The Old and Victoria courses are marketed as Vilamoura's top two layouts – ahead of the Millennium, Pinhal and Laguna – as they are rightly a cut above the others, but that is not to say the latter three are not very good courses in their own right.
The Millennium opened, as its name says, in the year 2000. Half the holes on the course once belonged to the former 27-hole Laguna course (built in 1990) and the other nine were added to create a new 18-hole layout. The refurbishment of the old holes and creation of the new outward half were overseen by Martin Hawtree, the renowned course architect.
The pick of the holes on the front nine is the 165-yard, par three, 6th where the green is protected by water on the left and a large bunker on the right. The toughest hole on the back nine is the 425-yard, par four, 16th which requires the tee shot to be played uphill to a fairway with bunkers either side of the landing area. The approach shot must then flirt with sand either side of the putting surface before being holed out.
I played Millenium in March 2018. It has two distinct sections, holes 1-2 & 8-18 are on more open and relatively flat land, whilst holes 3-7 across the road follow the more typical Algarve style of design similar to that of Pinhal, routed through undulating terrain and narrowly framed by the pines. I found the thirteen holes on the main grounds to be good, yet somewhat average in the overall context of the quality of the courses at Vilamoura, apart maybe from the 18th. However, the five hole stretch across the road, as five hole stretches go, is arguably up there with the best of which you will find anywhere in the Algarve. These five holes alone make Millenium worth the visit alone, which is saying a lot I think.
The stretch in question consists of two par threes, two par fours and a par five, with stroke indexes ranging from 1 to 13, its variety therefore clearly adding to the appeal of this five hole mini-course. In different character to the rest of the course, each hole in this section is set more apart from the others, framed and enclosed by seemingly older and taller pines and some very nice properties on either sides. The par three 3rd is long, flat and parallel with the road, a nice introduction, then the 4th is where it really starts to impress, a sweeping uphill par five with tall trees encroaching ball flight at various points to influence shot choice. The 5th hole, the hardest on the course, is a tremendous downhill slight dogleg left par four, with a meandering fairway guarded by trees placing a premium on accuracy off the tee to find the right position to have a shot at the green. The par three 6th is another beauty, measuring to a maximum of 150 yards, the green is diagonally shaped at a right to left 45 degree angle from front to back and is protected by a similar shaped pond. The 7th is the final hole of this majestic mini-course and is sumptuous downhill par four, the drive in particular inviting a big hit but the tree-lines can again play havoc with your approach if you don't find the right spot on the fairway.
The remainder of the course seemed so bland to me in comparison that it is hardly worth discussing. Others may disagree, but this is my lasting memory of Millenium. The 18th is a good hole no doubt, a par five that twists to the right at the approach with a pond left of the green. Come to Millenium yes, but try asking if you can play a loop of holes 3-7 three times over!
To concur with other reviewers, this is perfectly acceptable entry level resort golf, but nothing to get excited about.
The holes through the umbrella pines look great - and dominate the marketing material for the course. However, most of the course is pretty open and bland, and is indistinguishable from Laguna.
Everyone is welcome here, so this is a good course for beginners. But the consequence of this is very slow rounds....