Lisbon, the capital city of Portugal, has been heralded for many years as a wonderful city break destination. A beautiful city blessed with amazing architecture, history and culture, not to mention restaurants serving delicious local dishes and fresh seafood. However, that’s not the end to the interest the Vale de Tejo and Oeste regions can offer. If you can bring your clubs and stay a little longer you will experience some of the best golf courses in Portugal.
Along with such excellent courses Penha Longa, Oitavos, and Aroeira that all rate highly in the Top 100 Golf Course rankings, Praia D’El Rey Golf and Beach Resort is one of the area’s top courses and shouldn’t be missed. An hour northwest of Lisbon on the Costa de Prata, and not far from the attractive medieval town of Obidos with its whitewashed houses, Moorish castle and natural lagoon, Praia D’El Rey occupies a wonderful and privileged position.
Designed by the renowned and respected American architect Cabell B. Robinson who has been responsible for a number of excellent European courses, Praia D’El Rey opened for play in 1997. The course is set in two loops of nine holes, has a par of 72 and measures 6,405 metres from the championship tees. It is reported that having viewed the site for the course at Praia D’El Rey, Robinson modestly said “This is the kind of landscape we architects try to create, but at Praia D’El Rey it’s all here, naturally. Now it’s my responsibility to protect it”. He has made an excellent job of doing just that.
Rather like the excellent layout at Oitavos just down the Portuguese coast, Praia D’El Rey mixes great holes cut through lush vegetation with a number of holes that run along the coastline and encompass sand dunes and links-style challenges whilst at the same time providing amazing views of the Atlantic Ocean and the nearby Berlenga Islands. With large threatening bunkers and thoughtfully designed and located greens the course will make the golfer think from tee to green.
The early holes head gently uphill and then downhill towards the coast and the amazing views of the Atlantic Ocean but don’t let them distract you, after a reasonably comfortable dogleg opening hole the 2nd is a cracking par five measuring 463 metres with water on the right and bunkers and rough ever present.
From the 4th hole the course turns inland for the rest of the front nine and the pick of the holes include the long par four 5th measuring 441 metres and the great par three 8th requiring an accurate shot to carry the large lake to an oval green protected by bunkers at the back. Finally, the 9th is a great finish to the front nine. It may be pretty straight, but it measures 393 metres and it’s all uphill with a narrow fairway and there are no fewer than nine bunkers to contend with.
The back nine starts with a superb par five measuring 460 metres with a tricky green protected by a deep bunker left and an even deeper lake right! From here the back nine just gets better and better and every hole is worthy of note. If any have to be picked out for special accolade then it must be the stretch from 12-15 that all run along the coast and are superb tests with or without the often present Atlantic breezes. A mention must also go to the 17th, a monstrous uphill par five measuring 570 metres – for those using yards that’s over 620 of them!
Gold World described Praia D’El Rey as “A mix of holes – some in the mighty dunes, others among fragrant pines – that are an assault to the senses. Wild and wonderful” and we can only concur with them and we thoroughly recommend a visit to this great course.
Praia D’El Rey is one of our Top 100 Golf Resorts of the World