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 11th 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!
Royal Obidos sits on the beautiful Silver Coast of Portugal. A for Golf´s standards new golf course, it was built to meet tournament standards. Different tee´s range up to well more than 7000 yards. It will be a multiple Challenge Tour host later in the year.
The course is settled into the very hilly landscape which is slowly falling off towards the ocean. However Royal Obidos does not posses any ocean front holes. You can see the water from here and there, especially from the great view of the club house, but it´s nowhere close to the water.
The course basically is a range. It does not own any trees, at least none that really come into play. That makes it really prone to the strong winds around the area. Seve made a good job of very often putting the tee´s well above the fairways. That makes the holes extremely exposed to the wind and adds a lot of fun challenging the conditions.
The course design however is really weak in my eyes. Even though it lacks the ocean front holes of Praia or West Cliffs, it still sits on a beautiful peace of land. I think it was just not well used. I understand the idea of leaving it open and make the holes and the surroundings very visible, but they must have taken every tree down. This makes the course feel so artificial which is extremely opposite to the other courses around it.
I played the course about two weeks ago and I forgot most of the holes already. A lot of them are simply long. I you take on the shorter tees though, the course immediately becomes dull. I miss the options to play the course in different ways. Unfortunately the course also plays extremely lush. The ball roles absolutely nowhere and with them growing rough out it´s definitely not meant to be. And the many lakes around there make no sense to me. On a peace of property this strong you do not need huge water hazards. Instead you make it look like a Floridian Ressort Golf course.
Coolest stretch of holes is definitely #2 and #3. Although they look very superficial as well, the views are great and they are very tricky holes to play offering different options to play them. That was really fun. Unfortunately the course becomes more boring after that.
Maintenance in general is really good. Especially the fairways are absolutely pure. However if you fall in love with the bent grass greens on West Cliffs these greens are not comparable in any way.
A lot of critiques from my side towards the course. All in all it´s still a good golf course on a stunning peace of property. It´s well conditioned and is definitely very different to the courses around.
However I strongly believe the property was wasted with a poor design and the decision to make the course play very soft instead of firming it up. It just lacks the character a really good golf course has.
Recommended? Yes! Would I play it again. Yes! On my last trip I played Praia and West cliffs both three times each and Royal Obidos once. Would definitely play the same split again.
Beautifully well maintained and challenging layout a short hop from the coast. Very much a resort course style, with generous fairways and plenty of bail out areas. It main defence is the length and elevation changes - getting on in regulation is a serious challenge. It’s well open to the elements and the fairly constant Atlantic wind adds a club or 2. There’s plenty of well considered bunkers too and the greens have enough undulations to add another level to the challenge.
There are a good spread of tee boxes, with the reds being far enough forward that it keeps it fair. No real gimmick holes, which is a relief, but it would have been nice to see a couple of shorter par 4s to add a little variety.
Definitely we’ll worthwhile playing.
Played in a group of 12 - 2 rounds. Hcp varied from 5 - 24. Played West cliffs and Praia in same week and have played almost all the courses in the top 20 currently. This is a course that is underrated and our group all would rate it higher than west cliffs and Praia for both the course and the experience. Because I went off the ratings we played West Cliffs and Praia more than Obidos but if we came back we would prioritise Obidos. Yes you need a buggy but the same would be said of all the others. The course was pretty empty unlike the others. The clubhouse is superior and with just a few tweeks would easily be in the top 10. It is more open than all the others and more water features ++ so it is different. Perhaps for a very low handicapper it does not offer the same challenge as West Cliffs or Praia and it is not a links course but was a very enjoyable experience that was shared by all our group.
I’d agree with the other reviewers, it’s long and has too many par 5s and 3s. It is friendly off the tee but is certainly a challenge, not as good as West Cliffs but better than Oitavos which is ranked much higher.
Of the 4 courses in the near vicinity, Obidos is on a par with Bom Successo and a big step behind West Cliffs and Praia del Rey. There is room off the tee which is a positive but the elevation changes and lushness of fairways make the experience a slog. It is a challenging course and one designed for tournament play. The front 9 is definitely more attractive and interesting with the back having a very American stadium course feel. The thing is though that to be fair, Seve did a good job in the design considering the land he had to utilise. If you have only one day in the area, play West Cliffs, if you have more time then add Praia to your schedule and if you have even more time in the area play West Cliffs again.
A newish course, some quite long green to free transits, lots of water and sea views but no seaside holes so not really my kind of course, but a fun relaxing fairly quick game when set alongside its siblings, and worth a go on those terms. Greens and general upkeep were good, elevation changes keep you on your toes and you'll use every club in the bag - but you'd better be hitting your driver straight.