The Portuguese can thank the British for introducing the game of golf to Portugal in the 19th century when a group of British wine exporters formed Oporto Niblicks Club at Espinho in 1890 laying out a rudimentary nine-hole course on a strip of sandy linksland to the south of Oporto.
The eldest club in Portugal – and the fifth oldest in Continental Europe after Pau (1856), Dinard (1887), Biarritz and Royal Antwerp (both 1888) – was renamed Oporto Golf Club in 1901 and it remained an exclusive British preserve for the next three decades.
Remodelled by Philip Mackenzie Ross in the late 1950s, Oporto Golf Club is a traditional affair and the clubhouse is a monument to the history of Portuguese golf but the course itself is rather special too. Oporto is routed across the most authentic links ground in Iberia and the whole experience is a rather surreal British links-like affair except, of course, the sun shines more frequently here in northern Portugal.
With few weaknesses and some pleasant, subtle undulations, the relatively short Oporto is one of Portugal’s unsung courses and should be included on any serious golf aficionado’s Portuguese itinerary.
A very interesting traditional course that is a cross between links and parkland. It has a good mix of holes laid on out quite a flat piece of land. There is a little water comes into play on the closing holes but it is natural and not intrusive. The opening short par four holes are a warm up for some strong holes such as 4th, 7th 13th and 15th. The par threes are a nice mix of length and direction. The greens were excellent with fast true putting surfaces and the fairways good but large areas of rough were a bit patchy and short of grass. The clubhouse is a wonderful old building just full of tradition and history befitting such an old Club.