Golf in Algarve (Almancil/Vilamoura)

Bratty

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Aug 22, 2010
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Just back from a 6 day break in The Algarve, and thought I'd leave a short review on the condition of the courses in Feb.

Dom Pedro Old Course 6/10: my return after 25 years since the first time I played it, and I was a little underwhelmed. It's got a bit scrappy in places and just doesn't have the same feel it used to. Greens are good and true, and still pretty quick for Feb. Fairways were a little damp after some rain, but it felt like drainage needed an upgrade. One fairway truly awful as it's next to 100 yards of GUR, meaning everyone is taking a drop and there's barely grass left on the fairway, and it's damp. Speaking to a local golf pro, a lot of them are hoping Dom Pedro sell up, as they haven't invested much in the courses. I wouldn't go back to play it again in current condition.
Food and service was very good.

Quinta do Lago Laranjal 9/10: my favourite course in the area and it never disappoints. Was in good condition with no real visible damp or bare patches. Bunkers are brutal, so avoid them. It's one of the few courses where the ball will sit quickly on a green, so you have to go almost at the flag. This would cost me for the rest of the trip, as the other greens release!
I never eat at Laranjal as it's a very small clubhouse/cafe.

Vale do Lobo Ocean 6/10: I've decided after playing this a few times that the front 9 is just a bit meh! Condition was okay, but not great. Again, damp and bare patches abound and just not that enjoyable. Greens still good and quick for the time of year. Some lovely holes on the back 9, but I won't be playing it again any time soon.
Food is very good here. Lunchtime service great, but dinner service was poor.

Vale do Lobo Royal 8/10: we asked them if they could do a twilight deal, but they said not until 3pm, but I should book online. Really weird, but did so and got 14.20 for €61! Then went back to the reception, who gave me my green fee card. Odd setup, but worked out.
The course is much better than the Ocean in terms of hole layout, and was in better condition too. Fairways had pretty good grass coverage and greens were the same as the Ocean.

Quinta do Lago North 8/10: another lovely course in good condition. You can see which courses are investing and which are just getting by. Fairways all good and greens are a test. Aprons on this were probably the best of the week. Spike bar food is very hit or miss, so don't bother eating here.

Dom Pedro Victoria 8/10: pretty good condition overall, but you can tell they are still getting it ready for mid/high season. Greens are really quick and fairways/ aprons in good nick. It helped I smoked my opening drive down the middle in front of the starter! Some brutal holes and it does play tough at times.
Food again good, but service not as good here compared to the Old Course.

I also heard from the local pro that Monte Rei needs a big dose of investment which it won't be getting anytime soon. They haven't reduced green fees and if you haven't played it before, you won't understand what all the hype was about at present. Wait until some money has been spent on it was his advice.
 

CliveW

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Jan 4, 2009
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For over twenty years we used to golf in the Algarve at the end of Feb, beginning of March, but the courses were getting poorer year on year due to wetter winters. We now go to Turkey which is far superior both in course conditions and standard of service.
 

Billysboots

Falling apart at the seams
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Just back from a 6 day break in The Algarve, and thought I'd leave a short review on the condition of the courses in Feb.

Dom Pedro Old Course 6/10: my return after 25 years since the first time I played it, and I was a little underwhelmed. It's got a bit scrappy in places and just doesn't have the same feel it used to. Greens are good and true, and still pretty quick for Feb. Fairways were a little damp after some rain, but it felt like drainage needed an upgrade. One fairway truly awful as it's next to 100 yards of GUR, meaning everyone is taking a drop and there's barely grass left on the fairway, and it's damp. Speaking to a local golf pro, a lot of them are hoping Dom Pedro sell up, as they haven't invested much in the courses. I wouldn't go back to play it again in current condition.
Food and service was very good.

Quinta do Lago Laranjal 9/10: my favourite course in the area and it never disappoints. Was in good condition with no real visible damp or bare patches. Bunkers are brutal, so avoid them. It's one of the few courses where the ball will sit quickly on a green, so you have to go almost at the flag. This would cost me for the rest of the trip, as the other greens release!
I never eat at Laranjal as it's a very small clubhouse/cafe.

Vale do Lobo Ocean 6/10: I've decided after playing this a few times that the front 9 is just a bit meh! Condition was okay, but not great. Again, damp and bare patches abound and just not that enjoyable. Greens still good and quick for the time of year. Some lovely holes on the back 9, but I won't be playing it again any time soon.
Food is very good here. Lunchtime service great, but dinner service was poor.

Vale do Lobo Royal 8/10: we asked them if they could do a twilight deal, but they said not until 3pm, but I should book online. Really weird, but did so and got 14.20 for €61! Then went back to the reception, who gave me my green fee card. Odd setup, but worked out.
The course is much better than the Ocean in terms of hole layout, and was in better condition too. Fairways had pretty good grass coverage and greens were the same as the Ocean.

Quinta do Lago North 8/10: another lovely course in good condition. You can see which courses are investing and which are just getting by. Fairways all good and greens are a test. Aprons on this were probably the best of the week. Spike bar food is very hit or miss, so don't bother eating here.

Dom Pedro Victoria 8/10: pretty good condition overall, but you can tell they are still getting it ready for mid/high season. Greens are really quick and fairways/ aprons in good nick. It helped I smoked my opening drive down the middle in front of the starter! Some brutal holes and it does play tough at times.
Food again good, but service not as good here compared to the Old Course.

I also heard from the local pro that Monte Rei needs a big dose of investment which it won't be getting anytime soon. They haven't reduced green fees and if you haven't played it before, you won't understand what all the hype was about at present. Wait until some money has been spent on it was his advice.

I’ve been an Algarve regular for the best part of 20 years and have played all the courses you mention a number of times. I totally agree with your comments regarding Laranjal - an absolute belter. And the bunkers have some of the deepest, softest sand I have ever seen!

I played Victoria only a few months ago and, again, agree with your observations. It helps that I generally play pretty well there! The Old Course has been so overplayed in the last few years that we tend to give it a swerve these days - the last couple of visits we have made we found it in less than inspiring condition and the pace of play was torturously slow.

I’m interested to hear your comments regarding Monte Rei. I’ve been lucky enough to play there many times, albeit I haven’t been there for about half a dozen years. We always found it exceptional, but the suggestion always was that they were aiming a little too high in their hopes to stage a Ryder Cup there. The course is outstanding, but it’s not a course for galleries and the infrastructure just isn’t there. And I don’t think they have ever broken ground on the second course, which was a selling point to those, including a good friend of mine, who spent serious money buying property there. He has placed his on the market owing to his frustrations. A real shame if it’s starting on a downward spiral because I never found the course or the service any less than first class.

We’ve started to spend more time over in the far western Algarve of late - some excellent courses but the prices are far more reasonable than the resort prices charged nearer to Faro.
 

gopher99

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Mar 15, 2019
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We have decided to go to play West Cliffs, Praia Del Rey and Royal Obidos this year as the prices quoted to us in the Vilamoura area were very high compared to previous years.
 

Wanabe

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Oct 6, 2022
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Just back, stayed at Magnolia Hotel and played Laranjal, very open but excellent condition as was Quinta North which is tighter but a really great course. Were surprised that golf transfers were not included in our YGT package and they messed up the outward flight as we had to argue with Easyjet that we had paid for cabin bags! Will play the South course next time - just wanted to play two courses twice. Ate one night down at the beach at Julia’s, really good food and stunning location. Cheeky Pup Irish pub good value in central Quinta resort. Royal Indian restaurant may be the best Indian food I have ever had and was really good value. Have heard some courses outside this resort are in financial trouble so we would stick to the Quinta courses, if we don’t go to Belen next year, as recommended by one of our group.
 

Brucelily

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Oct 22, 2020
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Qunita and Vale DL are overpriced I think but you are paying for the sun and location. Others a bit further out are much better value but out of the way
 

Wanabe

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Agree, I am sure, but heard some bad things about the condition of some of the other courses and that one has gone bankrupt. You get what you pay for and Quinta was superb in every way, from the hotel, courses, staff and local amenities. Would definitely go back.
 
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