Not many clubs or resorts boast three courses. An even smaller number of those venues have courses so closely matched in quality that there is widespread debate as to the 1-2-3 order of them. Quinta do Lago is one.
Along with the feted likes of Woburn, Wentworth and Gleneagles, all three courses at this Algarve resort are slightly different but all are high calibre, making it therefore difficult to identify which is definitively the best.
The South is however regarded as the crown jewel, even if some prefer the North – also in our continental Top 100 – and Laranjal, which is just outside it.
Designed in 1974, this 7,100-yard course winds among umbrella pines, lakes and wild flowers, overlooking the Ria Formosa.
The South opened in 1974 and was immediately popular in its then form, an initial 27-hole layout that incorporated today’s South course with nine holes of the current North.
The fledgling course held the Portuguese Open in 1976 with Spain’s Salvador Balbuena beating Scotland’s Sam Torrance by four shots. It was the first of eight Portuguese Opens there up to 2001.
This 7,100-yard course winds among umbrella pines, lakes and wild flowers, overlooking the Ria Formosa that plays such a big part in the area.
The front nine winds through parkland lined by mature trees while the back nine scenically loops around a lake.
Despite hosting the Portuguese Open on so many occasions, it remains playable for the higher-handicap amateur – although dog-legs and strategically located hazards increase the course’s difficulty. Chris Bertram