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)

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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: 49
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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 15, 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 04, 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 22, 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 02, 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 19, 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 06, 2013
10 / 10
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Jim McCann

The North course at Monte Rei is a little removed from the main Algarve golf scene - situated as it is to the east of Faro, near the Spanish border - but don’t let the relatively remote location put you off playing here as this is a layout of epic proportions which fully deserves to share the exalted company of the likes of Valderrama and the Stadium course at PGA Catalunya at the top of the course rankings for the Iberian peninsula.

Nicklaus designs are not everybody’s cup of tea but, wow, what a fantastic job Jack did here on such a wonderfully diverse property – this is golf on a grand scale as fairways pitch and roll around heaving foothills in a clever routing that only ever allows the layout of the following hole to be revealed on arrival at the next tee. Monte Rei (North) Golf Course - Photo by reviewerBunkers throughout may well be enormous but they’re proportionate to the magnitude of the expansive fairways and green complexes.

The elevated tee shots on holes 1 and 10 set the scene at the start of both nines, with plunging drives hanging in the air for ages before finally falling to ground. Lakes come into play to the right of the fairway at holes 2 and 3 then again on the back nine at 12, 14 and the final two holes. I’m not a big fan of risk/reward golf involving water and so the short par four 12th - where the fairway horseshoes around a lake - is easily my least favourite hole on the course.

Fortunately, it’s followed by the hole I liked best; a visually stunning downhill par four that swoops sharply downhill to a raised green perched on the side of a lake. All five short holes at Monte Rei are thrilling par threes requiring heroic carries across gullies (or water, as on the 14th) to well protected greens where a “3” marked on the card will feel like a birdie.

Buggies are an absolute must when playing such a vast layout so traditionalists just have to swallow their pride and enjoy the motorized ride. A generous slope rating of 136 from the 6030-metre Championship markers has been assigned to the North course and some may view that particular indicator of playing difficulty as rather understated for such an engaging track. It’s definitely a course that’s not to be missed when visiting Portugal.

Jim McCann.

December 04, 2012
9 / 10
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James
Having played here twice in the last week I can say that which ever way the wind blows this course is an exceptional and memorable track. You are treated exceptionally well; Valet Parking, porterage, range balls, Buggy and guidance are all part of the service. The faultessly maintained course is a fabulous challenge set through undulating natural scrub land. Every hole is pure eye candy and makes you think strategically. You are presented with inviting testing tee shots and challenging approaches to well protected but ultimately fair greens. Every hole is brilliantly designed and exceptionally varied using this wonderful bit of ground to full advantage. There are plenty of wow moments here as you play down to long par threes, over gauges, over massive lakes, along side huge bunkers and up to parapet greens. It is a transparent and honest challenge of monumental scale. it is in my top 5 of all time. Go. You will love it! JCB Lay
November 12, 2012
10 / 10
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