Review for Penina (Championship)

Reviewer Score:


I’ve stayed at Penina twice now, over which time I’ve played the Henry Cotton Championship Course three, maybe four times. Whilst I’ve enjoyed my trips to the resort, it took me by genuine surprise to find that the course had received as many high ratings as it had, so I felt like a more balanced review was needed, as to be frank, architecturally the Championship Course offers nothing outstanding. Played across two loops of nine, it’s a tree-lined layout amidst flat terrain where you have to negotiate with a fair amount of water. Of all the holes across the 18, I found the most interesting to be the 9th that returns back to the hotel. You need to hit an iron shot towards bunkers at the dogleg in the fairway before the hole turns sharply left towards the hotel with a well guarded raised green. The 13th also touts itself as a great hole, “One of the best 500 holes in the world” is the sign that greets you on the tee, but it isn’t a hole that fully lives up to that boast, you just need to carry your tee shot over a lake. When a course feels the need to advertise one its holes as one of the best in the world, I’d argue that it probably isn’t as good as what it’s making itself out to be.

I’ve also found the course conditioning at Penina generally a little disappointing, it was looking somewhat tired during both of my visits and I’ve found areas of the fairways and tees to be patchy in parts.

On a positive note, if you’re looking for a relaxed golf trip with multiple courses, excellent practice facilities, good restaurants, a nice bar at which to finish your round, and of course some sunshine, Penina hits all of these criteria. This will please many, myself included, but in my opinion if you took all of these periphery details away and simply picked up the course and placed it in England and played it on an overcast day, you’d only find the Championship Course to be an average layout. The fact that it has staged so many tour events is probably more to do with the resort having large practice facilities and lots of land available for hospitality.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed my two trips here and wouldn’t discourage anyone from visiting, just don’t come here expecting a world class golf course. By all means, make the trip to Penina, it’s a lovely resort, but my advice would be to make time in your itinerary and take the short drive to nearby Palmares where you’ll see a marked difference in course quality.

Date: October 10, 2017

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