Edward nominated Royal Obidos Spa & Golf Resort as a GEM in September 2012 and his comments are as follows:
Royal Obidos is a brand new course designed by the golfing legend Seve Ballesteros. Very sadly Seve died before he could see this new course come to fruition and he never struck a ball on this new course.
It differs in almost every way to Praia D’El Rey (the other course I played when I was on holiday). The clubhouse has a Kevin McCloud Grand Designs feel and its elegance is in its simplicity. Downstairs are the locker rooms and rental area and upstairs the bar, pro shop and incredible glass fronted veranda. That's it, and that's all there needs to be in a clubhouse.
Whilst we weren't on the beach and couldn't see any sand, the ocean was in view for about half the round. The round starts with a generous medium length par four before coming alive on the monstrous par five 2nd. Travelling over the road to face the lagoon side of the course this really was an almighty tee shot. In the early morning sunlight it really was a majestic tee shot, one that you want in every round. Other stand out holes on the front side were the 4th, a long par four requiring a very accurate second shot and the 7th a long par five with commanding views over the massive lagoon in nearby Obidos.
There were plenty of great holes on the back nine, most notably the huge par five 10th with water. In fact water featured so prominently I lost seven balls, a record for about ten years I think. It must have come into play on about a dozen of the holes. Playing off the back tees perhaps wasn't the wisest choice but I wanted to experience it as Seve envisaged. It was a long track off the backs but worth every penny. The rest of the back nine was a very stern test with the last four holes being an absolute stunning set to finish the round with.
The early bird discount meant that for two people the green fees were 99 euros with a buggy, real value for money. The service we received from the caddymaster, the pro shop and the restaurant staff was faultless. The restaurant had some of the best food we had on holiday at such great prices that when the bill came I was pleasantly surprised. You simply must stay after your round and try some of the authentic Portuguese dishes.
It is too early to say how Royal Obidos will develop but with a new hotel planned and a clubhouse built to much more exacting standards than at Praia, this course really should be one to watch in the future. Seve would be proud!