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Spain & Portugal

History, culture, fine food, beautiful beaches and excellent golf courses - the full package.

The Courses

 

Octavos Dunes - #65 2013 Golf Magazine's World Top 100

Oitavos Dunes is set among pine woods and reforested dunes in an area of great natural beauty. Being a seaside course, the ocean view is present all the time, although some of the more fantastic scenery comes from the Sintra mountains and Cabo da Roca, Europe's most western point. The layout of Oitavos Dunes has been carefully crafted by one of the greatest golf architects of our times, ex-president of the American Society of Golf Course Architects, Arthur Hills.

The owner's goal was to create one of the finest golf experiences in Europe, all within the elegant natural and historical framework inherent to the Quinta. They felt that with a site so rich in innate beauty, each hole of Oitavos must fit ideally in the setting, thus assuring a natural appearance with variety and charm. The wind is an integral part of the golfing experience. The prevailing wind is from the north, but can swing 180º to blow off the sea. This makes Oitavos Dunes like "a passionate woman, always liable to spring a change but never boring!" Oitavos Dunes offers three distinct landscape forms: forested area (with the most beautiful umbrella pine trees in the world), dunes land, and the more open coastal transition areas. The Oitavos Dunes golf course has been carefully routed to take advantage of all three zones, featuring all of their distinct characteristics. The routing is a continuous loop of holes, nine out and nine in, similar to links land courses in Scotland.

Quinta de Marinhe

Located on the famous Estoril Coast, the Quinta da Marinha Golf Course was designed by the legendary Robert Trent Jones Sr. and is set in a private estate of 110 hectares, wooded with pine trees. The most spectacular hole on the Quinta da Marinha Golf Course is hole number 13, a Par 4 of 339 metres sloping down towards the sea. Once on the green, the golfer has the Atlantic Ocean as background. The whole of Quinta da Marinha golf course is surrounded by beautiful panoramic views. The following hole (a Par 3) requires a very precise shot for the ball to cross a cliff and reach a wide but not very deep green.

For most of the Quinta da Marinha Golf Course, however, the fairways face inland with the beautiful outline of the Sintra mountain range forming their background. Many bunkers and a number of lakes at Quinta da Marinha make the player's task even more difficult. Hole number 10, for instance, has a green entirely surrounded by water. Quinta da Marinha was the 1988 host of the Quinta da Marinha Ladies Masters (European Professional's Women's Circuit) and in 2002 was host to the Estoril Open (PGA Tour Event).

San Lorenzo

One of the most famous golf courses in the Algarve, available exclusivley to guests of Dona Filipa Hotel, and of course to those who are lucky enough to be private members. The superb and well frequented San Lorenzo Golf Course, designed by Joseph Lee, was recently considered one of the best golf courses in Europe and, in 1993, was voted Continental Europe's third best golf course by the magazine Golf World. The hotel and golf club are unique when it comes to outstanding views, a calm and tranquil setting, and shows nature at its best. The golf club is a member of the Audubon Co-operative Sanctuary System. The course features large fast greens and undulating fairways which meander through avenues of pine trees. There are some spectacular holes overlooking the sea, which border lakes abundant with wildlife.

Situated in the Quinta do Lago development and forming part of the Natural Park of Ria Formosa, a round on this course begins with an enticing but almost unachievable Par 5, before continuing to the three following holes along rolling, pine tree-fringed fairways. It is from hole number 5, however, that the most extraordinary part begins, offering wonderful views over the Atlantic Ocean. At hole number eight the course turns back inland and faces the largest of the lakes. For the next four holes the course again turns seawards and ends with the daunting 18th, with a semi-island green, to quote a cliché, is one of the best finishing holes in golf. San Lorenzo is beautifully maintained and set in an unspoilt area of natural beauty.

Monte Rei

The Monte Rei Golf Club is set in the picturesque foothills of the Eastern Algarve, with sweeping views of the Serra do Caldeirão mountains to the north and the Atlantic Ocean to the south. The first of two Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Courses - "Monte Rei North" - opened in June 2007. This par 72 Championship course measuring 6567m from the Tournament tees is a truly unique design; with water coming into play on eleven of the eighteen holes, the course features an enjoyable series of eight par-4s, five par-3s and five par-5s in a challenging and distinctive layout. The course presentation is highly individual, each hole a design gem blending effortlessly into this natural canvas, from its ingenious shape and sculptured bunkers, to the impressive presentation and attention to detail making ever hole as remarkable as the next; fairways and greens are bordered by several lakes, indigenous plants, native grasses and trees adding drama to the landscape, and providing golfers with unforgettable moments to cherish in this unique and tranquil golf environment.

At Monte Rei, intervals between tee times are considerably longer than normal practice, golfers will be able to enjoy their game in a relaxed setting, and each hole will be yours for that moment, cocooned in your own golfing wonderland undisturbed by other players. And after your game, the clubhouse bars and restaurants are the perfect place to unwind as you enjoy the very best of Iberian cuisine and fresh local fare.

Valderrama - #98 2013 Golf Magazine's World Top 100

Now regarded as the best course in continental Europe, the awe-inspiring layout is matched by its consistently impeccable condition, but this was not always the case; between 1987 and 1997, Valderrama's bunkers were totally restructured, and the drainage system throughout the courses was entirely revamped. The result was that Valderrama coped admirably with the deluge during the final day of the 1997 Ryder Cup that closed every other course within a 200 mile radius. Those Ryder Cup matches brought Valderrama prominently to the golfing world's attention, but thankfully, the course is carefully managed to avoid too much play ruining its condition. In fact, the club is extremely exclusive, but Ortiz-Patiño has been kind enough to make it available to the public as well, and it remains high on the list of ‘must play' courses.

While Valderrama is notoriously difficult, there are tees to suit most players, but matching your handicap is an achievement to remember around the 6,951 yard layout. Valderrama's wares continue to be showcased by the European Tour's climactic Volvo Masters every autumn, which merely whets the appetite of serious golfers around the world. Rest assured, Valderrama is as good as it looks on television. Go for broke at the penultimate hole - take on the water, and if you succeed, the bragging rights will be yours for years to come!

San Rogue (Old)

Between Jerez and Marbella, almost at the tip of the Iberian Peninsula, lies one of Europe's most exclusive golfing Country Clubs. Here, in the foothills of the Sierra Bermeja, the peace and natural beauty of Andalucia is complemented by a stylish retreat as well as championship golf enhanced by a friendly atmosphere: welcome to The San Roque Club. The club boasts two championship courses - The Old Course and The New Course, 2 tiered covered driving range, practice areas and putting greens, pitching area, 3 practice bunkers & a fully stocked pro shop as well as a Golf Academy managed by Thomas Johansson.

The amazing Old Course is the pride of the club. The enjoyment of it is generally reserved for members only - we have preferential access to enjoy these amazing fairways. This legendary course was created by Dave Thomas in 1990 with bunkers redesigned by Seve Ballestros, the Old Course is rated amongst the top 5 courses in Spain and amongst the best courses in Europe. The Old Course was the venue of the Spanish open in 2005 and the Qualifying School Finals from 1993 – 2007

Club de Golf Barcelona

One of the best courses in Spain is the varied, challenging and exciting Club De Golf Barcelona, opened in 1990, two years before the city hosted the 25th Olympic Games. Originally named Masia Bach, the course was designed by Jose Maria Olazabal, captain of the European Team, recently winner of the Ryder Cup 2012. It has been the venue for several tournaments including the Spanish Professional Championship, the Tour of Spain and the Catalonia Ladies Masters. Olazabal has now designed 18 courses and this was one of the first to build his reputation. Olazabal designed 27 holes here – the first 18 is known as the Masia Course and is a hilly championship course of 6271 metres with a par 72.

Set under the mountain of Montserrat in the village of Sant Esteve Sesrovires, it is 27 kilometres from Barcelona and although it is a members’ club, guests and visitors are welcome. The clubhouse is more than 6.000 square metres and features outdoor and indoor heated pools, squash court, saunas, indoor golf, a nursery as well as restaurants, conference rooms and, oh yes, a small football field. The Club De Golf Barcelona not only offers some spectacular views of Montserrat, site of the famed mountaintop monastery, but is yet another example of a great golf course set in a great wine area. The Penedes wine growing region offers much fine refreshment after a round and a tour of the wineries is a great addition to the numerous tourism highlights of the region.

PGA Cataluna

Quickly becoming one of the world’s most sought-after tee times, PGA Cataluña Golf Resort’s internationally known Stadium Course is the ultimate Spanish golfing experience. Two courses – the Stadium and the Tour course – were conceived by Spanish golf legend Ángel Gallardo and Ryder Cup star Neil Coles. They envisioned a creation that would allow golfers of all skill levels challenging, but enjoyable rounds while captivating the senses with the natural surroundings. The result is an architectural masterpiece of golf with fairways bordered by dense, mature forests, ever-present water and far-reaching views. Since the opening celebration in 1999, PGA Catalunya Resort has quickly gained an impeccable international reputation and is currently ranked 2nd in Spain, 3rd in continental Europe and, most recently, 88th in the world. Consistently earning the coveted accolades as Golf World magazine’s Top 10 European venue and Golf Monthly magazine’s Top 3 European venue, the Stadium Course has twice hosted the Spanish Open - in 2002 and 2009.

This spectacular and imposing course has been consistently ranked among the best ten golf courses in Europe since it was opened. As the venue for numerous PGA European Circuit tournaments, it is also routinely singled out for praise from the professional playing fraternity. Be warned, however; the beauty of the course can distract from the many dangers waiting to do serious damage to your scorecard. It makes no concessions with its trees pressing onto fairways, strategically placed bunkers and the lakes that come into play on no fewer than seven of the toughest holes. This is a quality that keeps players returning time and again to test themselves. It is rare to find so many memorable holes on one course and despite the many ups and downs, tees are elevated and very few fairways are uphill. The stunning dogleg of hole 6 is one of them and it demands nothing less than a driver and total commitment.