Portuguese resort is the perfect ‘one stop shop’ for holiday golfers looking for a quick route to the sun
There are few better golf destinations on your doorstep than Portugal’s Algarve. Narrow that region down to the collection of courses under the banner of Oceânico Golf, and you’re in golf holiday heaven.
The company owns seven highly regarded championship golf courses, all easily within an hour’s drive from Faro airport, making it perhaps Europe’s most accessible golf destination for sun-seeking golfers.
The most famous of the courses is Oceânico Victoria, home to the Portugal Masters on the European Tour since 2007. Previous winners of the event include Alvaro Quiros, Lee Westwood and Irish star Shane Lowry.
It is a popular course with the players and, according to previous winner Quiros, that’s for good reason. “It has the best weather, one of the best courses we play all year and has the best food on tour,” he told us. “I love the tournament.”
Former Ryder Cup player Francesco Molinari is also a huge fan of the layout and said he looks forward to the tour stop every year.
“I have always enjoyed coming here,” he said. “You know, it’s a good course, a great event, and the weather is usually best of the year, so it’s always nice to come here.
“The scoring is quite good, so you need to putt well to go deep under par. But at the same time there’s a few water hazards in play, so you need to be a bit careful off the tee. You can be aggressive with the rest of the game.”
The golf course is set in wetland, where several holes are guarded by lakes, including the superb closing two holes, where you can easily throw away a good score. The fairways are relatively wide, meaning it’s a good driver’s course, and there are a number of interesting par-4s, where a solid drive will set you up with a good birdie opportunity. The bunkers are large and deep, a deadly combination should your iron play not be up to scratch.
Overall, it’s great fun to play and headlines Oceânico’s Famous Five, the golf courses in the Vilamoura area under the Oceanico banner. Including Oceanico Victoria, the remaining four courses in this area are Oceânico Old, Oceânico Pinhal, Oceânico Laguna and Oceânico Millennium. The Frank Pennink-designed Oceanico Old is, quite simply, one of the best golf courses in Europe and is an absolute must on your stay. Its tight, compact fairways are lined with huge pine trees, meaning you need to be accurate off the tee, and also when playing into relatively small greens. The course is routinely in immaculate condition.
Two comparatively new courses have joined the Oceânico stable in recent years, the Faldo Course and O’Connor Jnr Course, based at the Oceânico Amendoeira Resort, roughly a 30 minute drive up the main road towards Silves. Fescue fringes the Bermuda fairways on the Faldo Course, while ancient olive trees, cacti and wild herbs have been allowed to flourish, creating definitive borders between holes. The views on the back nine are superb.
The flatter land at Amendoeira was given to O’Connor. His task was to contrast but complement with the Faldo Course. Numerous lakes are incorporated into the design, along with an easier walking route, giving the O’Connor a more traditional golf setting.
Seven golf courses, excellent accommodation opportunities, wonderful food and a quality of service that many resorts struggle to match, you can easily see why Oceanico Golf should be on your agenda next time you plan a trip abroad.
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