A really good test of golf, considerably quieter than the busy resort courses over in Vilamoura, and well worth the drive east. A fairly gentle opening (albeit a par 5), with a fairly straightforward par 3 to follow. The course is fair, with position off the tee a priority, particularly the closing stretch which is tough. If you are accurate off the tee there are some good scoring opportunities. The highlight for me is the 10th which requires a good drive to give you a chance of taking on the water for the approach. The course really bares its teeth towards the end, with 14 requiring an accurate lay-up from the tee followed by an approach over a large lake. 16 is like trying to thread a needle with water right off the tee and then all the way down the left in front of the green. I have played this twice now and made a dog's dinner of it both times! The landing area off the tee is extremely narrow, with OOB left, so I have a strategy now for next year - mid iron from the tee, fairway wood/long iron over the water to the right to open up the green. 17 is a tough par 3 with another big carry over a lake, playing really long if the breeze is against. A really good track, head and shoulders better in terms of condition than its neighbour Quinta De Cima, despite us playing them on consecutive days.
Date: February 20, 2010