Largely overshadowed by the reputation of the Furnas golf course on the Azorean island of San Miguel, Batalha deserves greater recognition as a top class golf facility. Many of the greens are heavily protected by sizeable bunkers and a number of old stone walls have been incorporated into the design, affording the layout a very rustic, natural feel.
The Azores Golf Islands company now promotes both Furnas and Batalha in a bid to raise the sporting profile of the Portuguese archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean as a prime golfing destination and there are ambitious plans to construct more courses on the islands of Pico and Faial with big names such as Faldo and Hurdzan & Fry mentioned as potential architects.
Bob Cameron and Chris Powell constructed the 27-hole Batalha complex in the late 1980s and its three loops of nine holes were opened to the public in 1993. Laid out on a hilly 300-acre site with many of the tight, tree-lined fairways offering only glimpses of the nearby Atlantic Ocean, the course was used by the European Tour in 2008 for the Azores Seniors Open, an event Australian Stewart Ginn won by two strokes.
The 8th hole on the "A" circuit is a lengthy par three played to a well defended green whilst the left doglegged 7th on the "B" loop is a fine par four that leads to a tricky, sloping green. The uphill par five 2nd hole comes in for criticism due to the blind nature of its routing but there are no complaints about the closing, par five 9th on this circuit, a 579-yard hole that doglegs severely right from tee to green.
September 20, 2015