Aroeira Golf Resort is a 900-acre paradise for golfers and non-golfers alike. It's situated on the Setubal Peninsula within a glorious preservation area. Lisbon is a mere 20 kilometres to the north, so naturally Aroeira benefits from a temperate microclimate that allows all-year-round golf, which is fortunate as the resort boasts two top quality golf courses.
Aroeira I was designed by Frank Pennink, the master behind the classic Vilamoura Old course. Opened for play in 1973, the course measures 6,122 metres and is a traditional par 72 layout. Aroeira I was an immediate hit and was soon being described as the “Wentworth of Lisbon” by the British press as the course winds its way through a dense pine forest. The course hosted the 1996 and 1997 Portuguese Opens.
Aroeira II was only opened in April 2000, but already this Donald Steel creation is highly regarded. The course is a par 72 measuring 6,401 metres and was built to European Tour recommendation standards. Steel used Penn A2 grass on the greens, which can be cut to a height of only 2mm, the 1st course in Portugal to do so. Like Aroeira I, Aroeira II is superbly crafted through heavily wooded, gently undulating terrain. However, unlike its stable mate, Aroeira II also boasts six large lakes around which many of the holes are routed.
The holes are long and cleverly shaped using the natural contours of the land and some of the bunkers have a Scottish pot bunker style. The greens are large and slick. Avoiding the trees, sand and water will be a constant battle. Golfers of all standards should enjoy the course but to play to handicap here is a feat not many will achieve.
May be worth giving the Algarve a miss this summer and take a trip to Lisbon and the surrounding area, the sun still shines and the food just as delicious. Better still though, the courses are quieter and cheaper and you certainly won’t be disappointed, especially if Aroeira is on your itinerary.
We played yesterday, based in the very pretty coastal town of Sesimbra 40 mins away, and Aroeira 2 is a strong course that could do with a little TLC in the bunkers and trees. Front nine more straight forward, but the back nine builds very nicely and the 16/17/18 closing stretch is excellent. The 17th in particular is a very good looking long par 4 that wouldn't be out of place on a top Surrey track.
Just returned from a week staying in a villa on the spacious Aroeira resort. We were scheduled to play Aroeira 1 twice but, after playing No. 2, we decided to swap and play it again. Given that there is no clubhouse at No. 2 and the course conditioning is just a bit below No.1, that's an indication of how much fun we had playing No. 2. More elevated tees, more water and more undulations on the greens adds up to a more interesting test. Stand out holes on the front 9 were the intriguing par 5 4th where a large stand of pines about 100 yards short of the green needs to be thoughtfully negotiated, the sweet pitch shot needed to the sloping green of the par 3 8th and the challenging tee shot past the water on No. 9. The back 9 has a picturesque watery section from 12 - 15 which needs a bit of care and a strong finish in the long par 4 17th and the par 5th 18th with water up the right of the fairway and eating in to the left of the large finishing green too. Don't go to Aroeira and only play No. 1 - you'd be missing out!