Monte Rei (North) - Algarve - Portugal

Monte Rei Golf & Country Club,
Sitio do Pocinho,
Sesmarias,
8901-907,
Vila Nova De Cacela,
Portugal


  • +351 (0) 281 952 521


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 was due to begin in the summer of 2019, but one-year later ground had yet to be broken.

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.”

Once completed, these exciting developments will ensure that Monte Rei goes from strength to strength, cementing this relatively unknown golfing area on the map.

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Reviews for Monte Rei (North)

Average Reviewers Score:
Description: Set in the picturesque foothills of the Eastern Algarve, with sweeping views of the Serra do Caldeirão mountains to the north and the Atlantic Ocean to the south. Rating: 9 out of 10 Reviews: 51
TaylorMade
Guy Butterwick

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!

April 26, 2016
10 / 10
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Fergal O'Leary
50 minutes east of Faro, the terrain becomes a much more mountainous canvas as you head towards the Spanish boarder. While the courses on the coastal Algarve have 35,000 rounds on average per year, Monte Rei Country Club enjoys a peaceful average of 8,000 rounds in comparison. Jack Nicklaus laid out a signature course at a club dedicated to differentiating itself based on customer service, attention to detail and creating a memorable experience for its fortunate guests. Specific to the golf course, it’s a fader’s paradise thanks to the traditional ball-flight of its creator. The noticeable change in elevation adds a lot of excitement to this course that plays firm and fast all year round. The bunkers are a significant design factor on this course as they frame the moving terrain and Monte Rei (North) Golf Course - Photo by reviewerserve as targets on the many dog-legs. I didn’t feel that I hit every club in the bag as many of the par 4s are a similar length (within 10m of each other), however there’s enough variety to keep you interested. I found the back nine to be more stimulating than the front nine, highlighted by the downhill par 4 13th with a river in the background behind the green which meanders its way in front of and around the beautiful par 3 14th. The pick of the bunch on the back nine for me was the very demanding stretch of 15 through 17, mostly playing long and uphill. For example, the par 5 16th has a sea of menacing hazards from a diagonal stream cutting across the landing area to bunkers that just pile on top of each other until you reach the undulating elevated putting surface. Jack obviously wants you to think long and hard about making par! Players will also enjoy the grandeur of the closing hole as it invites those brave enough to go for the green in two and finish with a birdie. Thinking back on this course, golfers will love the splendor of the playing conditions married with uninterrupted beautiful backgrounds guiding you through each unique hole. Even though this is not a walking course, which to some purists is a shame, the need for a golf buggy is required given the terrain and distance between certain holes. With news of Jack returning to build a second course closer to the ocean, the Monte Rei Country Club is certainly a unique Portuguese golf experience with a promising future.
January 11, 2016
8 / 10
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erik k
Played this towards the end of a week of golf in eastern algarve. As others have reported Monte Rei certainly stands out from a service point of view, with American 5 star approach to service from collecting your clubs, getting your cart ready and complementary benefits which actually make it a bit more reasonable in the end. If you are into that then this ticks all those boxes. For those more focused on the golf it is actually pretty special. It is very different from a lot of the other courses in the region, being situated in a pretty isolated area with little development around. They must have shifted a lot of dirt to get the course in play and although there are some houses (and what houses they seem to be) around a few holes in general you really feel like you are in the wilderness. Off the tee there is generally pretty generous landing areas and then as Nicklaus courses usually go it gets tighter and more hazard-filled as you approach the greens. There is perhaps an overuse of large bunkers with white sand that don't really fit in with the scrub landscape around it but there is plenty of fun to be had also with lots of elevated teeboxes and enough variety in the routing to require different shots. There are some badly designed long hops between some holes that means trying to walk this course is unfortunately a very taxing affair so you might as well use the complementary buggies. In summary, I found the course superior to Quinta de Lago South and the Oceanico courses (although the Old course had more charm) . The service, the landscape gets top marks, but perhaps the slightly conventional design drags it down a little, some of the holes looked like they could have been from anywhere and were just transplanted onto the course rather than making the most of a plot of land that is full of enough undulations and natural hazards to bend to what is there rather than the other way around.
May 14, 2015
10 / 10
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Mark
there is not much more to add to all the earlier reviews. this place is special. don´t expect to play anywhere near your handicap, when you come here for the first time. just enjoy this fantastic but punishing course. One thing: don´t bring guest here that don´t buy a green fee. they will not be let on the range or on the course to follow you (same house rules as in Valderrama).
May 03, 2015
10 / 10
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David
July 22, 2015
Many thanks for your feedback. Guests are more than welcome to join players on the golf course and practice facilities however as the golf course is buggy only guests must accompany players in buggies which can be hired.
David Jones
We played Monte Rei as the last round of a golf trip to the Algarve but unfortunately we saw it at far from its best. The course had just been closed for a week and the greens tined, the fairways tined, the tee boxes tined. In San Lorenzo they did it brilliantly - half of each greens at a time so the pin was always clear. At Monte Rei the greens were covered in sand and running pretty averagely. While I recognise they need to work on the course to keep the standards high it would have been nice if we had known in advance. Or had a discount on the highest green fee in Portugal (we paid 190 Euros a man). The work they had done on the fairway and tee boxes was probably more annoying than what they had done to the greens. Basically, there were holes everywhere and they had obviously been growing up the grass in preparation. That meant there wasn't much run on the ball and the course played very differently from the way it normally would. However, I recognise that most people will play it when the course isn't being patched up and the condition is great - hence the 5 balls.Without a doubt this is a challenging course. If you hit it off the fairway your chances of finding the ball are relatively low. It's not normal rough you are looking in but knee deep scrubby vegetation which just eats balls. They have a local rule which says if you go in you can treat it as red staked and drop out. That felt a bit weird to be honest but they probably need to do it for pace of play reasons. The course has an unusual set-up of five par 5s and five par 3s in the par 72 and I think they could have put a bit more variety into them. Generally, the par 5s are long (over 500 yards) and the par 3s mid to long irons. It would have been nice to have seen a few reachable 5s and shorter 3s in there to mix it up a bit.The service was great in the restaurant, pro shop and range. They really looked after you and I would say it was a good as anything I had seen - think Troon Golf style on a more personal level.So is good. It's long, it's tight and it's tough. Was it the most pleasurable 4 hours I've ever spent on a golf course? Probably not because I'm a 14 handicapper having a poor round and the condition was so disappointing. If you are a single figure golfer who wants a good challenge then probably the long holes and the green fee are worth it. But do check they haven't tined the whole thing to within an inch of its life first.......
May 21, 2014
8 / 10
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Brian Ward

Monte Rei is a real modern masterpiece blending beautifully into its natural surroundings. Each hole is routed so that there is no interference from adjoining fairways, many sculpted between the hills and sitting in secluded shallow valleys. The numerous raised tees without doubt add to the anticipation as each new challenge is laid out before you. Water comes into play on eleven holes but it’s the beautifully designed bunkering that leaves a lasting impression. Big, bold and plentiful especially around the greens which they frame to perfection. There are less than 100 bunkers in total but they are as impressive as anything I have come across on my travels. The greens putt superbly well and will certainly provide you with a few interestingPhoto supplied by Monte Rei - Photographer Aiden Bradley challenges if your iron play is a little off line. There are no bad holes here, the short par4 12th over water and the long uphill par5 6th with a wide open second shot were possibly my least favourites but to be fair I still enjoyed them. All five par3 holes are very good, the long downhill 11th and pretty 14th hugging the waters edge being memorable but the 9th which is perched on the other side of a valley surrounded by a circle of huge bunkers is simply stunning. Favourites amongst the longer holes would be the 3rd where the green juts out into the lake and the 8th with its huge sculptured bunker sitting below a raised green. Clever run off areas around the green are a feature on the 8th and add to the interest around many of the other greens complexes also. The 15th provides an interesting challenge with water running the full length of the hole and the 18th is an interesting risk and reward par5 to finish on but the 13th is the best hole on the course for me. A good drive landing short of the fairway bunkers will leave you with a downhill approach to a very picturesque and undulating green sat on the edge of a lake. The green fee maybe a bit steep but when you add the standard of service and quality of food to great design and world class conditioning it may be sometime before Monte Rei gets knocked from its perch as the No.1 course in Portugal. Brian W

May 01, 2014
9 / 10
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shaun donnelly
Monte Rei is simply one of the best golf experiences that money can buy, it oozes class with a service standard unrivalled in the Iberian peninsula. Visually stunning, conditioned immaculately there are no weak holes at Monte Rei. High premium in price yet value for money with practice facilities and buggy included Tthey also have a chicken sandwich that's heavenly. Most definitely Portugal's finest golf course and experience.
March 30, 2014
10 / 10
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Tomasdaul
I can just highly recomended to visit and to play a Monte Rei golf course! Top servis from the start to the end of your visit! And the course in very good condition with a perfect design!
February 26, 2014
10 / 10
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Alex Wilkinson
What an experience! On arrival there is someone to clean your clubs and load them onto your buggy with valet parking. There is one employee who is assigned to each group to show them to the range and introduce the facilities, which are the best I've ever seen!. He will wait there until you are ready to tee off and he will show you the way to the tee and introduce the course. Now onto the golf. The course was incredibly well kept and the greens were fast. One of the toughest courses I've played with coffins for bunkers on every hole. This was all followed by a complimentary lunch overlooking the picturesque 18th. A wonderful course, it looks expensive but the experience was worth every penny! I would strongly recommend every golf fanatic to play.
July 18, 2013
10 / 10
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Lackas
Exzellent golfcourse in a very good shape with a great service. The only need of improvement is the very conservative Golfstore.
June 05, 2013
10 / 10
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