Penha Longa Golf Course

Penha Longa Atlantico course is listed in the Top 100 golf resorts of Continental Europe and in the top 10 in Portugal.

The resort also offers a 9 hole course, the Monastery course.  The Monastery can be combined with the front nine or the back nine of the Atlantic course to form the North & South routes for play.

The Penha Longa Resort can be found 16 miles from downtown Lisbon (approx. 30min drive) and just 10 minutes from the lovely beaches and towns of Estoril and Cascais.

OK, First Impressions:

Huge, hidden expanse of surprises sitting on the edge of the Sintra Natural Preserve. Upon driving into this resort, the entrance seems to magically expand into an intimate, heavily ‘treed’ expanse of green with some jutting rocks and impressive stone structures of a former era; together they set up an atmosphere of expectation.

Even the grand building that houses the hotel and clubhouse, as large as it is, is mostly hidden in this natural environment or partially camouflaged by part of the 16th century Penha Longa monastery complex that has undergone some painstaking and worthy restoration.

The Courses:

That lovely feel of outdoor intimacy changes a little to present long, colourful, fairway corridors that lead to some of the highest grounds on the estate.

‘Going Up’ Fairway at Penha Longa

So, as you can guess, the courses here are hilly and have some rather long holes. Prepare for some fine breezes on the hills but also take a few moments to take in the wonderful views on offer too.  

As one golfer put it, ‘ The play is soft going but the design and terrain lend a tough enough play’. Certainly the grass condition was good (and even the flags were in perfect condition) when visited earlier this year. While the greens are attractive and well maintained, they exhibited toughness when heavily guarded by large, deep bunkers and/or some rather lovely water features.

The fourth hole of the Monastery Course is by the lovely old monastery built by St Jerome in 1355 and the reason for its name of course.

Both courses offer great views but there is a lovely view of the Penha Longa Palace by hole 9 on the Monastery course.  The Championship course also brings you a couple of reflective lakes by the 7th & 15th but hole 16 is probably the more difficult as it demands a long drive across a valley area and then up to a narrow green.

You are quite fit if you play 18 holes here without use of a buggy but no matter how you play, you will find the place, as expansive as it is, quite endearing.

Anytime is a good time to hang out and enjoy the club restaurant. It is a comfortable, modern setting overlooking the course and best of all, offers wonderful light fare by Sergio Arola.

Of Interest Nearby:

Sintra:

A UNESCO World Heritage Site as it was the first centre of European Romantic architecture.

Places of Interest: Pena Palace, Moorish Castle, Queluz Palace, Quinta da Regaleira.

http://cm-sintra.pt

Cascais & Estoril:

Cascais offers the wild Guincho beach (surfing etc), Cascais Cultural Centre, nightlife and much more.

http://cm-cascais.pt

Boca do Inferno – Cascais

Estoril’s coast is awash with beaches and tourist activities, eg. Fine dining, casino, day tours, etc.

http://estorilportugal.com/

Praia do Tamariz – Estoril

Lisbon:

Down the road … but won’t go into all to do there. Check out http://www.visitlisboa.com/

Exploring Off Course

 

When you or your non-golfing companions have an itch to explore and experience the offerings off the golf course, you may need a little guidance on where to go, what to see, or know when things are afoot.

So, for you, here are a few tourist links to aid your search for the best, the different and the necessary in Portugal and The Balearic Islands/Spain:

PORTUGAL:         https://www.visitportugal.com/en

Porto and North:

https://www.visitportugal.com/en/destinos/porto-e-nortettp://

www.visitporto.travel/Visitar/Paginas/default.aspx

Yes, Lisbon

Lisbon:           http://www.visitlisboa.com/

Cascais:          http://www.visitcascais.com/

Sintra:            http://www.sintra-portugal.com/index.html

Algarve:

http://www.visitalgarve.pt/?idioma=en

http://www.turismodoalgarve.pt/home.html

Azores:          http://www.destinazores.com/en/index.php

Madeira:      http://www.visitmadeira.pt/en-gb/homepage

 

 

Madrid street scene- Siesta Time

SPAIN:         http://www.spain.info/en/

Mallorca:    http://www.spain.info/en/que-quieres/ciudades-pueblos/provincias/mallorca.html

Balearic Islands:  http://www.illesbalears.es/ing/balearicislands/home.jsp

 

 

We will take a closer look as some of the wonderful things to see and do in these areas in the coming weeks.

Sure, play some great golf but you owe it to yourself to explore further afield.

 

Check us out on Twitter for some event updates.

 

 

 

Portugal Has Links Courses Too

Royal County Down’s links course, Ireland. Voted No. 1 on Golf Digest’s World 100 – 2016/17

WHAT IS A LINKS COURSE ANYWAY?

The British Golf Museum provides the following definition:

A golf links is a stretch of land near the coast characterised by undulating terrain, often associated with dunes, infertile sandy soil and indigenous grasses such as marram, sea lyme and the fescues and bents which, when properly managed, produce the fine textured, tight turf for which links are famed”.

Now, we all know that just because a golf course sits by a vast expanse of water, a true links course it does not make. Criteria to be met should include most if not all of the following: the coast, sand/sandy soil, few or no trees, pop in some gorse or similar vegetation, naturally formed dunes and smooth (usually firm) undulating ground acting as a transition terrain to a different landscape and now you have a links.

Good links courses can’t be found in too many countries and most golfers are familiar with and want to play  the great links courses of Scotland and Ireland (and rightfully so) – no matter what the weather. Can’t say there is anything wrong with that but ….

IT’S COOL TO PLAY A LINKS WITHOUT A RAINCOAT & JUMPER TOO!

oitavosdunes_hole10_b_par4

Oitavos Dunes – hole 10. Portugal

But, playing a links course in the dead of winter without layering up until your arms are almost immobile sounds attractive, no? Well, how about considering playing some links courses in Portugal? Yes indeed, Portugal boasts a few nice links courses too.

I know when it comes to playing golf in Portugal we don’t automatically think ‘links.’ Our main thoughts roam more towards sunny weather in lovely areas close to enticing long beaches. Well, while Portugal can certainly deliver all that, lets just take a moment to consider some cool ‘links courses’ on offer there too.

SO, WHERE ARE THE PORTUGUESE LINKS COURSES?

The following are some of the courses in Portugal that meet the ‘links’ criteria – or at least most of them. Some may have a few more trees than you are used to, or the dunes are smaller, but hey, they are certainly not parkland courses.

Click on the names above to visit their websites.

So perhaps investigate these courses to enjoy the ambience and wonderful views and then compare to links you have played elsewhere.

AND OFF THE LINKS ?

As you can see from the map above, three of the courses are in the Lisbon (Lisboa) area, the Estela is north of Porto, Porto Santo is on the lovely island of Madeira and the Salgados is in the Algarve. So, to help you discover more to do in the surrounding areas, (local activities & attractions or source accommodation), check out these few interesting tourism sites:

Portugal,  Lisbon,  Cascais & SintraAlgarvePorto

Enjoy and thanks for visiting.

 

LOOK FOR OUR NEXT POST for A FEW HINTS ON PLAYING A LINKS COURSE