The Aroeira estate is an Orizonte Lisbon Golf facility located just over ten kilometres as the crow flies from another Orizonte course at Quinta do Peru, where I played the day before I teed it up here. The two courses might be relatively near neighbours but they felt worlds apart from one another in how they looked and played – that said, from what I saw of Aroeira II next door, even it looked quite different to Aroeira I.
The course was designed by Frank Pennink and opened in 1973 and it’s hard to believe a couple of national Opens were held here during the mid-1990s on a track of such modest length measuring just over 6,000 metres from the back tees. There’s an intimate feel to a game of golf here due to the narrow, tree-lined fairways but the playing corridors are never oppressively constricting.
The front nine is rock solid – my notes read “not a single weak hole on the card so far” – and I especially liked the right doglegged 2nd (rated stroke index 1) and downhill par three 8th, with out of bounds to the right of the hole. The back nine was even better, probably the best of the six nines that I played over three days.
Holes 10, 11, 14 and 15 all gained top marks, with the par three 14th easily identified as the star of the show. A very short par three played slightly downhill to a green that sits behind a long coffin bunker on the corner of a small lake, it’s as pretty a short hole as I’ve come across in a long time – and not one of our 4-ball group made par on what looked such a benign little hole from the tee.
I know these reviews should concentrate solely on the course but it would be remiss of me not to mention the lovely timber-framed single level clubhouse which serves the Aroeira I course. Somewhat Alpine-like in appearance and fronted by a simple wooden decked patio, this homely, welcoming building complements the course perfectly, providing exactly the right ambience for after golf relaxation.
Date: May 12, 2018