Monte Rei (North) - Algarve - Portugal

Monte Rei Golf & Country Club,
Sitio do Pocinho,
Sesmarias,
8901-907,
Vila Nova De Cacela,
Portugal


  • +351 (0) 281 952 521

  • Darren Griffiths

  • Jack Nicklaus

  • Darren Griffiths


Monte Rei Golf Club was originally nominated by Steve for inclusion on the Top 100 website as a gem and was added to the site on 19th September 2007. These are Steve’s original comments: “Not sure if you’d like to include Monte Rei Golf Club within the Portuguese section of the site as it is a fantastic new course, only open six weeks when I played it in late Aug 2007. Incidentally, this is a Jack Nicklaus signature course and he has done a superb job.” Since Steve’s original nomination, Monte Rei has risen meteorically in the golf course rankings.

The Algarve has remained popular with visiting golfers for many years providing an array of golf courses to suit all tastes and abilities. Some of the courses, like anywhere, are better than others in terms of conditioning, degree of difficulty and their ability to create a desire to return after the first visit. At Monte Rei Golf Club things are very different.

The club is located away from the concentration of courses that are abundant around the Albufeira area – Monte Rei is set in the hills northeast of Tavira towards the Spanish border and the mountain setting is very special, which is evident on arrival where stunning views greet you, providing a taster as to what to expect during the round ahead.

This is one of only a few Jack Nicklaus ‘Signature’ courses in Europe and the first to reach Portugal. The layout provides an unforgettable experience and we can safely say that this is a quality golf course, which deserves its high rating in the Portuguese and Continental European rankings.

The course features an abundance of water hazards and some of the very best bunkering we’ve seen for some time. Additionally there are no weak holes and the opener is a par four played from an elevated tee to a fairway that doglegs to the right. Huge bunkers must be avoided both off the tee and at the green to ensure a strong start to your round. There are too many great holes to list here but our favourites come into play at a special corner of the course. The 13th is a downhill par four with bunkers at the drive landing point and a lakeside green that undulates wickedly. Even though the approach to the green is likely to be less than 100 yards, a par is a great achievement. The 14th is probably the prettiest hole at Monte Rei – a medium length par three where the tee shot must carry a lake to find the green and anything pulled left will find a watery grave. The 18th is a cracking finishing hole, a par five that is in reach for the biggest of hitters but watch out for the lake that is in play for everyone’s second and third shots.

As well as having a fantastic golf course, Monte Rei pay attention to detail. The level of service in and around the sumptuous clubhouse is world-class, so expect to be treated well. Four more luxury courses are planned for the area in the coming years, which will be designed by Tom Weiskopf, Kyle Phillips and there will be a second Jack Nicklaus layout. These developments will ensure that Monte Rei goes on from strength to strength placing this relatively unknown golfing area firmly on the map.

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Reviews for Monte Rei (North)

Av. Reviewers Score:
Description: Set in the picturesque foothills of the Eastern Algarve, with sweeping views of the Serra do Caldeirão mountains to the north and the Atlantic Ocean to the south. Rating: 5.6857142857143 out of 6

Monte Rei more than deserves its spot as the top golf course in Portugal!

Upon arrival, you are greeted as a member for the day. An employee will take care of your car and make sure your clubs are placed on your buggy. After enjoying the clubhouse a little bit, you can go out to the practice facility, which is the best in Portugal! I would have arrived 3 hours prior to my tee time had I know how good it was...

The course is well laid out, giving you options off the tee. It gives you opportunities to be aggressive, yet asks you to think before simply bombing it out there. The greens are world class. The bunkering is very good. My favorite hole was the par 4 3rd, with its dramatic drop from the tee box to the green situated on a small peninsula with 3 bunkers guarding it. One of the best holes I've played. After that, the back nine takes over. The 12th, 14th and 18th are the best holes on the second half of the course. The 18th makes for a great risk/reward finish. I managed to eagle the finishing hole which made for a very enjoyable 19th hole!

What really makes the layout great, in my mind, are the strategically placed bailout areas. While the course is difficult and places a premium on second shots, a thinking golfer will find where those areas are and plan his strategy accordingly. If one goes out there and aims for the flag all day long, he will be in for a long day. But by thinking your way around the course, good scoring awaits!

While Monte Rei is on the expensive side of the spectrum, it should be atop any list for someone travelling to Portugal!

November 05, 2016


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I played the course in 2009. In 2009 i gave a 5 Ball Rating due to the condition. These days i have to say it`s simply perfect, the condtion of the fairways and greens as well. It`s challenging, but if you choose the right tee box for you, it`s a really fair track. It`s hilly (Cart is included) and varied. Then in addition, outstanding practice facilities, club house, shop & facilities in the same league, and then a fantastic restaurant (Tapas were included). In that condition (the Design of Monte Rei undeniable great) the Course is definitely one of the best in Continental Europe. Sure it`s pricy, but for such a experience it`s well worth the price.

October 31, 2016


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Great course. Some long long holes and carries and you have to be on your game to get round with even a half decent score. Apparently someone here told one of our lads that once the hotel is built they are looking to try for the Ryder Cup here - were it up to me i would vote for it !

October 22, 2016


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This is a very good course and I am happy I have played it. This is currently ranked the best course in Portugal and from the reviews I was expecting the making of a top 100 course in the world however, for me this just fell short. There are without doubt some great holes 2, 3, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18 all stand out to me. The service is excellent and you will thoroughly appreciate this, we had some banter with the on course staff which was fun. I would say go an play it if you are feeling a bit flush but if not, then Quinta Do Lago South and San Lorenzo are better value for money.

June 13, 2016


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Not a weak hole in sight and some that go into the spectacular. Every hole presents a different challenge and would test any golfer.Thinking mans golf too. You have to shape the ball and it is not about knocking the ball 250 yards plus down every par 4 or 5. As to the facilities, this would challenge any American experience at the very top level. Every face has a welcoming smile and I thought it supplied a really good bang for your buck. Please don't put the prices up though!

April 26, 2016


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50 minutes east of Faro, the terrain becomes a much more mountainous canvas as you head towards the Spanish boarder. While the courses on the coastal Algarve have 35,000 rounds on average per year, Monte Rei Country Club enjoys a peaceful average of 8,000 rounds in comparison. Jack Nicklaus laid out a signature course at a club dedicated to differentiating itself based on customer service, attention to detail and creating a memorable experience for its fortunate guests. Specific to the golf course, it’s a fader’s paradise thanks to the traditional ball-flight of its creator. The noticeable change in elevation adds a lot of excitement to this course that plays firm and fast all year round. The bunkers are a significant design factor on this course as they frame the moving terrain and Monte Rei (North) Golf Course - Photo by reviewerserve as targets on the many dog-legs. I didn’t feel that I hit every club in the bag as many of the par 4s are a similar length (within 10m of each other), however there’s enough variety to keep you interested. I found the back nine to be more stimulating than the front nine, highlighted by the downhill par 4 13th with a river in the background behind the green which meanders its way in front of and around the beautiful par 3 14th. The pick of the bunch on the back nine for me was the very demanding stretch of 15 through 17, mostly playing long and uphill. For example, the par 5 16th has a sea of menacing hazards from a diagonal stream cutting across the landing area to bunkers that just pile on top of each other until you reach the undulating elevated putting surface. Jack obviously wants you to think long and hard about making par! Players will also enjoy the grandeur of the closing hole as it invites those brave enough to go for the green in two and finish with a birdie. Thinking back on this course, golfers will love the splendor of the playing conditions married with uninterrupted beautiful backgrounds guiding you through each unique hole. Even though this is not a walking course, which to some purists is a shame, the need for a golf buggy is required given the terrain and distance between certain holes. With news of Jack returning to build a second course closer to the ocean, the Monte Rei Country Club is certainly a unique Portuguese golf experience with a promising future.
January 11, 2016


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Played this towards the end of a week of golf in eastern algarve. As others have reported Monte Rei certainly stands out from a service point of view, with American 5 star approach to service from collecting your clubs, getting your cart ready and complementary benefits which actually make it a bit more reasonable in the end. If you are into that then this ticks all those boxes. For those more focused on the golf it is actually pretty special. It is very different from a lot of the other courses in the region, being situated in a pretty isolated area with little development around. They must have shifted a lot of dirt to get the course in play and although there are some houses (and what houses they seem to be) around a few holes in general you really feel like you are in the wilderness. Off the tee there is generally pretty generous landing areas and then as Nicklaus courses usually go it gets tighter and more hazard-filled as you approach the greens. There is perhaps an overuse of large bunkers with white sand that don't really fit in with the scrub landscape around it but there is plenty of fun to be had also with lots of elevated teeboxes and enough variety in the routing to require different shots. There are some badly designed long hops between some holes that means trying to walk this course is unfortunately a very taxing affair so you might as well use the complementary buggies. In summary, I found the course superior to Quinta de Lago South and the Oceanico courses (although the Old course had more charm) . The service, the landscape gets top marks, but perhaps the slightly conventional design drags it down a little, some of the holes looked like they could have been from anywhere and were just transplanted onto the course rather than making the most of a plot of land that is full of enough undulations and natural hazards to bend to what is there rather than the other way around.
May 15, 2015


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there is not much more to add to all the earlier reviews. this place is special. don´t expect to play anywhere near your handicap, when you come here for the first time. just enjoy this fantastic but punishing course. One thing: don´t bring guest here that don´t buy a green fee. they will not be let on the range or on the course to follow you (same house rules as in Valderrama).
May 04, 2015


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Response
David
July 22, 2015
Many thanks for your feedback. Guests are more than welcome to join players on the golf course and practice facilities however as the golf course is buggy only guests must accompany players in buggies which can be hired.
We played Monte Rei as the last round of a golf trip to the Algarve but unfortunately we saw it at far from its best. The course had just been closed for a week and the greens tined, the fairways tined, the tee boxes tined. In San Lorenzo they did it brilliantly - half of each greens at a time so the pin was always clear. At Monte Rei the greens were covered in sand and running pretty averagely. While I recognise they need to work on the course to keep the standards high it would have been nice if we had known in advance. Or had a discount on the highest green fee in Portugal (we paid 190 Euros a man). The work they had done on the fairway and tee boxes was probably more annoying than what they had done to the greens. Basically, there were holes everywhere and they had obviously been growing up the grass in preparation. That meant there wasn't much run on the ball and the course played very differently from the way it normally would. However, I recognise that most people will play it when the course isn't being patched up and the condition is great - hence the 5 balls.Without a doubt this is a challenging course. If you hit it off the fairway your chances of finding the ball are relatively low. It's not normal rough you are looking in but knee deep scrubby vegetation which just eats balls. They have a local rule which says if you go in you can treat it as red staked and drop out. That felt a bit weird to be honest but they probably need to do it for pace of play reasons. The course has an unusual set-up of five par 5s and five par 3s in the par 72 and I think they could have put a bit more variety into them. Generally, the par 5s are long (over 500 yards) and the par 3s mid to long irons. It would have been nice to have seen a few reachable 5s and shorter 3s in there to mix it up a bit.The service was great in the restaurant, pro shop and range. They really looked after you and I would say it was a good as anything I had seen - think Troon Golf style on a more personal level.So is good. It's long, it's tight and it's tough. Was it the most pleasurable 4 hours I've ever spent on a golf course? Probably not because I'm a 14 handicapper having a poor round and the condition was so disappointing. If you are a single figure golfer who wants a good challenge then probably the long holes and the green fee are worth it. But do check they haven't tined the whole thing to within an inch of its life first.......
May 22, 2014


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Monte Rei is a real modern masterpiece blending beautifully into its natural surroundings. Each hole is routed so that there is no interference from adjoining fairways, many sculpted between the hills and sitting in secluded shallow valleys. The numerous raised tees without doubt add to the anticipation as each new challenge is laid out before you. Water comes into play on eleven holes but it’s the beautifully designed bunkering that leaves a lasting impression. Big, bold and plentiful especially around the greens which they frame to perfection. There are less than 100 bunkers in total but they are as impressive as anything I have come across on my travels. The greens putt superbly well and will certainly provide you with a few interestingPhoto supplied by Monte Rei - Photographer Aiden Bradley challenges if your iron play is a little off line. There are no bad holes here, the short par4 12th over water and the long uphill par5 6th with a wide open second shot were possibly my least favourites but to be fair I still enjoyed them. All five par3 holes are very good, the long downhill 11th and pretty 14th hugging the waters edge being memorable but the 9th which is perched on the other side of a valley surrounded by a circle of huge bunkers is simply stunning. Favourites amongst the longer holes would be the 3rd where the green juts out into the lake and the 8th with its huge sculptured bunker sitting below a raised green. Clever run off areas around the green are a feature on the 8th and add to the interest around many of the other greens complexes also. The 15th provides an interesting challenge with water running the full length of the hole and the 18th is an interesting risk and reward par5 to finish on but the 13th is the best hole on the course for me. A good drive landing short of the fairway bunkers will leave you with a downhill approach to a very picturesque and undulating green sat on the edge of a lake. The green fee maybe a bit steep but when you add the standard of service and quality of food to great design and world class conditioning it may be sometime before Monte Rei gets knocked from its perch as the No.1 course in Portugal. Brian W
May 02, 2014


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