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Quinta do Lago

Quinta do Lago: A Resort With More Than Just Golf

Most would only associate golf with Quinta do Lago, but that simply isn’t the case…

 

Quinta do Lago is rightly famous as an excellent golfing destination but did you know there’s more than just golf? We were invited to investigate the Campus high performance training facility.

While Quinta Do Lago remains in the pantheon of great European golfing destinations, for those of us who know it well, its quality has perhaps been taken for granted. Its courses are excellent and consistently in good condition.

My experience of Quinta, to date, has been entirely focussed on the golf courses, all of which I have played several times. This turns out to have been a little narrow-minded on my part. It would appear there is life beyond golf and this is exemplified by The Campus, Quinta do Lago’s phenomenal performance centre.

The quality of this facility is confirmed by the fact it used by a multitude of professional sports people.

NOW READ: Quinta do Lago – NCG Top 100s: European Resorts

Quinta North and Laranjal

In addition to the fitness and training facilities it is worth revisiting the courses themselves. I have played Quinta North both before and after its renovation (albeit quite some time ago in both cases).

The transformation was significant and its class is nudging close to its highly regarded Southern sibling, which has hosted the Portuguese Open (Open de Portugal) on the DP World Tour. Colin Montgomerie is among the names to have won at Quinta do Lago.

It is a fairly classic tree-lined course with the holes being varied and interesting. On some of these courses the par 4s can be a bit “samey”, but this is not the case here.

Memorable holes include the long-ish par 3 2nd. Water on the right front and out of bounds behind the green make for a more challenging tee shot than it first appears. The 5th is short-ish par 4 with bunkers off the tee to catch drives of any length if hit offline.

The closing hole of the North Course is a shortish par 5 but it is a tight tee shot. The green is beautifully framed with a large bank behind it makes for a very inviting approach.

The other course we played was Laranjal. This is one of my favourite courses in the area. It is much more open and has a fair amount of water. This is definitely a “no two holes alike” course.

The par 3s are quite long even off the more forward tees, which some might view as a slight criticism of the course. That aside it is a joy to play. The holes are well defined and demand thoughtful tee shots.

The openness, however, means that a wild shot, while still being punished, does not result in lots of time wasted searching for balls.

Notable holes on the Laranjal including the long par 3 2nd, which plays 230 yards from the back tees. There is water and a huge bunker to contend with, as well as the distance.

The par 5 7th offers a generous landing zone for the tee shot, but anything leaking right could end up wet. The second shot is a tricky one with water and bunkers to negotiate, and a relatively small landing area, which could make your mind up as to whether your strategy is to lay up or go for the green.

The short par 4 11th has a large tree to the right of the fairway and a sea of bunkers to catch your drive. The sensible shot is short of the bunkers but put it in the wrong position and you have left yourself a longish approach and a tree to avoid.

Quinta do Lago Laranjal Course
The long par 3 2nd hole on the Laranjal Course at Quinta do Lago – a very tough hole early on in a round.

The Campus Performance Centre

The main purpose of our trip was to experience the state-of-the-art Campus Performance Center. I had no preconceptions about what it would be like and this resulted in me being absolutely blown away by the facility. This is the real deal.

It is a training facility used by elite athletes, both teams, such as the Irish Rugby team and individual athletes of all disciplines.

There is a full sized hybrid grass pitch, six tennis courts and six padel courts. On the fitness side of things, there are two large gyms with top quality equipment, a spin room and various exercise areas for the multitude of classes on offer. As would be expected, there is a decent sized outdoor heated swimming pool, sauna, steam room, plunge pools. I could go on.

Quinta do Lago Campus Performance Centre

Aerial view of The Campus Performance Centre, Quinta do Lago.

I was fortunate enough to experience a balance and stretching class specifically geared towards golf.  My golfing life began in an era where the idea of an elite golfer was someone who did not smoke while actually playing and kept the number of beers drunk into single figures.

The concept of golf-focussed stretching and balance was somewhat alien to me. The following day was a gym session, again geared to golf. The exercises, on both occasions, were perfectly tailored to golf.

It made me realise how little most amateurs pay attention to the fitness side of golf. There were many of my muscles brought out of retirement by the exercises and it was immediately apparent to me the benefit of golf-focussed training.

What was great was the ability to have classes outdoors which could be in the sun or with some cover to give some protection from the sun.

Members of our group showing how it should be done when coming to stretching…

The campus has multiple facilities for the wellness side of fitness with treatment rooms and as mentioned sauna and steam rooms.

Quinta have a vision of the complex, providing a healthy lifestyle and wellness experience as a destination in its own right, as well as an adjunct to a golfing trip.

My own experience of the Algarve has been entirely golf focussed. Given the large number of excellent courses in the area, this is not unreasonable. Nevertheless, it can seem a little frantic, flying out, playing 3 or 4 rounds of golf, one after the other and then flying home.

Having the facility to take a break and do some fitness classes, use the gym, have a swim, play padel or tennis would, in my opinion, enhance the golfing holiday. The classes we did were in the morning and then there was still time for a swim or time in the gym before playing golf in the afternoon.

The facilities at The Campus are such that it would be a great destination in its own right for non-golfers. I have a friend who does exactly that and he has been going for several years. At the time of writing, we had never-ending rain in the UK and to get out and do some exercise in the sun was a relief.

There are a huge range of tariffs for using The Campus, from daily memberships to yearly and everything in between. On my visit, a week’s pass was €109 which represented great value for money.

This included many of the group fitness classes. There are many fitness and activity related events, with both individual and group teaching and training available for additional fees.

The Campus has a fantastic bar/restaurant called Dano’s with inside and outside tables and great food. On that topic, Quinta has a multitude of places to eat.

We had lunch at the Quinta clubhouse and Dano’s, both of which were excellent. For something a bit more special we ate at Casa Velha, specialising in Portuguese cuisine and Bovino’s steakhouse. Both were superb and provided great variety. I cannot fault the quality of eating and this is something that enhanced the trip.

Quinta do Lago Dano's Bar
The impressive Dano’s Bar at The Campus, Quinta do Lago.

We stayed at the Magnolia hotel which is a little way from the courses but was very peaceful. It has a pool and gym/spa and a very good restaurant. The breakfasts were high quality and the food at the restaurant was excellent.

Final Thoughts

This experience at Quinta do Lago’s Campus has given me a new outlook on golfing trips. No matter what, it is great to get a bit of sun on your back when the weather is terrible in the UK.

Playing several rounds of golf on great courses in lovely weather is certainly extremely enjoyable. The addition of doing an exercise class, having a swim or padel class before or after golf, for me, is a huge bonus.

For a longer holiday, to have days without golf but plenty of great activities to do in a fantastic facility is, in my opinion, the perfect balance. It is also a great destination for groups or families where there is a mix of golfers and non-golfers.

Quinta South First tee area. From the left; YouTubers Alex Etches, Coach Lockey, Matt Fryer and golf fitness specialist Dr Zach Gould.

For more information, check out the Quinta do Lago website here.

Have you ever visited Quinta do Lago? What did you make of the new Campus Performance Centre? Let us know with a post on X, formerly Twitter!

Gillon Fabbroni

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