Quinta do Lago is the dream which entrepreneur Andre Jordan realised in the early 1970s. This 2,000-acre luxury residential development was perhaps a bit ahead of its time, but now the “Manor estate by the lake” (to which Quinta do Lago roughly translates) is well and truly established.
Located fifteen minutes northwest of Faro airport, American architect William Mitchell raised the bar in terms of golf course architecture here at Quinta do Lago by importing American standard greens, tees and bunkers. The original and best course is now called the South and it opened for play in 1974.
The Quinta do Lago South course is certainly the most famous in the area and it has played host to the Portuguese Open on no fewer than seven occasions with Mark McNulty and Colin Montgomerie being former title holders. Given its championship pedigree, this is also a course which will be enjoyed by the average handicap golfer. The fairways are relatively generous and the predominantly sandy but undulating ground flatters medium hitters.
With umbrella pine-lined fairways, bold bunkering and a splash of water features, the South course at Quinta do Lago is certainly an eye-catching layout and one which will appeal to discerning golfers.
Played this one the following day to having played the North Course and the first impression is that the course is a little bit more challenging, specially from the tee boxes where you need to move the ball in both directions. Greens are a little bit easier than North with no grain in both directions and slopes smoother, but all the same you can face some extremely fast putts in some holes.
In this 18 holes I found some holes really spectacular and that will last longer in my memory:
- Par 4 1st is a nice opener where you can bomb it close to the green downhill.
- Tee shot on par 5 2nd demands very good direction if you wish to go for it.
- 3rd is a great par 4 where lake on the left can be a problem for longer hitters.
- 6th is a nice uphill dogleg left short par 4, second shot is one of the nice ones to hit.
- 8th is a weak hole because from the tee box it is not that clear where to aim, but the best option is short and a mid iron as second shot.
- 10th if not the one I liked most, it will be close. It plays similar to 10th at Shinnecock (yes, but with trees on both sides!) where you can bomb it down the slope and have a nice uphill wedge.
- 13th is another good short one, dirvable for everybody able to hit 260yds.
Then the stretch 14-18 gives you a very nice end of the round, with 15-16 being the best ones and most scenic in the 36 holes with some views of the Ocean.
I am 4 rounds short on the Tour and so far this is very good!
Played during very rainy period and the course was in best condition of any course we played this trip. Greens were slick, but fair (mostly). Was lined by houses, but the course seemed to provide more room than other courses in the area if you strayed a bit off line. Felt I had to hit a extra club(s) all day whether into or with the wind. Absolutely want to play here again.
Very enjoyable course with some great holes and of course some great properties to marvel at on the way round. Best buggies i have ever had. Place was absolutely rammed but to be fair afte the first tee it opened up and flowed very well. Highly recommended