The Amendoeira Golf Resort is situated in the central Algarve district of Silves, half an hour’s drive from Faro airport and the two new courses here – Faldo and O’Connor Jnr – are the first to be constructed within a rural area that once held dominion over the south coast of Portugal.
Once part of the burgeoning Oceânico golfing empire, Amendoiera’s pair of 18-hole championship layouts are complemented by a 9-hole par three track which is floodlit for evening use, along with a number of practice chipping and putting areas. In all honesty, it’s a modern golf facility to match any of the others along this famous golfing coastline.
Faldo’s course calls for golfers to play strategically, avoiding the desert scrub bunkers, rocky outcrops, wandering water hazards and olive trees that lurk in wait for errant shots. Careful positioning of the golf ball will afford the opportunity to score well so “keeping it in play” are the main watchwords here, especially on the hillier back nine.
Nick Faldo is really pleased with the course, saying, “the land at Amendoeira is dramatic and the project has the potential to be a real talking point in the Algarve. With so many courses in the region, that’s no mean feat. This is a very exciting project, which gives me a great opportunity to exploit my passion for design. You have incredible views, beautiful undulating land and any time you get natural terrain like this, it is great fun to work with”.
The Amendoeira resort is a perfect spot for a golfing weekend with friends, everything you need is on site with very well appointed villas and two good golf courses that bring very different challenges. For this review i will focus solely on the Faldo course.
When building the resort the Faldo course clearly got the better of the land, its design uses the hills on the resort to great effect giving some fantastic tee locations (4th being a highlight). The biggest standout on the course however is the bunkering, they are deep and visually intimidating off the tee and for your approaches, a trip to the faldo course will need your bunker game to be on top form to perform well here.
The holes are surrounded by wasteland areas which meant on the whole if your having a wild day off the tee you will likely still be able to find your ball, even if the shot you now have is far from ideal.
Once you climb the hill on the back 9 you have a fantastic stretch of holes as you wind your way back down ready for the par 5 finish.
As i look back on the Faldo course it is definitely the better course of the two at Amendoeira albeit without to many standout holes (8th probably my pick with a fantastic 50 yard bunker running down the middle of the fairway), the course itself was also starting to look a grade down from the pristine conditions you usually expect of such a course.
A good course on a good resort, perfect for groups of varying abilities wanting to get away on a reasonable budget. I wouldn't take a trip back myself however with so many good courses in the Algarve area to sample.
Was really looking forward to playing this course as a big Faldo fan over the years. Arrived at the course - bought a nice tee shirt in the Pro's shop - all good. Wandered onto the terrace for a nice cup of tea and this is where things started to go bad. Got the tea - no milk. got the milk tea gone cold. then waiter came back with Earl Grey tea bag - No good for me "English Breakfast please - sorry run out...............
Gave up on tea went to play golf. First Tee grass not cut fluffy ground tee just about stayed vertical. playing first hole hit a bunker - hmmm few weeds, no rake, mats peeping through - poor condition.
This became the theme for most of the course - some very nice holes and great test of golf but just sadly under maintained. Buggy paths very ropey in places also
i must have visited bunkers on 8 or 9 holes and all in very poor condition.
Had a word with the buggy master after the round and he advised that management had reduced the number of greenkeepers to save money
Lots of developer roads wind through the course and sad to see nicely cobbled roads just full of weeds going back to nature
Its only going to go one way here - so if you need to play it do it now before it folds
From the moment you arrive you are surrounded by exceptional class. The clubs are taken from you by a smartly dressed Porter and you are advised they’ll be ready for you, when you tee off. The course is designed by Sir Nick Faldo and his statue is as impressive as the clubhouse.
The practice facilities are exceptional with pyramids of golf balls lined up over different tiers. If you aren’t suitably prepared to tee off here, I doubt you never will be.
The course itself split opinions within our fourball. For the older ones a buggy was essential. The walks between some of the greens and tees was too much. Certainly on the back nine, as you make your way over the hills, the walk takes your breath away almost as much as the unbelievable views across the rest of the links.
For some their was a distinct dislike for the waste ground that Faldo has created where most would grow thick rough. For me this was a breath of fresh air. Something completely different that you rarely encounter.
I grew up a huge Faldo fan so perhaps I’m biased but the course won me over. I don’t think I’d ever tire of playing here. With the size of the greens I reckon it would play differently each time. The same hole might be a 9 iron or 6 iron from the same place. Sadly the group I play with disagree so for now it might be a while until I sample her again.
Just played Amendoiera for the first time, another first was that this was my first ever course played that was designed by Sir Nick Faldo. My first thought, literally, was “masochist” when after a really solid drive down the middle on the first hole I could only reach the steep uphill raised green with a 3 wood. Little did I know that this hail marry to 10ft from the pin would be my best shot of the day.
I did catch it on a windy day but I also understand this is a windy area as well so they would have had to keep that in mind during the design. There are a lot of spectacular shots out there and it’s a course you definitely have to get to know before being able to put up a decent score in my opinion. I’d call it really tough if I’m honest, but still quite a lot of fun and definitely more suited to the single hcp’er or better. In fact, a perfect training ground for competition teams in my mind and a great winter or whenever getaway to go down and train, play some excellent golf and enjoy all the resort and area has to offer. They really have amazing training facilities which I was able to tour during my visit. There is a great little par 3 course that has flood lights for nighttime play as well, with a bar and everything.
The day I was there it was like 38 degrees and far too hot to walk the course, but I would love to give walking it a try one day. The back 9 would be the big challenge as there are some serious elevation changes out there and it basically runs up the side of what feels like a mountain though perhaps it’s only a big hill. The climb certainly affords some amazing views out over the valley and the resort.
There are a lot of really nice holes out there but my favorite par 3, for example was the 7th, playing at 200 meters with a strong wind to an interesting green that could of come off a Donald Ross course, a bit of an upside down saucer and normally I would say that longer par 3’s are not my favorites but this one was a fun shot and solid hole. The 11th was also a nice short 3 that played really tricky in the high winds. It’s more of an all or nothing type of hole almost like hitting to an island with steep run-offs all around, a two-tiered green with a substantial height differential and water in front. It only played to about 120 meters on the day but required a very well executed punch into the wind to play well.
Of the par 4’s which were a really challenging set of holes I really liked the 14th the best. It was quite a quirky uphill hole with a semi blind tee shot. The approach was to an elevated green with the pin all the way back left. For a short 350-meter hole it made for an interesting and challenging strategic hole that required favoring the right side of the fairway to have a good angle for the approach.
One of the nice things about Amendoiera is that it doesn’t have the typical feel of one of the golf resorts in the Algarve, it feels quite unique and I think it’s a nice addition to any trip into the area for golf to mix up the style of courses you play. It would also make a great home base for a golf trip to the Algarve.
There is also a second course called the O’Connor Course, but I didn’t have an opportunity to play it on this trip. I’m told it’s a nice complement to the Faldo course as it’s less difficult and much more fun and playable for all levels.
Great course, but the Co-vid 19 is evident at the facility. Played with the family were we are 7, 10, 15 HCP from the white, yellow and blue tees. There are 5 tees at the Faldo course which are awesome and really challenges the players. This is a championship course so if you don't hit the ball far you have the option of solving that with the different tee lay outs. I played the white (HCP 11) and it was 150 to 230 meters to the fairway on 12 of the 18 holes.
The greenfee we payed 380 EUR is way overpriced for July and therefore the course was empty, which is a strategy know a days to keep the wear & tear to a minimum and staff off the pay schedule. Great service, good carts, practice area OK but the facility is in tough economic slump because the facility up keep is cut to a low effort mode, everything was overgrown, grass growing in the 2nd hole bunkers??
If you want a true championship course layout then I recommend it! Weekend golfer or high hcp I would do cheaper.
Really worth a trip to play this amazing course. Great condition and facilities. Enjoyed staying on site in the villas too.
A good course, but a bit of a slog. It's very long, over bunkered and a lot going on on the greens. A very good championship course, but if you're looking for fun, I'd play the O'Connor course instead.
The Amendoeira Resort, which boasts two courses used to fly under the 'Oceanico' flag along with 5 other courses in Villamoura (Old,Pinhal, Laguna, Millennium and Victoria)
The resort is fantastic, and the views are amazing. It's not an easy course with a variety of different tees to play off. I would feel sorry for anyone walking the course as there are many ups and downs, and that's excluding the golf!
The price is quite expensive which you would expect for this kind of area, but out of the former 7 courses attached to the group, I genuinely think this is one of the better ones to play if you're making the journey.
One hole which stands out in particular was the par 5 4th. An elavated tee lets you open up your shoulders and let one fly, many more yards available than a normal drive due to the severity of the tee and the downhill fairways. A typical risk reward awaits if you decide to go for two over the hazard. Good luck!
Played both courses last week of November, winter special golf + buggy €65, good value especially by Algarve expensive €100+ prices for us gullible tourists (I'm Irish and championship golf courses cost €30-40 on average). I was worried about some reviews saying courses in bad condition, but I did not find that. My only gripe was the starter insisted that on the Faldo course that with my handicap (11) I had to play the yellows and not the whites which resulted in hardly no use at all of my medium to long irons on decent drives, too many short irons. Both courses are a good test and very enjoyable in their own ways. Playing off whites on the O'Connor, with good drives circa 250 yards, I used every club in the bag and my 6 iron (175yards) about 5 times, which was fantastic and rare for holiday golf. It has big open fairways, good variety and a good challenge, in great condition, especially the greens. It's quite flat, so no need at all for a buggy. I'd say it's almost the perfect holiday golf course. The Faldo is certainly a more difficult challenge due to much hillier terrain and tighter drives, but is very enjoyable in it's own right, probably needs a buggy. The course has great variety and is a real challenge, my only grumble, apart from the yellow tees, was the greens were a bit slow, they needed 1 more cut of grass, but were in good condition. I didn't use the clubhouse facilities, but looked good. Staff friendly except the Faldo starter who needs help with his ''customer skills'', he said I couldn't play the course without a 'pitchfork' repair tool as I was standing on the 1st tee-I had one but if such a hard line is course policy, he should have a bagful to hand out to those without them, I'm sure they can be bought for nothing in quantity. Overall, very pleased and I would certainly return
Have played this course more than any other course in Portugal (around 50 times). Always enjoy the villas and unlimited golf deals that exist. Never that busy and the variety of tee boxes make this as difficult as you want it to be. Well kept, great facilities and some great and varied holes.