Oceanico Laguna Course Review
The Oceanico Laguna Course is completely different to any of the other of the Oceanico courses in Vilamoura as it has very few trees and a links feel to it. As you can probably guess by the name, there’s a lot of water around the course and offers a stern test when the wind blows.
The Laguna clubhouse is shared with the Millennium clubhouse so as we pulled up to the clubhouse, we knew the service before a ball had even been struck was going to be outstanding. As you enter the clubhouse, the Laguna reception is on your left where you can check in and receive you ticket to give to the starter as well as a buggy ticket and a token for the range if necessary.
Having spent a good hour on the practice round before the round on the Millennium course the previous day, we took time to take up the alternative pre-round routine of sitting in the sun with a beer. The staff are quick to offer you a table that overlooks the golf course and it was quite a relaxing way to prepare for you round.
The starters on this complex are extremely helpful and will offer you tips and advice as well as letting you know how long a round can take. As expected they are friendly and you can enjoy a nice chat with them as you wait to tee off. The starters often alternate between the courses so if you have more than one round booked you will probably see them again. It is always nice when they remember you for your second round as it makes you feel as if they were talking to you out of interest and not just as part of a job.
The 2nd hole is the first of the four par 3’s on the Laguna course and from the tee it looks pretty simple. However, from the tee you don’t quite realise how thin the green is and despite only being a short iron or a wedge for most, the wind makes it extremely tough to hit the green. Three large bunkers surrounding the green also add to the pressure on the tee.
The next par 3 comes shortly after at the 150m 4th hole. For those who struggle with irons off the tee, the water in front may be of concern, but for most the large bunker at the front of the green is what you fear the most. The green is relatively large but slopes quite severely so a two-putt is not guaranteed.
The 12th hole is the penultimate par 3 and is another short but testing par 3. The green is reasonably small and there is water surrounding the front and right side of the green. When you add the two bunkers both left and long of the green, you realise why this par 3 is stroke index 5.
The 17th hole is quite a daunting par 3, especially if you are on a good score. Again, the green is small and there is water waiting to swallow any ball that is hit left or short. The safe shot is to the right hand side of the green as anything that lands on the left is at risk rolling into the water off the green’s right to left slope.
The first par 4 comes at hole number 3 and sets the tone for the par 4’s around Laguna. There is water along the right hand side of this hole and it comes into play all the way from the tee down to the green. The fairway slopes from left to right so an accurate drive down the left hand side is needed here.
Hole 5 is a hole you wont forget. For me it was similar to one you’d see on the PGA Tour. The fairway is extremely tight with three bunkers within landing distance on the left and water all along the right. The tee shot requires a wood or long iron and must be pinpoint accurate, as must your approach shot on this dog leg right par 4 as the water runs all the way up to the green.
The final hole on the front 9 is another challenging par 4 and deserves its stroke index of 2. The hole is 364m long and requires accuracy off the tee as there is a bunker on the left hand side within landing distance and water all along the right hand side. For the low hitters, you then have to find a way around the ancient scoop-wheel well that sits in the middle of the fairway just 68m short of the green.
The14th hole is almost identical to the 5th hole. It is a dogleg right with water running along almost the entirety of the right hand side. The only real differences are the bunkers that surround the green and the water doesn’t quite make it up to the green.
The 18th hole is a reasonably long par 4 at 360m and works its way back up to the clubhouse. Avoiding the four bunkers that surround the green is the hardest part of this hole but luckily it is only a short walk to the bar from the 18th green.
The Laguna course starts with a gentle, slightly downhill par 5 and is a great opportunity to start you round with a birdie. The only way you’ll come into any difficulties on this hole is if you find the collection of five bunkers that start 85m short of the green.
The second par 5 comes at hole number 8 and again is a birdie opportunity providing you hit a good drive. The hole is usually downwind and due to the slight dogleg, those who hit a draw will love this hole. The tee shot is semi-blind over the hill but with the right shape you can leave yourself a mid to long iron to the green.
Like the front 9, the back 9 begins with a par 5. With almost all of Vilamoura on your left hand side, it is near on impossible to lose a ball on this hole. Again, the par 5 is pretty straightforward and a draw short would be the preferred shot on the approach but don’t over draw the ball as the hole slopes quite severely if you miss the green long and left.
The final par 5 comes at the 15th and is arguably the most memorable of the four. Most golfers can’t reach the water so a driver can be hit off the tee. Water runs along the left hand side so you often see balls well to the right on the neighbouring 13th hole. The water then runs under the bridge, which connects the second part of the fairway and the green, and leaves you wanting to hit the ball left to avoid the water. Most people choose to lay up left to avoid the water as it takes a brave golfer to try and clear the 200m+ carry over water to the green.
For me this course was more enjoyable than the Millennium course and Pinhal course as it offers something a bit different and with playing a parkland as my home course, it was quite nice to play a course with a different challenge such as the vast amount of water.
I see how it could be a struggle for higher handicappers as there are a few carries over water off the tees. Also, most golfers tend to hit a left to right shot and most of the water tends to sit on the right hand side. If links golf is your forte and you like the risk of carrying the ball over water then this is definitely a course you should try.
For more information and to read independent reviews visit the Golfshake Oceanico Laguna golf club page.
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