On a wonderful Monday morning in mid September I drove to Furnas. The parking lot was empty and thus was a preview on the course and the clubhouse. Beside the local manager and two employees of the bar I was the only one around. I had a quick breakfast and then went to the pro-shop. I got the same deal as in Batalha a few days before (green fee, a set of clubs and either a buggy or a trolley for 93 €) and wanted to loosen up on the range before my round. To my surprise the manager escorted me out of the clubhouse and explained to me that the range would be right around the corner where the 15th hole of the course was located. To be clear: Not beside the 15th hole but on the hole. Unfamiliar to me, but who am I to judge? So, when I started my round, I already had an impression of what would lay ahead: Beautiful Japanese cedars framed the fairways, the vegetation was as abundant as it is on all Sao Miguel, fantastic weather. What else do you want when there is a full day of golf ahead? There are some fine golf holes on the course. Especially I enjoyed the sequence from the 4th (a long and tricky par 4, which is very well bunkered), the 5th (a par 5 with a blind dogleg right from the tee box) to the 6th (a very short par 4 with a volcanic hill to the right that you can hit over easily but blindly). A few nice but average holes would follow. They feel kind of artificial with water in the middle and lesser trees along the fairways. But the back 9 are fun as well with two very good holes at the end. The 17th is a par 4 with bumps and hollows as if it where a Scottish links and a fine green with water to it’s left side. The last hole is a par 5 with a fancy tee shot to a higher level. The route to the green is well bunkered and the target area is very undulated. What came after my round disappointed me a bit. I had only a light lunch, since there was nearly no choice. Okay, why should there be a full-service restaurant for only a handful of players, agreed. But then, when I wanted to start my second round at 3pm, the manager told me, that all the hired equipment had to be returned by 5pm since the clubhouse would close then. Again: There was so little traffic on the whole course that I understand why the staff is not eager to stay until the late evening. But I still ask myself why the manager could not find a better solution for the situation (“Just leave the clubs behind the clubhouse”). Well, he didn’t and I decided to go for another round anyway. 1:50 h later I was back and found the bar full of another group, enjoying their drinks and I could not get the impression that they were in a hurry. Anyway, I had a lot of fun on the course, but there is an uneasy feeling left. But all in all: When you are a golfer and you are on Sao Miguel you simply have to play Furnas because it is a (not exceptional, but) fine course. In opposite to the other reviewers I can’t confirm that is worth the trip alone, but there is so much to see on the Azores that it doesn’t need a golf course to go there.
Date: October 03, 2015