Troia is located to the south of Lisbon a little farther down the coast, and you can reach the club via a lovely short ferry crossing from Setubal to the Peninsula of Troia. It’s on this peninsula that Troia lies, wedged between the Atlantic Ocean, the Sado Estuary and the Serra da Arrábida and the setting is magical.
Robert Trent Jones Senior designed the course and it opened for play in 1980 to a rightful fanfare of trumpets because Troia is magnificent, engaging and also highly underrated. Naturally Jones has utilised his trademark bold bunkering, raised greens and some doglegs, which sweep between pine trees.
The 368-metre par four 3rd is one of the finest sea holes in Portugal and there are numerous other outstanding holes on this lovely course. When the Portuguese Open came to Troia in 1983, Sam Torrance was the only player to better par for the championship, which is a testament to Troia’s challenge. The moral of Sam’s achievement is to make sure that you select the correct tee box for your maximum enjoyment. Troia is no place to be macho.
To reach Troia take a two hour drive from the Algarve or much more fun is to arrive from the north from the Lisbon area. The route heading south is via the Setubal ferry; which is a 30 minute crossing direct on to the Troia peninsula and within 5 minutes of docking, you are at the course. A beautiful setting with many tree lined holes on just fantastic sandy soil...
We played in mid-November and it is clear that this is low season but get lucky like we did and you can play in the winter sun and on virtually an empty course. I would highly recommend Troia at any time of the year but after escaping the bleak London climate at this time of the year, we were spoilt with the weather, the welcome and the course. The course in places has some world class holes and that starts with the very first shot of the day; a par-5 over water from the tee and then snaking in and out of bunkers and wasteland all of the way to the green.
The par-4 3rd is a great hole, around 400 yards playing along the course boundary, with two strategically placed trees down the left side to negotiate from the tee. The shortest hole (155 yards) comes at the 4th and is a simple looking hole really; just a short iron to a raised green but anything that misses the green will have the strong run-offs on all sides they contend with. The par-5’s at Troia are very strong and a contender for the best comes at the 7th - a slight fade from the tee is favoured for this 560 yard hole and key to scoring well has to be the lay-up as there are two perfectly placed bunkers around 130 yards on the middle/right of the fairway. Three more green side bunkers protect the offset green too.
On the back nine, the par-5 14th is another class hole, not the longest at 520 yards but this is work all of the way; a decent tee shot is needed to be able to see around the dog-leg that turns left. Then an accurate lay up (trees left and wasteland to the right) is needed, before approaching another offset green. My favourite par-3 is at the 17th, 175 yards across dead ground with two massive bunkers just short and three more to the left of the green - this hole is in the perfect spot, near to the edge of the property with great views out over the Atlantic. The rounds ends with yet another great par-5, which needs a lot more thought than just brute force shots to get to the green, stay out of trouble and there is a chance to finish on a high - loved the approach shot to a raised green, which is wider than it is long.
Troia was one of my 2017 highlights on the golf course and gets a big recommendation and as a resort too - lots of non-golfing experiences on the peninsula to fill your time also.
Portugal’s central region is a serious destination with at least six courses that I would happily play many times......
Had the opportunity of playing the course 5 times over the last 6 months of which 4 times from the back tee and once from the yellow ones and it is a fantastic test of golf. A very tough one from the back tees due to the length of the course (6320m) / narrowness of the fairways and the small size of the greens. An acceptable one from the yellow tees for those keen on thinking hard about course strategy (just to be clear, unless your driving average is superior to 290 yards, you can definitely use the long stick from all tees). As a result the course can be frustrating when you first play it as you need to know the routing well and where to lay up / attack (you get heavily penalized for missing a fairway as your ball will end up in sandy areas with tough lies). However it is a great course to play on consecutive days as the challenge is always there, all the more when the seaside wind comes into play.
The routing is very interesting and diverse, requiring ability to play all type and shape of shots. The environment close to the sea is superb and some of the views are breathtaking.
As for the conditioning I played the course in mid November and the greens where in superb condition, not a single one of them being yellow / burnt (was the same yesterday, greens where fast and with true lines). The fairways look yellow / burnt but remember your playing on sandy grounds so nothing unusual / abornmal. Fairway bunkers are very good. Greendside bunkers are disappointing however (too much sand so the chance of having your ball plugged is quite high).
All in all a very good golf course that I would highly recommend to anyone planning a golf trip to Lisbon and looking for a strong test in a super environment.
Had the opportunity to play Troia this year and unfortunately, the experience was an underwhelming one... First, the conditioning was not up to the standard you would expect the 4th ranked course in Portugal. Many greens were burnt-out (not yellow, but burnt...). The course layout feels very squeezed in between the ocean to the west and the road to the east. The first three holes have you wondering just how good this course will get, but then the rest of the round is somewhat of a letdown. I found the holes to lack variety, as most of the par 4s are narrow, tree lined doglegs requiring irons off the tee. I have no problem with holes requiring a different club than a driver on the first shot... In fact, I think they are essential to any good course. Variety is the key! That, in my opinion, was severely lacking at Troia. The course did not offer any memorable hole, apart maybe from the 3rd.
All in all, the impression I got is that RTJ did not have enough land to create the course he would've liked. The area is beautiful, the staff was friendly and serviceable, but the golf was disappointing.
Just wanted to say that having played the course on November 10th I disagree on almost all items put forward in this comment (see my review).
I played Troia for the first time over the New Year holidays in 2014 and am very eagerly anticipating playing it again during the coming summer holidays. It is simply a lovely design set amidst even lovelier surroundings. As a fan of RTJ Sr. designs, it is one of hist best -- made all the more challenging by plentiful natural sand and the pine-lined doglegs. The paucity of other golfers seeking to be challenged by the course suits me fins as it ensures a rather more peaceful round.
Having noted the reviews and ranking for Oitavos Dunes in Cascais, which I have played twice (each time to great disappointment), I must admit to being absolutely baffled. Oitavos is a vastly inferior track to Troia and many other Portuguese and continental courses and such a ranking does a great disservice to these courses.
As a fan of UK and Ireland links golf, I am often rather sceptical of continental courses that claim to be 'proper' links but Troia did not disappoint. The journey itself on the Setubal ferry builds the sense of anticipation and the scrubby, sandy dunes on the road in feel just right. It was blowing a healthy wind on the day that we played and you certainly had to strike your shots very well to find the small and well protected greens. Perhaps the fairways were a little too soft and sandy in places, thus making the classic bump and run shot less of an option but low, punchy wind-cheaters were certainly an asset on many holes. There is a good flow to the course and a fair variety of hole length to offer some respite from the challenge with a number of decent birdie chances. Standout holes for me were the 'postage stamp' style par 3 4th right next to the beach and the huge dog-leg left par 5 15th that called for some stout hitting to avoid sand and trees on the way to the putting surface. Well worth the journey to play and I hope to have a chance to return in the future.
The removal (replacement) of numerous trees from the original RTJ layout was a great shame and a committee decision that (seemingly) lacked understanding. The dumbing down of a demanding layout such as Troia was a great shame. I agree that when the wind blows (like most seaside links) Troia can be a tough challenge for mid to high handicaps, especially due to the narrow fairways, size of the greens and the numerous traps. Course maintenance is reasonable and the clubhouse a decent experience. October-November definitely the best time of the year to play Troia...