Experience the thrill of flying to Lisbon, Portugal for an unforgettable golfing experience – one of the best in Europe even. There are flights into Lisbon Airport from various locations across the UK. The hour-long drive is worth the experience.
When you arrive at the five star Marriott Praia D’El Rey Resort near the town of Obidos, you soon understand just how special your visit will be.
This modern Hotel has benefitted from significant investments, and now offers 177 modern rooms and all the luxurious facilities you would expect from a five-star property. With choice of views from your room – sea view or a view over the golf course – and the extra-large beds, you can be sure of a good night’s sleep throughout your stay.
There are plenty of places to enjoy a relaxing evening in the city, including two restaurants and several bars. If you need to unwind, you’ll find several refreshing treatments at the Kalyan Spa, including massages and body scrubs. The hotel has an indoor pool and a large outdoor pool surrounded by a sun terrace overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.
In the morning, you have a very efficient free shuttle service to either of the Resorts two golf courses Praia D’el Rey or West Cliffs. Both courses constantly rank in the top-ten list of Portugal’s golf courses.
We suggest you start at Praia Del Rey – not that it’s an easy course, but the fairways are a little wider and the greens a little easier. The American designer, Cabell B. Robinson, built a golf course that is scenically spectacular and challenging to golfers of all abilities. This course is often referred to as the Pebble Beach of Europe and the reputation it has earned is exceptional. The course runs along a cliff top with amazing views over the Atlantic Ocean while it winds through a forest of pine trees.
The opening hole is a gentle dog left that belies what is to come. However, when you stand on the elevated tee of the par 5 second hole and see the ocean providing a background to what is a challenging hole – with a lake and bunkers on the right to catch the wayward drive – you know you are in for a treat. From there, the holes go inland and many of them are reminiscent of Woburn or similar UK courses ,where you play through the pine forest and require precision off the tee.
You are then required to hit your second shot to an elevated green that has subtle borrows that will test your putting skill and nerve. The par 3 eighth hole is a little gem that looks like it’s been modelled on the 12th hole at Augusta. Depending on which tee you play it from, it varies in distance from 86 – 174 metres hitting from an elevated tee over a lake
Several of the holes on the back 9 are just spectacular with the ocean on your left side – which on a calm day is a treat, but on a windy day, it provides a tough challenge as the crashing of the waves is accompanied by gusts that seriously effect the flight of your ball. The stretch of holes from the 13th to the 15th are pure links golf and will provide a lasting memory and plenty of photo opportunities. The 17th is one of the longest holes in Portugal at just over 600 yards uphill.
You will walk off after playing Praia D’El Rey for the first time knowing that not only is it one of the most dramatic golf courses in Europe, it’s also a real challenge. Believe us, you haven’t seen anything yet!
West Cliffs is about 5 minutes further from the hotel and again there is a free shuttle bus service, so you are never waiting for long to experience this magnificent golf course. Designed by Cynthia Dye McGarey – Pete Dye’s niece – this golf course one of the most attractively sculpted golf courses anywhere with a stunning range of fauna which provides a colourful background to the exquisitely manicured fairways.
First opened in 2017, one would expect it to be still a little rough around the edges, but not a bit of it. We first visited it a couple of years ago and indeed it was a little open but now it’s a different story. It’s hard to explain what makes this place so special – the unique atmosphere makes it feel as though it has been part of the landscape for years.
As soon as you arrive at the clubhouse and look out through the picture windows, your expectations are raised by the modern, large clubhouse and picturesque views of the practice range and several of the holes. One can easily be seduced by the ocean views and natural surroundings, but it’s when you step on the first tee that you fully experience what a treat you have in store.
The fairway stretches out in front of you to an elevated green protected by two large bunkers. If you miss the fairway, then you will get your first experience of what goes for rough here – the dreaded ice plants and other local fauna. The course continues offering unique challenges with stunning par 3’s and testing par 5’s until you come to the 18th hole which is one of the best finishing holes anywhere. The fairway looks invitingly wide from the elevated tee but unless you reach the correct side of it, you will be left with an incredibly difficult second shot over water to a green that slopes away from you. This is an example of the challenges this course sets – so, do you lay up or go for the hero shot? Either way, it’s a great way to finish one of Europe’s finest golf courses.
Finally, a word of warning both these great courses have 5 different teeing grounds to play from and it is imperative that you choose the right one. Don’t let your ego spoil what could be a great experience by trying to play off the back tees unless you are a professional as there are large carries over the rough before you reach the fairways.
We would suggest the middle tees will suit most golfers and you will still have some golf balls left in your bag by the finish!
Both courses can be walked but a buggy would be a good idea as there are long walks from green to tee at West Cliffs.
- Flights – Several airlines (TAP, BA, EasyJet, Ryanair etc) fly from most UK airports into Lisbon
- Transfers – The Resort is about an hour drive from Lisbon Airport and the easiest way to get there is to have a transfer by minibus. Recommended option for groups.
- Car Hire – There are several car hire companies at the airport. Recommended for couples / groups of four whom want to explore Obidos and/or Lisbon.
- From the championship tees 7000 yards
- Par 73
- Designer: Cabell B. Robinson
- Opened in 1977
- From the Championship tees 7000 yards
- Par 75
- Designer: Cynthia Dye
- Opened in 2017
There are also two other courses close by Royal Obidos and Bom Successo that are well worth visiting.