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 highly respected 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 and Kyle Phillips. Construction on the second Jack Nicklaus Signature layout began in the summer of 2019.
The Golden Bear commented as follows: “The South course will have many similar features to the North: great trees, wonderful topography, beautiful vistas, and has the potential to be another sensational course. Our mission will be to maximise the existing terrain and natural features, so we can create an experience that has its own distinct personality, with the same commitment to excellence that golfers expect when they visit Monte Rei.”
These exciting developments will ensure that Monte Rei goes from strength to strength, cementing this relatively unknown golfing area on the map.
One of the most beautiful courses in Continental Europe.
Monte Rei Golf Club is located up in the hills near the Spanish Border, a little inland of most of the courses in Portugal's Algarve region. Designed by Jack Nicklaus in 2007, the North course is part of a high-end housing estate. A second course – The South Course – is now underway.
Monte Rei aspires to provide a very different experience to other resort courses in The Algarve, and from my experience they have been successful. Nicklaus & team have created a world-class course using the natural terrain to great affect.
The course has variety, and is beautifully finished. Water hazards are in play on eight holes, but it is the bunkering that dominates proceedings on the North Course. It will surprise no one that strategic placement of the many bunkers is spot on – we expect that of Nicklaus design! However the North Course bunkering is also both artistic and eye catching and I was most impressed!
I also found it interesting just how much course the design was dictated by the land – perhaps more than any Nicklaus design I have seen.
Wonderfully unique holes like the par 4 thirteenth hole are the result. Yet the previous hole (12) is largely fabricated with a driveable green protected by a nicely shaped lake. However, it is fun to play! So, all credit to the architects: they have used the land they were given to maximum affect, and then created interest when the cupboard was bare. That's a sign of good design work, I'd say!
Monte Rei is an outstanding, world-class golf course. The whole Monte Rei experience – golf, accommodation, dining is top notch, and the service levels are as good as anything in the world. All Travelling Golfers headed to Portugal should aspire to play Monte Rei.
Peter Wood is the founder of The Travelling Golfer – click the link to read his full review.
From arrival, this club oozes class. Impeccable service, incredible practice facilities and a truly outstanding golf course. Whilst it may be a bit of a drive from the usual hotspots of Algarve, it most certainly warrants any time spent getting there. It would easily have been getting 6 balls from me was it not for the fact it was ever so slightly recovering from maintenance work from the week prior. Special.
This an outstanding place. From arriving to tee off, practice area, breakfast immaculate. Stayed in one of the villas - again exceptional. Course was one of the best we had played although at the time the greens had a lot of dressing. Cant wait to play this course again.
Just played Monte Res. What a track!
The whole experience is first class. The service, greeting and organisation were better than anywhere I have played; friendly and welcoming as well as professional and appropriate.
The course is possibly the most enjoyable, and challenging track I've played (I haven't played any of the other big courses in the Algarve but many Open/Ryder courses and this is easily in that company).
There were some high handicappers out there and think they had a long day, but whilst very challenging the course is fair. The finish in particular, from 13 onwards is stunning although there isn't a bad hole on the course.
Was disappointed with the condition of monte rei - initial reception was very effusive and practise facility top notch but the course was a 'let down'
Fairways were 'dried out' it is not a links so I would expect that a course charging as they do would have a fairway watering system!!!
Some lovely looking holes cut through valleys but the 'greens' !!!
They were surrounded by a 'metal,' border which protruded above ground but sat approx 2 cms below the surrounding first cut - what is this all about? Protecting the green from intrusion of fairway grasses ?
Not very pleasing when you hit one on a chip!,,
I wonder were the other commentators playing the same course as I did?
We played on February 18 2019 a glorious day
The course is stunning it covers a vast area and the setting is dramatic. There are some lovely lakes, the fairways are cut very close the greens are lightening, and the welcome is top notch. Staff brought us sandwiches and fruit on the third fairway. It isatranquil and beautiful place to play golf.
The downside is the excessive bunkering, which made the course very punitive. Unlike Kingsbarns it seems designed to punish you not reward. Some of the bunker locations were absurd making approach shots nigh on impossible.i wonder how many punters will return for a second helping? Everything is on a big scale, the course is too severe for a mediocre ball striker, despite the several tee choices available.
Many thanks for your detailed review and firstly please let me express my extreme disappointment that any client has left Monte Rei with a bad impression. Our service standards and the experience we provide are imperative to our brand, and we strive to enhance as opposed to harm this. Please accept my sincere apologies if you feel the course did not live up to your expectations. I will try and explain in relation to the points you have made.
We have Bermuda warm season grass on our fairways and our roughs that play perfectly during the time of year you played, but Bermuda does stops its growth and loses its color in cooler temperatures. This does not have an effect on its performance, but visually it is yellow which some are not used to seeing. Perhaps is our job to educate golfers from the countries that are new to this environmental friendly grass. At Monte Rei we choose the best grass type available for this areas weather conditions, so the greens have a different grass type to fairways, therefore a (plastic not metal) liner is used beneath the surface between greens and fairways to avoid any infestation of Bermuda to our Bent grass greens. At the time of your visit the renewal of this liner did occur on the 1st, 10th and 11th holes because the turf had just been re-sodded. This is standard procedure for this purpose. We are proud to say after 10 years this has allowed our team to keep the green pure Bent grass which gives a perfect surface all year around.
Monte Rei Golf & Country Club
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.