Quinta do Lago has come a long way since entrepreneur André Jordan’s dream way back in the early 1970s. The South course is the layout that most avid golfers rush to play, but the North course, formerly called the Ria Formosa, named after the Nature Reserve, is definitely worth savouring.
American architect William Mitchell designed the original 27 holes at Quinta do Lago in 1974 and his third loop of nine now forms part of the North course (the first two loops form the South course). Joe Lee added a fourth loop in the early 1990s and to complete a full house, a third America architect, Rocky Roquemore, re-shaped the North layout in 2003.
The North is one of the Algarve’s most charming courses and it is reminiscent to and almost as pretty as a Melbourne Sandbelt course. Many holes are framed with stately umbrella pines and some greens nestle in truly magnificent sites. Some of the walks between green and tee are bit long but, in the scheme of things, this is a small criticism.
One of the most visually appealing holes in the spectacular 361-metre par four 12th which features a 3-acre lake. The hole doglegs its way around the lake in an alarming fashion leaving a treacherous approach shot to a large undulating green.
Don’t pass the North course by if you are visiting Quinta do Lago it’s a lovely track set in glorious golfing country with a fine collection of par fives... and now it’s ever better. The North course closed in December 2013 for renovation by American architect Beau Welling in collaboration with European Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley. An eye-watering €9.6m was invested in the renovation programme, which included the rebuilding of all greens, tees, bunkers, irrigation/drainage systems and cart paths. The new-look North course reopened in October 2014 to critical acclaim.
With the Ryder Cup being played today we wanted to get back, put our feet up and enjoy the afternoon matches. So with that in mind we chose to play the North Course at Quinta Do Lago at 7.28am. First out with the sun just rising and the dew covering the fairways was just fabulous. I’d go as far to say, I’d highly recommend it as an experience of its own.
We had also picked the North Course as a kind of ‘fill in’ course. We scour the list of courses from this site and as four spoilt men we try and pick the best. This was seen as a ‘last resort’. Well the North Course is anything but someone’s ‘fill in’.
Unlike her neighbouring Vale Do Lobo, Quinta is about the golf. Yes, she is littered with fabulous mansions, villas and over tanned millionaires just like them next door. However, somehow it’s not in your face. The villas are set back and away from the fairways. The practice facilities are more than suitable with numerous putting greens and a gorgeous driving range with fresh Taylor Made balls. The walls in the clubhouse feature paintings of golf courses and even some golf memorabilia. For QDL knows it’s classy than they don’t have to tell you at every moment. The staff don’t dress like Louis Vuitton salespersons but in golf polo shirts. They are friendly and polite.
As for the golf course it again is hard not to compare it with those at Vale Do Lobo. When talking about the Ocean or Royal courses I talk about this hole or that hole. Well coming off the North Course it’s hard to recall a hole that stood out. Their wasn’t a par 3 over a cliff or a view of a beach behind a green. It didn’t possess that special hole that you wish you could go back and play again. What she does have is eighteen holes that are almost all immaculately presented, don’t try and trick the golfer and are suitable in length to suit the par provided. The greens were arguably the best I’ve played on. The edge of the bunkers appeared to have been trimmed with scissors and the fairways were presented with stripes. Off the fairway and the rough was punishing but fair and beyond that the player is made to hit high or low shots either over or under the pine trees that line each hole. You will be hard pressed to find a more manicured track on the Algarve. Each nine boasts 2 par 3s and 2 par 5s.
If I have one criticism, walking the course can be quite long. The course now has two 18 hole courses meaning they’ve had to put another 9 in. That presents the issue of some long walks between holes in making to the next tee. I’d highly recommend playing here though and genuinely loved the course. She’s not difficult and she doesn’t want to cause you to reload after you find water. Infact realistically if your a decent golfer, water should only come into play on the 2nd and the 12th.
I’d have loved to have compared this with the South course. Laranjal still pips the North but that certainly is no discredit to her.
The North is a good course with lots of good holes. It falls under the category of looks better than it really is though, with a lot of average holes in perfect condition and white bunkers, tricking people into thinking it's amazing. 1 is a very good hole, as are 5, 12, 15, 16 and 18. Most of the holes unfortunately are dull with no character, which you have to drive 2 minutes to from the last hole. There is no flow, which doesn't matter so much if you have a buggy.
It's a good course that's worth playing, especially in a package deal, but if you're old school, then it's not a must play
My family and I have been visiting the Algarve for many years whether playing golf or just holidaying. This region of Portugal is blessed with many courses mostly resort type but two or three stand above the rest. The North at Quinta do Lago is the weaker of the two courses at Quinta and although it had recently been re-designed by Paul McGinley I feel that it has not improved greatly. There is plenty of variety in the holes but the routing is very disjointed as there are numerous long walks from tee to green which breaks up the round. A few holes standout such as the 3rd a long uphill par 5 and 6 the short par 4 which makes you think which club to pull from tee. The back 9 is a little better hole 10 is a nice short par 4 and the par 3 14th can be tricky from the elevated tee. The 18th is probably the best hole on the North a sweeping par 5 which doglegs from left to right followed by a second shot down to a well guarded green which slopes wickedly from back to front. There are far worse courses in The Algarve and I would always be happy playing Quinta North but you cannot help feeling that a more could be achieved with the design considering the terrain.
Great golf course with some beautiful holes, not quite as nice as the south course but still great to play, great condition and fantastic facilities. Well worth playing if you get the chance
Played this in May 2018 and it's great fun and in excellent condition - especially the greens. Although walkable, it's quite a trek because of the layout in amongst the villas. I'm struggling to remember any of the holes, but would happily return to play again.
We really enjoyed both Quinta do Lago courses, easily walking both in the day unlike Val do Lobo which really requires buggies.
A lovely place to play golf, with bowl fairways encouraging you to really rip fairway woods on a couple of par 5's, and the trees stopping your ball and allowing play from the needles if you stray wide.
Like the South just a bit below San Lorenzo, but a great day's golf.
A nice course to start a 7 days and 6 rounds Tour. I am writting this only after having played borth North and South so as not to compare them with the other 4 to come.
North Course is one of those courses you can't say it was designed, but one where the designer seems to have received a routing and taking advantage of a nice piece of land he created some very interesting holes. It isn't long, it isn't tough and it is yet a lot of fun to play where score will not come easy on those greens. There grain will show those usual bright and dark contrasts where you need to identify when it is slow (usually never!), when fast and when VERY fast! Breaks are a real challenge to read and it is there where you will make your score here.
It is not easy to have a drivable opener, but it is a great hole (go to the range before starting!), par 5 3rd is a nice 3 shooter. 7th another good hole, reachable in 2 but needing a precise tee shot. 12th is maybe the best hole on the course and it only depends on how brave the line you take is, but designer gives you a lay up and mid iron option which will work for those protecting the scorecard! Both short par 3s on the back 9 are great, especially 16th where with a short pin you could come back 20 yds short. Reachable par 4 17th is a good birdie option but also a disaster one if not precise. I found 18th not the best finisher, a short par 5 that if hosting a Pro event should be a par 4.
Service at every point is great and food at 19th hole as well. One in all a great alternative for holiday golf.
The last of the Quintas on the final day of our trip and a great day out at the north course was had. The rankings have this right as the north is definitely not as good as the south but a ninth more established that Laranjal. Firstly the service was great from the pro shop, to the starter, to the marshal on the course that sat on the 4 ball in front of us and made them hurry and finally the bar staff.
I really enjoyed the course and felt it asked a lot of questions of you. It could be argued that off the yellows in certain places it is short, but this was enough for me having played some courses on the trip that were very long. The greens were great, the fairways true and the fairness is there as when you miss the fairway you in the main will find your ball but will have to play out.
I believe I gave Laranjal a 4 and South a 5 ideally would like to give this a 4.5, but as not quite a 5 for me will have to settle on the 4 ball.