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Quinta do Lago North Course Review

By: Matt Holbrook | Thu 15 Feb 2024

The North Course at Quinta do Lago was totally redesigned back in 2014 by renowned American architect Beau Welling - in collaboration with 2014 European Ryder Cup captain, Paul McGinley

Built to the highest specifications, the new layout emphasises precision and strategy, with the addition of pine tree-lined fairways, undulating from tee to green and smaller, more challenging greens. Whilst the North Course isn't the longest - which most modern day courses focus on - but accuracy and course management are the key factors in scoring well here. 

The black tees (longest) only measure at 6,714 yards, whilst the more friendly gold tees come in at 6,167 yards. As with the other two courses on-site, varying different tee options means you can also play the North Course at just 4,983 yards. 

Maybe the toughest of the three courses, the North will have you thinking from start to finish and punish any errant tee shot, with some devilish bunkers and evil run-off areas protecting the greens. 

Pre-Round Thoughts

The set-up around the North and South in particular is very good. The excellent driving range situated by the Paul McGinley Academy is a must visit stop before heading off to play, as well as a quick visit to the pro shop that is situated by the 1st tee of the South Course. 

Three putting greens are also available to select from to get yourself acquainted to the place, before taking the short buggy ride (walking is also an option but the undulations may require a buggy) to the first tee to be greeted by the starter who will give you a quick run-down, and set you on your way. 

Quinta do Lago North

Front 9 Overview

Similar to the start at Laranjal, the North gets underway with a shorter par 4 that requires precision from the raised tee box. The hole drops away and slopes from right to left, with some fairway bunkers protecting the right-hand side, and the tall pines to the left. It would take a brave player to try and take the corner on, but perhaps a mid to long iron leaving yourself short of the bunkers is the safest play, leaving a short iron into the green. A great start. 

Following a tough par 3 and the 2nd hole, the first of the four par 5s arrive at the 3rd, which is the first time you are faced with a straight hole, with the tall pines protecting both sides of the fairway, along with a well placed fairway bunker on the left. 

The fairway kicks down from the left to right, so a shot favouring the left side may be ideal, however at over 540 yards, only the big hitters will be thinking about taking this on in two.

As the hole falls away from tee to green, a slightly raised shot into the green will need to avoid the extremely deep bunker that sits short and right of the putting surface. 

The first real taste of a risk reward hole comes by the 5th. Another dogleg from right to left, but here the last of the two fairway bunkers on the left-hand side are close to a 220 yard carry - so by the time you have warmed up you may fancy your chances. Beware of the approach shot, the green is 50 yards in length, so depending on the pin position and the accuracy of your shot, you may well be left with a severely sloping putt on a green that falls away from back to front. 

A quick word on the 8th - a 152 yard par 3 that play a lot shorter from the raised tee box. Whilst taking aim at the middle of the green may be the best option, the green seems to fall away in all directions leaving you a tricky putt from anywhere. And whatever you do, avoid the deep bunkers both left and right of the green. 

Quinta do Lago North

Back 9 Overview

A very attackable par 5 awaits at the 11th hole. At just 477 yards, avoiding the trees that kink in the fairway around 250 yards on the right will enable you to have a good crack in two. Avoiding the trap short right of the green is a must in order to make a four, but with two well struck shots here, even the shorter hitters amongst us will have a nice chance to pick up a birdie. 

The 12th hole - maybe the standout on the back 9 in my opinion. 

The fairway runs around the lake from right to left, which is situated between tee and green - with a sole bunker at 230 yards from the tee on the right-hand side of the fairway. 

The longer you try to hit it from the tee towards the bunker, the narrower the landing zone, so playing back from the tee to keep it away from the bunker and right of the water is the safest thing to do. But this means a lengthy second shot, all carry over the water with the fountain ringing in your ears as you are about to hit your shot. 

The wide green is very undulating, but slopes back to the centre of the green. Make sure you have enough club to carry the water, going past a centre flag isn't a bad option as most well hit shots will slowly make its way back down the green. A really great hole. 

Another great dogleg - this time from left to right greets you at the 15th, Whilst the fairway runs out around 260 yards, the second shot is severely uphill so play a club or two longer in order to carry the bunker and the slope at the front. You can try and pinch a bit off the left-hand side, with a fade off the marker post at the end of the fairway, but a four here is definitely a good score. 

The finishing holes are a really good opportunity to end your round on a high. 

An inviting tee shot at the short 17th - a 313 yard par 4 - means you get a chance to open your shoulders and have a bash. A few bunkers down the right-hand side to avoid, but getting close to the green and leaving yourself a nice chip/pitch into the green isn't out of the equation. 

A short par 5 to finish, and it does require a bit of thought from the tee. The water and fountain is a nice feature, but shouldn't come into play from the raised tee box and as the hole moves from left to right, the bunkers up the left-hand side is a good start line to hit a little fade. Longer hitters will still be able to reach in two with a fairway wood off this tee, as at only 450 yards, it's one of the shorter par 5s you'll play. 

Finding the fairway is a must, and a second shot into a well protected green that sits below the fairway and sculptured into the natural banks is extremely inviting and a really good chance to end your round on a high. 

Quinta do Lago North

Post-Round Thoughts

The North is a fantastic golf course. If you can hit your longer clubs straight, you can absolutely put a score together around here. However, if your long game isn't your strength, then you will find this a bit of a test. Keeping it in play is a must. 

Regardless of score, it's a very playable course, unless finding the water, you may not lose loads of golf balls around here as most fairways are protected by the tall pines and there is lots of room in and around the trees. 

The greens definitely protect the course. Some are fairly small compared to the other courses on-site, and very undulating - you will find some spots where a two putt is no foregone conclusion - but you will have lots of fun trying to beat them. 

I do prefer to walk a golf course, but such is the layout and undulations a buggy is probably the best option. Some of the walks between holes are fairly long - although some of the properties around the course are an impressive sight. 

The condition is spot on, the fairways and greens had taken a lot of rain the previous 24/48 hours when we played and were still in great shape. The greens in particular were like carpets, and make that satisfying crunch when you go to repair your picthmark. 

As with the other two courses, selecting your tee box based on your ability will mean you get more out of your experience, don't rush to the black tees if you don't have a long game to back it up - and similarly, if you aren't blessed with length, jump forward and experience this course as it should be requiring thought and precision off the tee - it will only add to the enjoyment. 


Overall, the North Course didn't disappoint. You can see why it is so highly regarded by golfers who have flocked to Quinta do Lago over the years. It's as tough as you make it and if you put a good score together around here then you will have deserved every part of it. 

A real gem. 

Overall Rating - 9

Course (Conditions) - 9

Course (Hole Variety/Layout) - 9

Course (Green Condition) - 10

Course (Challenge/Difficulty) - 9

Club Facilities & Clubhouse - 9

Practice Facilities - 9

Friendliness/Hospitality - 10

Pace of Play - 9

Value For Money - 9

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