The South course at Quinta do Lago has reopened following a £7 million renovation.
This upgrade was only possible because golf was suspended during the pandemic.
This is the most popular of Quinta do Lago’s three courses, which hosted the Portugal Masters – won recently by Thomas Pieters – eight times between 1976 and 2001. The first of Colin Montgomerie’s 31 European Tour wins came here, in 1989, by 11 strokes.
One of the major changes has been to soften the dogleg on the much-criticised par-4 8th.
But the most striking change is around the 16th green, which has been extended back left with the undergrowth to its rear cleared to present a dramatic view of the lake when you crest the hill on the fairway of this par 4.
The par-3 15th is played over another part of this lake. The green has also had undergrowth cleared behind it, so now a safety-first tactic is offered: if you are in doubt, it is best to ‘over club’.
Much of the work on the South was to increase its sustainability – water usage has been reduced by 10-15 per cent as a result of the changes and investment, according to the course superintendent.
The adjoining North course has some interesting green complexes set in undulating landscape. Here, the holes seem less encroached upon by housing than on the South.
While you can walk the South, the North is designed for buggies as it has some long treks between holes and you also criss-cross the roads of the resort several times.
The resort’s third course, Laranjal, is on a separate site a short drive east. After a pretty opener, you come to the 2nd hole with its water – which is not really in play – and lots of bunkering. Both of these are to be recurring features of the round.
The two nines on Laranjal have been reversed from when the course first opened for play in 2009. This means the most distinctive hole is now the 18th – an ‘S-shaped’ par 5 with water in both crooks of the ‘S’.
There is a lot of water on the site, but rarely should it impinge on your strategy for playing the hole.
An exception, other than 18, is the stroke-index-one 7th, where a lake flanks the right of the drive and then has to be crossed en route to the green. A frogman was going in to retrieve balls as we played.
There is also an exceptional mini golf course on site which is well worth a visit.
How to get there
Faro airport is about 25 minutes away, with direct flights from many UK airports.
Where to play
Quinta do Lago South
Stats: par 72, 7,016 yards
Quinta do Lago North
Stats: par 72, 6,698 yards
Quinta do Lago Laranjal
Stats: par 72, 7,042 yards
Where to stay
What it costs
Rounds of golf can be booked on any of the courses from €160pp. Magnolia Hotel offers three nights B&B in a standard double room with two rounds of golf or a €75 spa voucher from €681; five nights B&B with three rounds of golf or a €175 spa voucher from €1,040.
Contributing Writer Golf courses and travel are Roderick’s particular interests and he was contributing editor for the first few years of the Golf Monthly Travel Supplement. He writes travel articles and general features for the magazine, travel supplement and website. He also compiles the magazine's crossword. He is a member of Trevose Golf & Country Club and has played golf in around two dozen countries. Cricket is his other main sporting love. He is the author of five books, four of which are still in print: The Novel Life of PG Wodehouse; The Don: Beyond Boundaries; Wally Hammond: Gentleman & Player and England’s Greatest Post-War All Rounder.
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