Looking for your next trip to Portugal? The Amendoeira Golf Resort provides everything you could possibly want from a golfing holiday.
There are plenty of places where you can find two sublime 18-hole courses. Amendoeira Golf Resort has two courses designed by golfing legends.
Throw in a floodlit Academy Course and amazing accommodation options, and you get Amendoeira, one of several incredible resorts in the Algarve region of Portugal.
Luckily, our trip to the Algarve was in November, so we had the added bonus of leaving the miserable British weather behind to enjoy some gorgeous Portuguese sun.
The resort is situated just half an hour from Faro Airport, which makes it very accessible for British visitors, with plenty of flights to a range of British airports coming to and from Faro each day.
So what makes Amendoeira Golf Resort so special?
Golf Courses Designed by Legends
Amendoeira is fairly unique in the fact that it’s two 18-hole courses were designed by a pair of golfing legends.
The courses – the Faldo Course and the O’Connor Jnr Course – are named after their designers. Sir Nick Faldo, the six-time major champion, was the man behind the award-winning course at Amendoeira.
Christy O’Connor Jnr, the man who hit THAT 2-iron at the 1989 Ryder Cup, designed the other golfing option at Amendoeira, which is actually longer than the Faldo Course.
We got there around lunchtime on Sunday, and following a bite to eat, went straight out on to the O’Connor Jnr Course.
The O’Connor Jnr Course is perhaps seen as the secondary course at Amendoeira, but by no means is that the case.
It is actually longer than the Faldo Course, playing at more than 7,300 yards from the back tees, and from personal experience, it is a tougher challenge.
Water hazards come into play on the majority of holes, starting with the opening tee shot. The 1st on the O’Connor Jnr Course is a long dog-leg par-5, and although it looks like a wide landing area for your first shot of the day, it really isn’t..
I almost found the water to the right of the fairway, and that was actually a sign of things to come for the rest of the day really.
A driveable par-4 and a short par-3 follow, both of which also have plenty of water around. The 3rd is a lovely par-3 with water and sand on the right side. A birdie here made my day, despite the rest of the scorecard… I just had to get in that I made a 2!
There are some great holes on the O’Connor Jnr Course, with the 8th and 10th being two of the best around the turn. The latter features a 90 degree right turn, giving golfers the option to take a long iron or hybrid to the corner, or take driver and go for it all. A beautiful risk-reward hole, and one that if I played again, I would be tempted to take on!
As the round continued, the sun started to set, providing a beautiful backdrop for a game of golf. Despite it being mid-November, the climate of the Algarve meant it was shorts and short-sleeves, even when finishing up at 6 or 7 in the evening.
Following a good night’s rest, we took on the Faldo Course in the morning. First things first, buggies are included in all green fees at Amendoeira, and that’s a good thing!
As you can see in the picture above, there are some severe elevation changes on the Faldo Course.
The Faldo opens up with a tight driving hole. A long par-4 leads into a short par-3 and then a downhill par-4 back towards the driving range and practice facilities. The 3rd is one of those holes where if you’re feeling confident, driver is certainly the play.
A short drive round the other side of the practice facilities and you start to see the course open out, and the views just seem to get better and better.
Two glorious par-5s come in quick succession, first to the south east, before turning back to the north west. A beautiful 9-iron to two feet on the 6th hole helped me mark up another birdie, in what was quickly becoming a very good round.
The course winds its way back up to the clubhouse at the halfway point, and provides the opportunity for a drink and a bite to eat if required before taking on the undulating back nine.
As shown on the earlier picture from the very top of the property, there are some incredible views on the back nine of the Faldo.
Those views alone are almost worth the green fee, let alone the quality of the golf course and the climate you are playing in.
The 13th is a stunning par-5, which measures almost 650 yards from the back tees. Playing downhill, driver, wedge could well be possible depending on how far the ball rolls. It is a glorious hole, and plays much shorter than its distance.
The 16th is a lovely little par-3, playing downhill with the floodlights of the Academy Course in the background. It is a large green, but it looks much smaller as there is water back and right of the putting surface. Finding the green here is a must.
The Faldo Course then finishes with two great holes, and the 18th is one of the best closing par-5s I have ever played. A good drive allows you to go for it in two, but even then, I was still hitting a 2-iron to try and reach the green.
It plays uphill with the clubhouse on top of the hill which overlooks the 18th green. A par is a great score to finish, and I was lucky enough to have played good enough golf to shoot in the 70s on the Faldo.
Favourite hole at Amendoeira? Easy question, the 11th on the Faldo Course.
Although I only played it the once, it has quickly become one of my favourite par-3s and it is certainly a hole I want to play again and again.
There is a lovely ode to the past, with a former well sitting in front of the green. When he first visited the area to scope out the land, Faldo liked the well so much that he kept it there, and built the 11th around it.
The water in front of the tee box looks enticing for any golf ball, and because you don’t want to put it in the drink, you automatically take a club extra. However, there is danger long as well, while bunkers surround the green. A par is a very good score on 11.
Along with the two 18-hole tracks, the Amendoeira Golf Resort is also the home to a floodlit par-3 course – the Academy Course.
This has the honour of being the only floodlit par-3 course in Portugal, and it allows players to go out and practice their skills at nighttime. The course is open until 11pm, with golfers paying for the electricity, and not necessarily a green fee.
Along with the Academy Course, Amendoeira plays host to a stunning practice facility. The driving range has two rows of grass tees, playing down the slope on the range. There is also the opportunity to receive coaching in the indoor centre, while there are short game areas and putting greens dotted around the resort.
It is a short course, with holes as small as 70 yards long. There is danger around, including sand traps and water hazards, but it is a great place for beginners to ply their trade, and for larger groups to have some fun under the lights as well.
Not much really needs to be said about the building work and infrastructure at Amendoeira. From the outside, it looks like a typical Mediterranean resort. Inside, it feels brand new, with mod cons, and marble as far as the eye can see.
The accommodation at Amendoeira comes in the form of a range of apartments. The apartments are in clusters on one side of the resort, and provide spacious areas for living in luxury and comfort.
We stayed in a two-bedroom apartment, and it was sublime. The living area is pristine, with lounge, dining area and kitchen.
Two bedrooms and two bathrooms provide comfort and amenities for all guests staying in these apartments in Amendoeira.
There are also a range of private villas with both three- and four-bedrooms. Each of those comes with its own private pool and provides a great place to stay for families and larger groups.
In terms of relaxing following a round of golf, the bar and restaurant area is the perfect place to do so.
The bar features a big screen that shows live sport, while there are also a wide variety of drinks on offer. The restaurant itself provides exquisite food from around the world, with a focus on local cuisine.
Again, like the apartments, inside the building is luxurious and comfortable, and it is a place where you can really enjoy and relax of an evening.
Final Thoughts on Amendoeira Golf Resort
A lot of golfers believe that to enjoy golf in the Algarve region of Portugal, you need to be by the coastline. The likes of Vale do Lobo spring to mind, which has one of the most photographed par-3s in golf.
However, travel slightly inland and Amendoeira provides a stunning golfing vista.
Courses designed by Sir Nick Faldo and Christy O’Connor Jnr, plus the only floodlit par-3 course in the country. Add that to the glorious architectural delights of the apartments, and the beauty of the accommodation itself, and you have a sublime golfing destination.
I would love to go back and have another crack, and to learn more about the subtle undulations in the greens. Also, I could do with finding a few balls in the water on the O’Connor Jnr Course as well from this visit!
The golf is sublime, the location is wonderful, the climate in November was surprisingly warm. Then you’ve got the hospitality and the accommodation as well, making Amendoeira one of the most well-rounded resorts that I have visited.
Fancy a trip to Amendoeira? For a four-person group, three nights in a two-bedroom apartment, with breakfast and unlimited golf on tap, it could be as little as €426 per person. You’d be mad to turn that down!
Now have your say
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To find out more information about Amendoeira, visit their website here.