I’ve invited Portugal golfing expert, Andy Waple, to give us his tips on the best places to play golf in the Silver Coast of Portugal. Here’s what he has to say on the matter:
What’s so special about the Silver Coast of Portugal?
A relatively new course on the block has revitalised travelling golfers’ interest in the Silver Coast, which is situated about one hour’s drive north of Lisbon.
The Silver Coast (aka Costa da Prata) is largely an unspoiled part of Portugal’s fabulous Atlantic coastline with big beaches and crashing waves making it a favourite of the surfing set who converge on the famous Praia do Norte at Nazaré and the fishing port of Peniche, just 30 minutes drive from the Praia D’El Rey resort.
Nearby is the old walled town of Óbidos, a charming and popular day trip destination that’s worth a visit during a day off golf.
The Silver Coast golf scene
This area first became popular for golfers 20 years ago when the Praia D’El Rey course and its upscale properties opened to wide acclaim. The area’s appeal received a major shot in the arm in 2017 with the launch of the resort’s new course, West Cliffs Golf Links.
The first Portuguese venture by US designer Cynthia Dye has rapidly cemented its place amongst Portugal’s finest, indeed it is tipped to become known as one of the best in the whole of continental Europe. West Cliffs has already been named ‘World’s Best New Golf Course’ at the 2017 World Golf Awards.
Word is getting around, and figures reveal that the Praia D’El Rey Marriott Golf and Beach Resort as it is known, is Portugal’s most popular golf destination outside of the Algarve.
Business is booming with more than 33,000 rounds of golf played in the first five months of 2018 on the two courses.
The addition of West Cliffs makes the Silver Coast an appealing location for golfers who like to play a few different tracks on their week away – just round the corner within easy reach are Royal Óbidos Spa and Golf Resort (aka Evolutee Hotel) and Bom Sucesso Golf.
There are several ways to combine golf with accommodation and there are good deals to be had. The only downside of golf holidays in this area is there is little to do in the evenings unless someone is prepared to drive.
Praia D’El Rey Marriott Golf and Beach Resort
Cabell Robinson’s exceptional late-1990s layout at Praia D’El Rey has attracted visiting golfers since its inception and is famed for its challenge and variety.
It opens in parkland style, but soon some great holes hugging the wild Atlantic coastline among sweeping sand dunes take you into links-style territory. It returns to a more heathland appearance, winding its way back to the clubhouse.
This Silver Coast golf course is no pushover and indeed can be tough to play when the breeze blows off the beach. Better players will love it; the greens are true and it is an enjoyable test.
Book a room with your choice of views and massage or golf packages at Praia D’El Rey Golf Resort
West Cliffs Golf Links
West Cliffs has been created over 200 hectares of natural landscape and rolling sand dunes and is tipped to become the number one golf course in Portugal surpassing the Algarve’s Monte Rei.
Being relatively new, it currently looks a little scruffy in parts, particularly over the first three holes, but as it matures and blends into its wild landscape it will become a masterpiece.
Despite its youthful appearance, the fairways and greens are already in top shape, and the natural vegetation making up the rough is a pleasure on the eye, although a poor shot wide of the fairway will often lead to a lost ball.
The stretch from holes four to eight is particularly appealing, though fairly difficult. Variety is evident throughout the course, including on the huge rolling greens that present a number of challenges.
A few words of warning: Whatever your standard, play off the forward tees or West Cliffs will destroy you.
Royal Óbidos Spa & Golf Resort
Opened in 2012 it was the last course designed by Seve Ballesteros, and what a tribute to the great man it really is. It is described as a parkland/heathland hybrid that makes a nice contrast to the links-like courses of Praia D’El Rey and West Cliffs.
It differs from those in offering water hazards all over but its similarities include perfect maintenance and slick, large and undulating greens.
It features some great driving holes, notably the downhill par five 2nd, and the well-placed water hazards will amuse – particularly the one surrounding the island green on the par three 3rd, the extremely difficult 11th, and not least the spectacular finale on the 18th.
Tip: It plays pretty long, so be warned, and it’s fairly hilly with leg-sapping distances from green to tee, so a buggy is advisable.
Book a room or suite at Royal Obidos Spa & Golf resort, also known as Evolutee Hotel.
Golf travel journalist Andy Waple struck his first ball in Portugal in the early 1980s at Quinta do Lago and was immediately hooked. He has since travelled the world playing and reviewing some of the finest and far-flung courses and resorts and as a long standing member of the International Golf Travel Writers Association, his work has appeared in many UK based publications. Andy visits Portugal regularly to enjoy the country’s golf, culture and cuisine.
Follow Andy’s golfing updates on Twitter: @andywaple
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