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Quinta do Lago South Course Review

By: Matt Holbrook | Thu 15 Feb 2024

Complemented by the North Course and Laranjal, the South Course at Quinta do Lago is a favourite amongst European Tour professionals. The course has been extensively renewed to further enhance the stunning backdrop of the Ria Formosa Natural Park. 

This eight-time Portuguese Open host venue is regarded as one of Portugal's premier layouts - and it's easy to see why. 

Rolling fairways, glass-like greens and undulations offering up some spectacular vistas, the South Course is a must for any visiting golfer to the Algarve. 

As with the North, the South is lined with tall pines creating funnel-like views from most tee boxes. 

With tees ranging from 7,016 yards down to 5,404 and coupled with the fantastic facilities, the South Course offers everything you could ask for. And more. 

Pre-Round Thoughts

Quinta do Lago South Course

After visiting the range just over the road, you get a glimpse of the first hole, the tee box and starter hut sat just behind the famous sign - a popular spot for photos. 

You can grab a quick drink or a bite to eat and sit on the veranda overlooking some of the golfers who are either heading off for their round, or coming up the 9th hole. A great spot to build some excitement. 

The pro shop offers anything you should need before you head out, and grab a buggy from just outside and make you way down to the first tee itching to get underway. 

Front 9 Overview

The 1st hole really sets you up for what lays ahead. A straight start, but the stunning opener falls away from the tee into a green perfectly sculptured into the land as it starts to run back up. At only 363 yards from the gold tees, it's an extremely inviting tee shot as the pines funnel you down to the green, with just the one fairway bunker on the right to avoid, but in dryer times, the ball will run down the slope leaving you a nice wedge into the green - which is severely sloping from back to front, but a good chance to get underway with a good score regardless. 

The 2nd hole is a gem too. 

A par 5 measuring just over 520 yards, the fairly slopes from right to left and offers a little kick forward to boot. The lone fairway bunker up the right-hand side should be avoidable, in fact, for those that are able to move the ball right to left will get the best tee shot by hitting one towards that bunker. 

As with most holes, the tall pins protect the fairways and two or three of those stick out slightly on the left-hand side, as the fairway drops away again on approach, and the sizeable green is a great target and another good chance to make a birdie if it's kept in play. 

The 3rd is also worth a quick mention, featuring an approach shot over the water with some spectacular properties surrounding the green. 

An uphill dogleg greets you at the 6th. Moving from right to left, only the brave will try and hit it over the bunker on the left which protects the corner. 

The hole continues to move uphill and an extra club, maybe two, will be needed to find the putting surface that has a steep false front, so anything short may roll 30 yards back down. 

The 8th is a very tough par 4, still short of 400 yards, but the fairway moves from left to right this time. The view from the tee makes you feel like driver is too much club for some as the fairway pinches in around 240 yards, before another severely raised green makes for a tough second shot, regardless of the club you have in your hand. 

Quinta do Lago South Course

Back 9 Overview

After a tough opener on the back 9, the par 3 11th gives you the first sight of the lake which comes into play later in the round. This downhill par 3 doesn't look like much, but club choice will be key in finding the putting surface as the green sits some 40/50ft below the tee box. 

The 12th is a superb par 5 that lures you into cutting the corner to give yourself the best chance at getting on in two. 

It's only a 464 yard par 5, but hitting to the first section of fairway in front of the tee leaves you a blind second shot up the hill - maybe the safest play. 

The braver player may hit straight over the trees to really reduce the length and maybe even leave a long to mid iron into the green. A superb risk reward option. 

The 15th is a classic, 180 odd yards of carry over the lake to a green cut in the trees, just the lone bunker to avoid on the left, but this par 3 is anything but easy due to the water looming large and ready to gobble up anything short. 

The 16th follows suit, a fairly relaxed tee shot avoiding the bunker on the left-hand side will leave a stunning second shot into an infinity like green, with the views of the lake and beach bars the other side in the distance a delight. Dreamy view. 

The 17th is another tough par 5 with a tee shot over the water, the green will be blind from the fairway - especially if you're up the right-hand side, but over 535 yards and playing uphill, going for it in two is probably out of reach for most. Whilst there are no bunkers down the 17th, the fairway is narrow for both the tee shot and second shot, and the green slopes severely from front to back, meaning a two putt is not to be taken for granted. 

Quinta do Lago South Course

Post-Round Thoughts

Personally, I found the South Course to be the pick of the bunch, although I can easily entertain an argument for all three courses. There is such a selection of holes, nothing ever feels the same, and whether it's raised tees or greens, nasty fairway bunkers, devilishly sloping greens or tight tee shots, the variety on offer is simply outstanding. 

The condition is incredible, in particular the greens - again, a feature of all three courses at Quinta do Lago - some of the best I have seen. 

I had mentioned in my features of the other two courses, there is a great selection of tee boxes on offer here so choose wisely in order to maximise the experience you will get. Your short game will need to be in top order around here too. 

Not every hole requires you to hit driver, meaning golfers of all abilities will really enjoy this experience. Keeping it in play is vital if you are looking to put a good score together - but my advice would be to chuck the scorecard away and just enjoy the pure enjoyment of this course. 


What. A. Golf. Course. 

After I had played at Laranjal, I claimed that it would make it into my top two courses that I have played in Europe. Unfortunately, at no fault of its own, Laranjal has now been bumped down to third in that list, behind the South Course. 

It's not often I play as badly as I did around a golf course, and wanted to hit the 1st tee again straight away. If that doesn't tell you something, then nothing will. 

Overall Rating - 10

Course (Conditions) - 10

Course (Hole Variety/Layout) - 10

Course (Green Condition) - 10

Course (Challenge/Difficulty) - 10

Club Facilities & Clubhouse - 10

Practice Facilities - 9

Friendliness/Hospitality - 10

Pace of Play - 9

Value For Money - 10

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