Quinta do Lago has come a long way since entrepreneur André Jordan’s dream way back in the early 1970s. The South course is the layout that most avid golfers rush to play, but the North course, formerly called the Ria Formosa, named after the Nature Reserve, is definitely worth savouring.
American architect William Mitchell designed the original 27 holes at Quinta do Lago in 1974 and his third loop of nine now forms part of the North course (the first two loops form the South course). Joe Lee added a fourth loop in the early 1990s and to complete a full house, a third America architect, Rocky Roquemore, re-shaped the North layout in 2003.
The North is one of the Algarve’s most charming courses and it is reminiscent to and almost as pretty as a Melbourne Sandbelt course. Many holes are framed with stately umbrella pines and some greens nestle in truly magnificent sites. Some of the walks between green and tee are bit long but, in the scheme of things, this is a small criticism.
One of the most visually appealing holes in the spectacular 361-metre par four 12th which features a 3-acre lake. The hole doglegs its way around the lake in an alarming fashion leaving a treacherous approach shot to a large undulating green.
Don’t pass the North course by if you are visiting Quinta do Lago it’s a lovely track set in glorious golfing country with a fine collection of par fives… and now it’s ever better. The North course closed in December 2013 for renovation by American architect Beau Welling in collaboration with European Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley. An eye-watering €9.6m was invested in the renovation programme, which included the rebuilding of all greens, tees, bunkers, irrigation/drainage systems and cart paths. The new-look North course reopened in October 2014 to critical acclaim.