Fancy the Algarve? Quinta do Lago’s the sweetspot, says Michael Weston
Quinta do Lago Golf Resort Review
T￼he number of top-class golf destinations clustered in and around Portugal’s southern region can cause a headache. Let’s make it easier for you. Quinta do Lago has everything you could want in a golf break and more. Surrounded by 2,000 acres of the picturesque Ria Formosa Natural Park, this luxurious resort offers guests access to its three beautiful and highly regarded courses, as well as a wide range of indoor and outdoor leisure activities.
Once you touch down at Faro Airport and hop on board your hotel transport, you’ll be cruising past lush fairways and perfectly manicured greens in under 15 minutes. Alluring as those flashes of green are, keep your eye out for a few restaurants along the way to visit later.
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First up, the South course opened for play in 1974 and remains the crown jewel of Quinta do Lago. It’s the work of American architect William Mitchell whose American standard tees and bunkers gained the venue instant recognition.
The Portuguese Open has been played here on eight occasions, Colin Montgomerie tasting victory on the South in 1989. Despite its championship pedigree, the course isn’t designed to exclude amateur golfers.
The challenge lies in finding the fairways. Going out, the holes weave through parkland before a testing back nine that loops around a lake, where you’re treated to some beautiful views out across the water.
The North course was redesigned in 2014 by Beau Welling and Paul McGinley, whose state-of-the-art Academy is also on site, as is the TaylorMade Performance Centre.
The multi-million pound investment has strengthened the layout, with the emphasis firmly on precision and strategy. As superb as the bunkering is, you’ll need your course management to be spot on to avoid spending the day playing recovery shots from the sand.
Completing this fine trio, Laranjal is located two kilometres to the east of the resort. You may need to negotiate a couple of narrow lanes to find it, but it’s an absolute gem.
Routed through orange groves, Laranjal was designed by Portuguese architect Jorge Santana da Silva and opened for play in 2009. The course has since gone from strength to strength, and its putting surfaces rank with the best in the Algarve.
There are no hidden surprises down the 1st, and long hitters may even be tempted to give the green a go at the par-4 2nd. On to the 4th and the first par 5 is a cracker. Be careful not to leak your drive too far right as water is lurking, while some huge bunkers will gather tee shots pulled to the left.
The view from the elevated tee at the par-4 5th is stunning, but your driving accuracy will be tested to the limit, especially if you’re playing into the sun.
Onto the par-5 6th – and tall pines flank the long fairway to the left and right as well as a series of large bunkers.
When water comes into play at Laranjal, it’s more obvious than some of the bunkers, which are often far larger than they appear from the tee. A lake looms large on the par-3 15th, before more water at the par-5 16th, all of which makes this course a tough test to the very last shot.
The Magnolia Hotel, which pays homage to Miami’s iconic motels, is the place to stay. With a heated outdoor salt-water pool, tennis court, cocktail bar, spa and cinema, it’s the perfect place to relax when you’re not golfing.
Why not head down to The Campus? It’s a new high-performance centre created for elite athletes. Fancy something more leisurely? There’s cycling, kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding.
You’ll leave Quinta do Lago feeling fit and refreshed, perhaps even with a couple of extra goals besides lowering your handicap, especially if you visit The Campus. Before you do so, be sure to refuel at Bovino, the most exclusive steakhouse experience in the Algarve.
Elsewhere, the Michelin-recommended Casa Velha restaurant serves authentic and classic cuisine, and on the lake’s edge, seafood lovers should book a table at Casa do Lago.
Don’t want to miss the evening’s live action? Head to Dano’s, the resort’s first sports gastropub, where you can enjoy delicious food and craft beer.
How to get there
Faro Airport is well served by flights across the UK, and is just a 15-minute drive from Quinta do Lago. The Magnolia Hotel offers guests transfer services.
Where to play
- North course Course stats: par 72, 6,725 yards
- South course Course stats: par 72, 7,040 yards
- Laranjal Course stats: par 72, 7,083 yards W: quintadolago.com
Where to stay
- The Magnolia Hotel W: themagnoliahotelqdl.com
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