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.
As for the course itself, the 1st is a real tempter and the course just keeps giving after that. So many holes here have that 'wow' factor off the tee, that by the time we played the 17th, as I reached for my driver again the child like excitement was just starting to calm down. As the two halves goes, I found the front 9 to be a little bit tighter off the tee, with the back 9 having a few more elevation changes that kept your interest levels high. The way some of the holes framed your ball as you get your drives away, was superb. The pick of a great collection for me, were the 1st, 2nd, 9th, the 10th from 150 yards in. 11th, great par 3. 12, 13 and 14 are 3 brilliant driving holes, 15th is tough over water and the 17th. Strangely, as with Vila Sol and Vale Do Lobo, I found the 18th to be disappointing, and it failed to do justice to the previous 17 holes, although I feel that there is also a weak par 3 on the front 9 - the 4th. This course was built up amongst our group as the main one of three, and it was head and shoulders above the other two, and well worth the green fee even with the poor exchange rate. I feel I would be a fool not to return here, and I would recommend this in a heartbeat to anybody.