We own a timeshare of sorts on the apartment complex at Penina which you can see coming off the 13th bridge behind the green. I feel like I'm in a good position to give a balanced review here playing the same week in October for quite a few years now.
Let me start by saying Penina I find loosely comparable to Ganton. Ganton is a much better course but I can't help but feel they are both a little past their best. Penina boasts the oldest course in the Algarve and it does unfortunately show. The wrinkles and old age is more and more apparent every year we come back. It's a shame as the place itself is great. Practice facilites are good, bar and restuarant, spa, gym and hotel are all good quality.
Out of the 11 courses I've now played in the algarve, Penina is the stand out for the most difficult. I tend to play it off the white tees which plays around 7000 yards for a par 73. Penina's fairways are bent grass, a little unusual amongst some of the household names of the Algarve. This means that you don't tend to get much runout even in the summer. A combination of this, lots of water risk reward shots, giant undulating greens and deep bunker puts a big premium on well struck 4,5 and 6 irons. Especially as the masses of trees within the grounds don't seem to guard against the wind well.
Although the layout doesn't really boast any spectacularly designed holes, there are some holes I do really enjoy playing. The par 4 7th presents a tight fairway with pond down the left. One of the shortest par 4's on the course. Or the 9th which I would argue is the best designed hole on the course. A typical tough Penina hole. Playing some 430 ish yards off the back tees, 4 or 5 bunkers on the right side of the fairway requiring a perfect tee shot down the left (but too far left is dead) which might just allow you a chance to have a go at the big, elavated, undulating two tiered green which stops 100 yards short of the hotel.
It's a great venue for a group holiday. The prices here for golf are reasonable and it's a good base of operations with the Amendiora resort, Palmares and Villamoura all very close should you choose to play there too.
Date: October 24, 2021