For bookings take a look at our travel partner Golfbreaks which offers deals at the Marriott and also a number of self-catering deals.
Experience The Spectacular Magic of Praia D'El Rey
West Cliffs & Praia D'el Rey Stay & Play VLOG
Related Content: travel Portugal golfbreaks Golf Courses Courses
What do you think? leave your comments below (Comments)
Leave your comments below
Plan Your Next RoundArdglass Golf Club
County Down from £22.00 Save 50%
Castlerock Golf Club
Galgorm Castle Golf Club
County Antrim from £13.00 Save 23%