Penha Longa (Atlantico)

Penha Longa (Atlantico)

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Course Information

There are two dominant themes at Penha Longa.

Firstly, its proximity to the Estoril motor racing circuit means your round is often played to the distant backdrop of high-powered cars and bikes whizzing along the famous tarmac.

And secondly that the land on which the course is built is so acutely undulating that it is scarcely believable an enjoyable experience can be had here.

The first aspect is likely to be evident as soon as you step out of your car and indeed if you are a petrol head merely driving past the entrance to the circuit en route to Penha Longa is also likely to be a thrill.

The race track features strongly on the back nine, especially at the 11th and 12th, when you will tee off and hole out to a backdrop of cars or bikes doing high-speed laps.

The second theme is evident throughout and it is little exaggeration to suggest that in the hands of an architect less skilled in working the difficult land that the Atlantico course at Penha Longa (there is also the nine-hole Monastery, which has excellent greens) sits on, it could have been laborious at best and very possibly just silly.

Instead, though, Penha Longa engaged Robert Trent Jones Jnr to design the course, although it was actually Kyle Phillips who did much of the work when he was working for that famous father-then-son firm.

In truth the topography is probably a little too undulating for truly great golf – perhaps unsurprisingly given it sits in the Sintra hills – and it required nous to extract as much as Phillips did.

Other than the occasional low buzz of the racing circuit, there is a real serenity to a round here, especially when playing along the lush valleys that almost feel like you are playing in the Amazon forest.

Some of the uphill holes are hard work but on then lower ground Phillips excelled and crafted a first-rate set of varied holes.

It is still a long way round – and for even fit players a buggy is not a bad idea – but it never crosses your mind that a golf course shouldn’t have been built here.

Other than the occasional low buzz of the racing circuit, there is a real serenity to a round here, especially when playing along the lush valleys that almost feel like you are playing in the Amazon forest.

The hilly theme is set by the 1st, a classy uphill opener played uphill, but it is not until you get to the 4th that you get to the ‘top’ of the property, where the views of the dense forest and Lisbon are awesome.

The acutely downhill short 5th and thrilling downhill drive on the 6th take you back down and they are followed by a gorgeous par 3 alongside the lake, with the green reached through a crumbling viaduct.

This short hole might be equalled for beauty on the back nine at the 15th, played over water to a green surrounded by funky swales and hollows with the wooded hillside beyond.   

It is said Penha Longa can get wet in winter because of the natural collection areas that result from such undulating topography but when we have visited – both in May and October – it has been in excellent condition. Chris Bertram

 

Information

Robert Trent Jones Jnr/Kyle Phillips

+351 21 924 9011

Estrada da Lagoa Azul , Linhó Sintra , Portugal , 2714-511