Vilamoura (Old)

Vilamoura (Old)

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Course Information

Now part of the Dom Pedro collection of courses, the Grand Old Lady of the Algarve remains in our view one of the top 50 in Continental Europe.

The Old was laid out by Frank Pennink in 1969 and despite a vast number of additions to the Algarve’s golf landscape since then, it still has very few peers.

Monte Rei would edge it for most, as a high-end experience and an undeniably good test of all aspects of the game. Palmares has its new seaside action to offer something distinctive. But the Old has class, pedigree and charm.

The flags that flutter on tall poles around the clubhouse are also an indication you are at somewhere with a worldwide reputation and global appeal.

Their character and history are clearly poles apart, but there are some similarities between the Olds of St Andrews and Vilamoura in the respective ways they effortlessly captivate you.

Even to the uninitiated, a round here is patently one steeped in history, the low-rise, dark brown wooden clubhouse and its clay tile roof and old-fashioned verandah a welcome change from glass and marble of today’s try-hard venues.

The flags that flutter on tall poles around the clubhouse are also an indication you are at somewhere with a worldwide reputation and global appeal.

The lack of real estate on the edge of the course is also an indication this is not s standard venue, and that fact is illustrated on the gentle downhill 1st.

While there are more villas in your sightline on the next two holes, there is much less residential development here than almost anywhere else in the region.

Highlights of the rest of the front nine include a wonderful short hole at the 4th over a pond as well as up and over umbrella pines that offer no more than a 10-yard gap if you want to try a lower route.

Another super par 3 arrives two holes later, a more exacting test between the tall pines that characterise the entire round in both a visual and challenging sense.

The stellar opening half concludes with a classy, serene two-shot hole followed by a sporty par 4 that is approached via an entrance narrowed by trees and bunkers.

As other older Algarve courses have lost a little of their sheen, the Old remains effortlessly charming.

The pace is maintained at the start of the back nine with a cool par 3 over a valley to a plateau green enclosed by trees.

It is followed by a strong par 4 from an elevated tee to a green cuddled by a semi-circle of pines and then at 14 the Old arguably shows its best face, a high-class par 4 in the middle of the property in total seclusion.

The next is probably the pick of the par 3s – played to an elevated green with pines around most of its circumference and  bunkers short of it – as the Old moves up a notch for its conclusion.

As other older Algarve courses have lost a little of their sheen, the Old remains effortlessly charming. Chris Bertram

 

Information

Frank Pennink

+351 289 310 333

Volta Golfinho 24 , Quarteira , Vilamoura , Portugal , 8125-507