8 July, 2020       LISBON - MAX. Partly sunny and cooler but pleasantº, MIN. 03º

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Folders  |  Lisbon: a true paradise for golfers
Lisbon: a true paradise for golfers
Alexis Goosdeel
Lisbon: a true paradise for golfers

Lisbon: A true paradise for golfers

The region of Lisbon is a true paradise for golfers : within a radius of 40 kms of the capital there are all kinds of courses, all levels of difficulty, and very different layouts. Portugal also offers you the big advantage of not having to be a member to be able to play on any of its numerous courses.  The only limitation is your handicap – certain clubs do not accept having 28-plus players over the week-end, so as not to slow down the game. Another important advantage is that here you can play all the year round, thanks to a particularly pleasant and mild climate.

Since golf is a sport of passion, and played at various levels, it is difficult for us to compare the various courses, as it is their variety that marks the charm of the region. Finally, what we propose is to share with you moments of pleasure, and sometimes of pain, which we have experienced while playing on some of these courses. We therefore invite each of you to react and share your experiences with others, in order to build up a necessarily subjective view, but closer to the sport and what we are searching for.

Ah yes, one more detail : taste, colour, and financial means are not up for discussion ;  we will not enter here into details of the cost of « green-fees », or membership fees, or entry rights. Each one makes his own choice, bearing in mind that « green-fees » are generally less expensive during the week than at weekends.
On the other hand, the addresses of reference sites worth noting will be given on this website, to complete your information.

Without your participation, our list would be incomplete, so do not hesitate to share with us your suggestions and your comments (good or bad) and we will take them into account. Tell us also of other references you think could be added to the list. Finally, we would remind you that we cannot be held responsible in any case of dissatisfaction or failure of services referred to on this site.

First of all, tell us if you are looking for a course :

A. In the city or close to the city, to hit some balls at lunchtime, or to play a quick 9 holes?
B. That is overlooking the sea, a links-type course perhaps?
C. Not too far from Lisbon, that reeks of tradition but which is sometimes innovative and audacious ?
D. Modern, within a high-quality development, on this side of the Tagus ?
E. Exceptional, of great interest, but equally difficult ?
F. In the midst of umbrella pines and close to the sea ?
G. On the riverside plain of the Tagus, surrounded by cork-oaks ?
H. That gives you a foretaste of the Alentejo region ?

A. in the city or close to the city, to hit some balls at lunchtime, or to play a quick 9 holes?

If this is what you are looking for, preferably head for the Bela Vista and Paço de Lumiar courses: these are two delightful 9-hole courses close to the airport. Bela Vista is the closest to the airport (5 minutes by taxi) ; it was the first public golf course opened in Portugal some years ago. It also has, besides a driving-range and putting-green, a quality restaurant. Possibility of lessons by appointment. The ideal course for learning golf, and for the pleasure of playing near to the office in less than 2 hours, including the trip there and back.

With Paço do Lumiar, we have to move faster as it is a slightly longer, more challenging 9-hole course. It has a very active teaching academy, specially for the kids, and has available good professional teachers, though sometimes expensive. 9 holes, 29 strokes, over 1.561 metres.

B. A classic links-type course that overlooks the sea?

If you are ready for a car drive, there are two imposing courses further from Lisbon: Praia del Rey and Troia. To describe them briefly, with these two courses you move into a higher league : both have high levels of difficulty and quality, including accommodation and restaurants.

Praia del Rey Golf & Country Club, is known for the pleasure it gives to good players, and therefore for its difficulty. This is a classic « links-type » course, stretching along the dunes and cliffs, its 18 holes covering 6.625 metres, with a par 72 that defies most good players… and risks giving nightmares to others…

The golf at Troia is situated some 40 kilometers south of Lisbon. You pass Setúbal and catch the ferry that connects the port to the peninsula. It is an 18-hole, par-72 layout with an excellent reputation and very challenging, with its 6.230 metres. Some consider it to be one of Europe’s finest courses. If you are feeling tempted, you must be patient however: the course has been undergoing renovation works since 25th October 2007, to 29th February 2008. Take the opportunity to practise in the meantime !

C. A course not too far from Lisbon, that reeks of tradition but which is sometimes innovative and audacious ?

Lisbon Sports Club and Estoril Golf Club welcome you with open arms, both about 25km from Marquês de Pombal.

Lisbon Sports Club was founded around 1880 by the British ; it was then situated in the place called « Campo Pequeno » in Lisbon. In 1900, it opened its first 6-hole golf course in Algés. Later, it changed locations several times to end up at Belas in 1962, and only in 1992 did it become an 18-hole layout, which it is now. It is a very pleasant country course, with fairly wide and long fairways that are full of surprises. It is not very long (5.278 metres for a 69 par), but nevertheless it is fairly difficult. For GPS users: the itinerary proposed by TomTom does not work, because the route it proposes crosses private property, and is therefore impractical. The simplest way is to go to Belas village, take the first road climbing up to the right and rejoin the Nacional XXXX.

Estoril Golf Club is a « monument » within the Lisbon golf scene, as it is one of the oldest (founded 1929) ; besides that, it has been the venue for numerous prestigious events, although it suffered an « amputation » (the former 9th hole) during the construction of the Lisbon-Cascais highway. The atmosphere is very pleasant, the clubhouse has maintained an ambience that reeks of old leather and long discussions at the « 19th » hole, in an area (Estoril) that embraced royalty in exile. There are in fact two courses : the official « Championship » 18-hole course, (the only « real » one) with par 69 over 5.313 metres, and the 9-hole « Blue » course, more accessible but not without difficulties.

D. A modern course, within a high-quality development, on this side of the Tagus ?

The impressive development of golf courses in Portugal is strictly related to the housing-estate projects that go with them, as can be seen in the surrounding areas of Lisbon with the courses of Belas, Quinta da Marinha and Quinta de Beloura.

If housing is relatively concentrated at Belas, it is of the « prestigious » category at Quinta da Marinha, while at Beloura it is in an advanced state of proliferation.

Belas Country Club is built over a slightly mountainous area, Serra da Carregueira, where houses are built quite high up, and the course meanders through the valleys. This gives an 18-hole par-72 layout over 6.380 metres, with a good level of difficulty.

Quinta da Marinha is a course that has evolved according to the needs of its clientele/members: initially conceived as a 9-hole layout, it soon became an 18-hole par-71 course, that challenges you throughout its 6.017 metres. It has three interesting characteristics : at first there are views over the ocean, then you have some water obstacles, and finally quite small greens that require precise approach play.

At Quinta de Beloura, we can enjoy the 5.878-metre par-72 course, which has beautiful views, various water hazards, and a good level of difficulty. When the wind blows off the Serra de Sintra close by, the course becomes tougher, despite the presence of (too ?) many houses.

E. An exceptional course, of great interest, but equally difficult ?

Here, do not waste a moment, leave Lisbon heading towards Cascais or Sintra, to discover the Oitavos and Penha Longa courses.

Worthy of kings : Oitavos Golf, built on the boundary of the Sintra-Cascais natural park and bordering the ocean, is an absolute « must » - 71 par over 6.303 metres. The course unfolds amongst the dunes alongside the ocean, with an unbeatable view of the tormented waters of Guincho, and under the surveillance of the Cabo da Roca lighthouse, marking the western-most point of Europe.  In normal weather, it is of a very high level, but it becomes very difficult whenever the wind picks up.

In another genre, this time mountainous, on the opposite side of the same natural park, there rises the Penha Longa course, with its 6.290 metres at different levels from the Atlantic. The situation, like Oitavos, is of breath-taking beauty, and conceals from you numerous surprises on very windy days. This is the price that very good players have to pay to show their class. For the less advanced players, there is also a very good 9-hole course, called « Mosteiro », meaning monastery. One last detail : the greens are particularly fast at the corner, so be careful !

F. A course in the midst of umbrella pines and close to the sea ?

Let us embark upon a trip to the other side of the Tagus, taking the 25 de Abril bridge, and along the Costa da Caparica coast to discover two jewels in a crown of green: Aroeira I and II.

Aroeira I, with its par-72, 6.044 metres, is the older course of the two. While the first 9 holes may seem easy, the golfer’s complacency is soon shaken by the more difficult second nine, all set in beautiful surroundings

With Aroeira II we have a different story, one of water and sand, that unravels over 6.367 metres and par 72, reserving numerous surprises and a higher general level of difficulty.

Both courses share the same welcoming clubhouse, with excellent practice facilities, and the persistent green nature is always well maintained whatever the weather conditions . On this course it is imperative to hit the ball straight (here more than anywhere else) or else you may hear the ball ricocheting endlessly amongst the umbrella pines… we have warned you !

G. A course on the plain of the Tagus?

Then do not hesitate : about 50 to 60 kms from Lisbon, you will discover the Ribatejo and its cork-oaks, with courses that have a very different phisionomy from all those we have described up till now : Ribagolfe I and II, Santo Estevão.

On Ribagolfe’s menu, we have two 18-hole 72-par courses, one 6.707m and the other 6.214m. Flat courses, easy at first, but which nevertheless require steady play, and when the sun is at its peak, also stamina and strong calf-muscles. And all this within a quite different vegetation : here there are no maritime pine or eucalyptus trees, but the cork-oak, its trees protected and numbered.

Santo Estevão is a par-73 course of 6.382 metres, in the heart of a 72-hectare property, with not too many physical obstacles, that offers pleasure and remains accessible to all players.

H. Ready to take the Alentejo route ?

On the road to Setúbal, the geography starts to change once you have passed the dormitory towns that appear soon after you have crossed the 25 de Abril bridge. This is where the Quinta do Perú and Montado golf courses are located.

Quinta do Peru is near Azeitão and Serra da Arrabida, offering a par-72 championship course of great beauty over 6.036 metres. The difficulties are varied and at times challenge both good players and professionals, who also benefit from a countryside atmosphere that blooms profusely in season.

The Montado course was remodelled in 2005 and re-opened its doors in 2006. It is a championship course, 72 par with 6.224 metres, laid out over an undulating terrain, close to vineyards. There are enough obstacles and difficulties to satisfy a good golfer, the high point being the 18th hole… on an island. Have with you some extra balls, as these may be useful !

So there you have it, the promenade is complete ; now it is up to you to write of your own golf experiences around Lisbon with your clubs and your shoes, on foot or by buggy. Here’s to the pleasure of perhaps meeting you on a course, or even at the 19th hole !

List of golf clubs

Out of the following buildings, which do you think best symbolises Lisbon?
Belém tower
Mosteiro dos Jerónimos
25th April bridge
Praça do Comércio (square)
S. Jorge Castle
Rossio Station
Cathedral (Sé)
Free water aqueduct
Monument to discoveries
Santa Justa elevator
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