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: 51
TaylorMade
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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Cédric
A terrific course, a collection of 18 great holes. One little complaint, the speed of the greens, way too slow. A lot of downhill tee shots so it doesn't really play the full 6500 meters. Service is 5 star too, and little attentions like the included stroke saver and the bag tag you receive after your round also count. It's pricey but the buggy is included so it's not that much more expensive than Vale de Lobo for example, and the course is so much better! I'll return... Cédric
October 06, 2012
10 / 10
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Johnny Lawrence
Just returned from playing 7 straight days at Monte Rei.Having done Les Bordes, Valderrama, & Morfontaine, Monte Rei in my opinion is the No 1 in Europe. From start to finish it is 5 star all the way. Favourite holes No 3 Stunningly spectacular tee shot, No 13 second shot into real shallow green with hazard over the back and to the right.Also the tee shot at 15 and second shot to green. Par 3's 11 & 14 just class.Par 5's 6 & 16 are both uphill and unless you are 'godzilla' no chance of reaching in 2.If playing when the Bermuda is dormant, don't be put off by the browness, the lies are still great. Played once off back tees, as they say 'been there done it'. One word describes AWESOME!!!!
March 26, 2012
10 / 10
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matthew walker
Outstanding! Played in mid August 2011. Impeccable condition, spectacular environment, great design, truly an incredible golf experience. Par 4 15th and par 5 16th were my favourites amongst many memorable holes. Definitely in my top 5 in Europe. Discounts available for tee times after 2pm (EUR 130). Hard to compare to other great courses like Sunningdale and Ballybunion, but it sits amongst them.
August 29, 2011
10 / 10
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Dave Kerr
Monte Rei (North) Golf Course - Photo by reviewerSimply put Monte Rei is one of the finest golf courses I have ever played. The setup (practice grounds, clubhouse, staff) is exceptional and the golf course itself is nothing short of stunning. Great variety, great turf, amazing green complexes, most holes are secluded from one another and (unlike many in Portugal) most are not overlooked by property. Monte Rei has gone straight into my top 5, probably dislodging Muirfield in the process.
May 21, 2011
10 / 10
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Mark Knight
This place is special, from the second you switch the engine off and are greeted by the Caddie masters staff. The service is second to none and you get a sense that you are at a Top 100 venue.From the practice area you are escorted to the 1st tee and let loose. The course is challenging and was in excellent condition on 18/02/11 and some of the holes when stood on the tees are nothing short of stunning. It is a must play for any golfer.
March 02, 2011
8 / 10
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Gary Vaulks
I have been fortunate enough to play all The Top 100 Courses of GB & I along with all the Algarve Courses - Monte Rei is, despite my despair of the Nicklaus "one mile buggy ride from green to tee" - FANTASTIC!!Play it!!
October 18, 2010
10 / 10
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Simon D Turner
Played virtually all the courses in the Lisbon region and all those in the Algarve and I would place Monte Rei at the very top. Played it yesterday for the fourth time and was hugely disappointed with the greens. All 18 had been hollow-tined and sanded. No mention was made of this at check-in which some courses do when under maintenance. I would have been even more disappointed to have paid the €190.00 green fee. So, avoid for at least another six weeks then go and play it. It is special.
September 18, 2010
2 / 10
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Graham Methold
September 18, 2010
It is always disappointing to play a course after it has been hollow-tined, but giving this course a two star is very harsh, particularly with the positive comments you made. I played the course in August. It is a really special course - one of the best of its type that I have played.
alec roberts
Fantastic course, easily the best in Portugal. I've played Monte Rei twice and the 2nd time was even better than the 1st (probably helped by better weather). From the moment you arrive the place shows quality, the service (as is the norm with Troon Golf Management), the clubhouse and range are all world class! Pyramids of balls await, even in the practice bunker! The chipping & pitching greens make you want to stay and practice all day. The view from the 1st tee is breathtaking, a sweeping downhill dogleg, as you progress down the hole and get a view of the green you know today is going to be a good day! Perfect playing surfaces, fast greens (they were sanded and still 10.5 on the stimp). A cool but difficult feature are the bunkers, all the faces are prepared compact so all balls roll down to the middle of the bunkers, no plugged lies under the lip but lots of 6 to 10ft uphill shot from a flat lie onto rapid greens, nice! The prevailing wing makes the uphill par 5 6th and 16th holes play very long. The 3rd and 13th, 14th & 15th holes are stunning. The course has everything. Open stadium type holes like the 12th & 18th, also tree lined holes like 8 & 10. The only slight negative (apart from no nearby motorway exit) is the 235 yard par 3 7th green, for me a bit too tricky when you’re hitting 3 wood with a left to right crosswind. But all in all un unforgettable experience, and what’s more, there’s hardly anyone playing it. Another thing, 15 min tee time spacing! I’ve played Valderrama (great but the snobby service left me with a bad impression, 24 range balls and 15 mins warm up time for 290 euro!), Les Bordes (would be my No1 continental course but it doesn’t qualify now it’s private, pity), PGA Catalunya, La Biella, Oitavos Dunes and I’d put Monte Rei ahead of them all. If the pines were replaced by cactus it would hold it’s own in Scottsdale with Troon North, Grayhawk & We Ko Pa. If you’re in the Algarve don’t miss it!
December 10, 2009
10 / 10
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Andy Pullen
May 12, 2010
I agree with the comments, and find Monte Rei gets better every time I play it (I have wealthy friends who take me!). However, in fairness to the superb golf staff, who I have spoken to many while there, and know that Monte Rei is independently owned and managed - and is not run by Troon Golf as suggested!