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.
Is this the best course in the Algarve - yes. Is this the best course in Portugal - no. I would suggest that Oitavos Dunes and West Cliffs are better. I have played MR 3 times and it is a very good track with some wonderful holes 2, 4, 6, 8, 9, 10, 13 (this is a special hole, especially from the tips, where you play through a valley to a slght downhill approach with mountains and a lake as a backdrop), and 16, 17 and 18 represent a strong finish. All the par 5s are brilliant holes One slight gripe which Top Reviewer Dan mentioned, is that there is a bias towards left to right shaped holes and whether by design or not, holes nos 1 and 10 are almost identical. That said there is enough land to have a wonderful sense of isolation with most holes invisible from others. Its not cheap (although we had a round of golf, free range balls, buggy and an excellent 3 course lunch for Euro 200) but the experience is high end. Pace of play was excellent and course quiet. Well worth at least 1 visit.
The golf course is surely one of the best in Europe!
With each hole built in its own valley, you always feel you are the only 4-ball on the course. From the Downhill tee shot on the Short Par-4 1st to your last approach on the beautiful Par-5 18th, the course takes you on a wonderful journey.
Having played the course more than 4 months ago, I still remember so many of the holes - this is a sign on a truly fantastic course. My absolute favourites are the dog-leg par-4 2nd, which plays from an elevated risk/reward tee shot over a lake. The par-3 9th is one of my favourites in the world, playing over a gorge into a beautifully set green with amazing looking bunkers surrounding the green complex. The Par-4 13th is another special hole being downhill all the way to a green protected by a lake at the back and bunkers in the front.
The course is extremely tough but also very rewarding and you will truly feel upset to be coming to the end of such a memorable round!
It was the final stage of our 6 rounds Tour and it was a great decision to leave the best for the last. Feedback from customers was great, service level from the Crew and Golf guys was over the top and the course was in pristine shape with greens rolling perfect despite some remains of a top dressing done some days before (we were not told about it, only negative point on the day). And a final lunch on a fantastic terrace with amazing views of the property, one of the nicest I have epxerienced in Continental Europe.
The first thing to share is how good and precise was the arrival process, every cart ready and signaled, driving range all for us and a fantastic chipping green to try every shot needed nefore teeing off. The speed of the putting green was super fast.
About the course ... it is tough to speak about design when the terrain sort of makes the routing and you just need to be creative with bunkers placement, imaginative green complexes and how to challenge golfers with the design of the greens when you wish to have them speed at not less than 10 feet on the Stimpmeter.
I personally don't like when courses have extremely long distances from green to next tee, but this is what the piece of land demands and there is nothing that could be done for this to be avoided.
I can compare this course to Finca Cortesín due to piece of land, type of design, challenge, high level service and the huge distances from green to next tee. Which one is better? I have played Finca 6 times and only one at Monte Rei, would like to have some more rounds to make a final statement.
Said this, the course has some amazing golf holes:
- Par 5 2nd is a great one, with water challenging your tee shot and then well placed bunkers for those who wish to go for it.
- Par 4 3rd downhill with an extremeley tough second shot over the water is one of the ones I most liked.
- Both par 3s 7th and 9th are very good one shootters, especially 9th trying to be 10th at Pine Valley.
- 11th reminded me 15th at Valderrama, very similar!
- Par 4 12th which is reachable was one of the very good ones, the risk/reward factor is at its best here.
- 15th is the hcp.1 hole and the second shot is extremely tough over water. It was into the wind and after a bad tee shot my chances were low so ball went to swim!
- 16 to 18 is a Grand Finale, both par 5s are 3 shooters for most golfers and at 18th if you are able to go for it, the carry is long and over water.
All in one a great experience and a fantastic resort with a very good golf course.
Does it match Valderrama? No, at least in my opinion. Finca? Close match! Is it worth? Definitely YES!!!!
The course layout was great where there were not many houses encroaching the course and the views were fabulous on many holes you could not see any other holes, even if they were right next to each other. Played last week when it was wet from lots of rain, but greens and bunkers in very good state. A bit outside of Faro, but well worth the trip. If I get a chance to make it back to the area, I want to play this one twice.
We played yesterday in fine conditions, and found the facilities and staff excellent. The course however was a disappointment, still felt new, fairways were a little patchy, too many similar holes dog leg right around water, and Jack's signature bunkers that look like they have been carpet bombed with sand bags. Also see PGA Centenary, Carden Park... The surroundings are dull scrub without spectacular views. Obviously there are some excellent holes, but for a course of this reputation and cost were left feeling underwhelmed.
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!
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.
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 !
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.
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!