12 Golf Courses To Play in The Lisbon Area
There is no shortage of top quality golf to be enjoyed within easy reach of Portugal’s vibrant capital city. Here is our pick of those surrounding Lisbon.
The Portuguese Riviera
Just a few miles along the coast west of Lisbon lies the luxurious pleasure haunts of the former Portuguese royalty and their well-heeled friends. The towns of Estoril, Cascais and Sintra, bristle with castles and palaces. This area boasts luxury hotels, a casino and is also home to some of the best courses Portugal has to offer.
Oitavos Dunes is a links course that makes the most of its rugged natural environment. It is set among pinewoods and reforested dunes within the beautiful Sintra-Cascais Natural Park, an area of outstanding natural beauty. With the Atlantic on its doorstep, it boasts spectacular ocean views. Generous fairways, deep bunkers and a challenging layout, make golf here a memorable experience. This course was designed by Arthur Hills and has been ranked in the Top 100 Golf Courses by Golf Magazine and is consistently rated as among the very best that Portugal has to offer.
A Robert Trent Jones design, Quinta da Marinha is a par-71 course that measures 6,350 yards and is a real treat. Notable for its beautiful views of the Atlantic and Sintra Mountains, the course features numerous elevated tees and greens, which adds to an already challenging design. Golfers should also be aware of the many bunkers and water hazards which act as natural defences for the course, typical of a Trent Jones design. The 3rd Hole at Quinta da Marinha is definitely its signature hole. A par-4 with the most incredible view of the Atlantic Ocean, it has been used to promote golf in Portugal.
Golf do Estoril is one of the longest-established golf courses in Portugal and has hosted the Portuguese Open and Amateur Championships on several occasions. It is located in one of Europe’s most revered tourist resorts and has wonderful views overlooking the Atlantic. This masterpiece of a golf course was designed by Mackenzie Ross and he made good use of the surrounding pine trees and eucalyptuses. Although short at 5,808 yards, it demands excellent accuracy as there is an uneven terrain with some tight fairways.
Designed by the renowned William "Rocky" Roquemore, Belas Clube de Campo Golf Club is set in the beauty of the Carregueira Mountains and is a 30-minute drive from Lisbon. It has been perfectly integrated within the country club's residential development of villas spread over the hills and provides fantastic views of the mountains and valleys beyond. Several fairways and greens are set in deep valleys, and it offers unforgettable panoramic views.
The Atlantic Championship course at Penha Longa is Robert Trent Jones Jr. design. The course takes advantage of the steeply sloping terrain and excellent views of the surrounding landscape. Six of the holes are situated in the valley, whilst the other holes have been built on a hill offering lovely views of the Sintra Hills.
It has hosted the Portuguese Open three times (1994, 1995 and 2010) as well as the Estoril Open in 1999. Regularly ranked in the top five Portuguese courses, if you are planning on having a golf break in Lisbon, this course is definitely one to play.
A little further north along the motorway from the airport lies a neat little cluster of courses which need to be on everybody's wish list.
Royal Obidos is a modern design by the legendary Seve Ballesteros, who sadly passed away before he saw this beautiful layout come to fruition. The course features lagoons on many holes, making it a true risk/reward course. Make sure to pack plenty of balls!
Golf World Magazine voted Praia D’El Rey as the third best course in Portugal - that is high praise indeed. Large bunkers guard the perfectly manicured greens that come in all shapes and sizes. The stretch of holes from the 12th to the 15th run alongside the seafront and provide some stunning coastal views.The 17th is a monstrous uphill par 5, measuring at over 620 yards. Pinpoint accuracy is required throughout this course, especially when the Atlantic breeze picks up.
Just five years old yet already established of one of the best Portugal has to offer this Cynthia Dye design is jaw droppingly gorgeous and, in places, fiendishly challenging, The key to an enjoyable round is to listen to the advice of the starter when it comes to selecting tee boxes. Do that and you will find the fairways generous and you will appreciate what a fabulous course this really is.
Over the river Tagus the motorway leads to yet more glorious courses set a mere 45 minutes drive from the capital at the two-course Aroeira resort and the nearby 36-hole Ribagolfe.
Both courses weave through pines forests flanked by numerous expensive private properties and they are relatively easy-going if you manage to hit it straight. The original, the Pines Classic, is well established and while the Challenge is visually more appealing both make for some excellent holiday golf in a well-established location.
A very short drive away is Ribagolfe, which offers a complete contrast to the pines of both Aroeira courses. Much more open, they weave through cork oaks along gently rolling ground. The Lakes course in particular is a good test of golf and better players will appreciate the difficulty of the opening holes.
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