Madeira – “the pearl of the north Atlantic” – is a popular holiday choice for many and visiting golfers make full use of the two top golf complexes on the island; the 27-hole Santo da Serra layout that Robert Trent Jones designed and the wonderful 18-hole course here at Palheiro, where the tree-lined fairways are routed in a figure of eight from an impressive clubhouse that overlooks the layout.
Laid out by Cabell Robinson, the course is set within a beautiful 200-year old property that sits a few miles to the east of Funchal, overlooking the sparkling waters of the bay and the distant uninhabited Desertas Islands. Holes wind through pine forest and around botanical gardens in the Palheiro Estate where frequent changes in elevation offer great ocean views.
Four of the five par five holes are played on the back nine so it’s not surprising to learn that the inward half plays more than 700 yards longer than the front nine. The 140-yard 13th is the only one of the five par threes that plays uphill and it heralds a tricky run for home that ends with a pair of stout par fours and a downhill par five at the 18th.