Vilamoura (Old) - Algarve - Portugal

Dom Pedro Golf,
Vilamoura Old Course Golf Club,
Volta do Medronho,
8125-548,
Vilamoura,
Portugal


  • +351 (0) 289 310 341


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The Algarve region stretches out over more than 200 kilometres of southern Portuguese coastline, from the Spanish border in the east to the Costa Vicentina in the west. The sheltered marshes and sand dunes of the east change into wonderful beaches protected by beautiful cliffs as you move westwards along the coast, before reaching the dramatic rocks and hidden caves of the wilder Atlantic coast. More than 70 per cent of the Algarve coastline is protected nature reserves, which play host to large numbers of migrating birds in spring and autumn.

The coastal town of Vilamoura is situated in a perfect central location and the visitor will soon appreciate why it is arguably Europe's largest and most successful golfing destination. The climate, landscape and on and off course facilities are all perfect for year-round golf. In fact, the governing bodies in the area are so keen to ensure that the golfer is satisfied whilst at the same time respecting the local Portuguese people and supporting the indigenous flora and fauna that all of the Vilamoura courses are the first in the world to be environmentally certified by the ISO 14001 standard.

A gem in this Portuguese golfing Utopia is the Old course and it's the second oldest course in the Algarve, designed by Frank Pennink. The Old opened for play in 1969 and has undeniably remained one of Portugal's and Europe's finest courses ever since. Pennink wanted to build a course in the Algarve that would remind the rapidly growing number of British travellers of the great inland courses back home, something he has admirably succeeded in achieving. To ensure the Vilamoura Old course maintained this enviable position, in 1997 Hawtree & Sons managed a significant amount of upgrading and remodelling, which also included the installation of a sophisticated new irrigation system.

As with so many of the best courses, there was little need to perform major earthwork feats to develop the Old, just a simple, sympathetic use of the existing natural contouring, terrain and vegetation. The tees are always beautifully kept; the fairways are wonderfully crafted and tree-lined, making straight driving crucial; the greens small, especially on the par three holes, and the hazards perfectly placed to catch the errant stroke.

Rather unusually, the course par is set at 73; however, the course layout was changed by swapping the 5th and 18th holes around, reducing the number of par fives on the back nine to three.

Every hole will stay with the player after a round, such is the majesty of the Old course. Almost lulling players into a false sense of security, the first three holes are relatively straightforward – as long as your drive finds the fairway. The 4th is a cracking short hole over a pond to a small, sloping green. The rest of the front nine call for total concentration, and careful shot and club selection. The par five 5th may offer up a birdie from the daily tees but only to the best of drives and long iron or fairway wood approaches to a sloping, well-guarded green. Undoubtedly the pick of the front nine and probably of the entire round is the SI 1 8th hole. Playing 400-plus metres from the Medal tee, the hole slopes down hill to a fairway bunker, doglegs gently to the right and then rises back up to a narrow green well protected by trees all around. A par here is a rare and wonderful event.

Things don't get any easier on the back nine. The 10th, 11th and 12th holes test the golfer's range of shots and accuracy off the tee. Watch out for the collection of fairway bunkers on the 12th – they are large, deep and perfectly placed to catch a player's second shot on this 480-metre par five. The 16th is the last of the par fives and at more than 500 metres, for most golfers it will call for three solid shots to a narrow green protected by three large bunkers.

As befits a course of this quality, a well-designed and refined clubhouse and restaurant complement the excellent Old course, allowing the golfer to sit back, relive the round and enjoy the attention and service from the always-friendly staff.

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Reviews for Vilamoura (Old)

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Description: Vilamoura Old is the original and eldest course at Vilamoura but it's also the best. Grand, pine-lined, strategic and in tune with Mother Nature. Rating: 7.8 out of 10 Reviews: 51
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O G Lloyd
There's always a sense of a slight buzz in the mini buses as our group make the annual jaunt to the old course, the only course in the region that has stayed in our itinary since our first trip here 8 years ago. Arriving at the humble club is liking stepping back to the 60's with its old style clubhouse, very small changing rooms and the old fashioned chairs and tables that front the clubhouse. You realise you're back in 2012 when you notice the scandalous prices of merchandise in the shop, 102euros for a simple looking polo shirt.. After last years very wet deluge during our whole round last year we were hoping for at least no rain this time but yet again lightning strikes twice as the heavens once again opened during our round. Care is needed on the paths as they're extremely slippery when wet. The shortish 1st is a favourite of mine, fantastic view down right to the flag which invites one to get the big dog out and hit it as far as you can but as i've learnt, getting the driver out isn't the best option, this course favours course management and plotting. Unfortunately for the first time our 4 ball round was marred by the extremely slow 2 duffers in the 4ball group in front of us. Waiting for 10 minutes to tee off in the rain on the 11th tee isn't much fun. To cap it all off ,on the 12th, one them after searching fruitlessly in the woods for his ball reappeared on the fairway and dropped a ball and continued pointlessly playing while we were waiting on the tee to drive! Favourite holes are the par 3's 4th and 6th, short par 4 9th and the par 5's 12th and 16th. Maybe conditioning is not as good as a few years back but it's a fun course to play and hopefully the sun will be out next year but i hope not the 4ball we had in front of us this year!
November 30, 2012
8 / 10
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James
It's a great course that is for sure. You had better be straight or you will become very familiar with Umbrella pine trees. It is a course that is consistently enjoyable and challenging, greater than the sum of it's parts. The holes themselves are well designed and eminently playable and challenging with out any wow factor or gimmicks. It is a stately and elegant grand old dame of a course. Although it could do with a hair cut, (slow greens), it certainly would not benefit from a face lift and implants! We enjoyed this course enormously. Very similar in style to Valderrama we thought, just not quite as good. JCB Lay
November 12, 2012
6 / 10
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Cédric
My last visit in Algarve took place 6 years ago, and the only course I played under the rain was the Old Course. I thought I would revisit this time and hope for nicer weather. Which fortunately was the case! As for the course, disappointing is the first word that comes to mind. The course itself probably only deserves a 3 ball rating in my books, but the area is so lovely and well maintained that I've gone for a 4 ball rating. The place is in good shape, but the greens are desperately slow (in fairness, as were the greens in all courses I played while in Algarve: the ransom of success I guess, the courses are so crowded that they would be destroyed in no time if they were cut too low). And worse, the holes look all very similar! After finishing my round, I could barely recall half of them, that must tell you something. I played in great company, but felt bored on a number of holes. That's maybe a bit harsh, but it didn't happen for me there, still can detail exactly why. Cedric
October 07, 2012
6 / 10
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malcolm roberts
Fabulous course, a little bit of Surrey transported to Portugal. You need to be straight and putt well - what golf is all about. The best course in Portugal by a mile.
October 14, 2011
10 / 10
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Kevin mckenna
After constant rain for 2 hours we decided to play and course was in great condition for our first round in Portugal. Played off back tees making it hard and a real challenge of golf. The trees give each hole individuality and we thoroughly enjoyed the experience, all hitting drivers into the downhill par 3 against the wind! Felt the clubhouse and changing rooms lacked the wow factor but hence old course! Definitely more of a challenge and better condition than Vale do Lobo which we played on day 2. Will revisit next year.
June 10, 2011
6 / 10
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hywyn williams
Just got back from Vilamoura and had a great day on the Old Course. Come on guys, this is a great course and now back to its very best. Many great holes and all in great condition. Yes, there are trees everywhere, but take your medicine and chip out. The 'hero shot' through the small gap in the trees doesn't work...I know, been there, done that! Only one issue, why on such a great course is the last a stroke index 3. Straight hole and the poorest of all. You must play the Old Course.
March 11, 2011
8 / 10
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Dazza
May 29, 2011
Just want to clear this up the just played the Old Course and it's in immacualte condition right now, Greens are slick and hold shots into them from long range not just wedges. This is a tight course and rewards good tee shots altough i played this course of the back tees playing off 4 hdcp. i would play this course anyday of the week but only after 15:30 (Twilight) and is 60 euro's as it's 105 euros before that. People who say this course is not that good must of played badly on the day they played, expensive to play then i'd agree totally with on that one.
Anthony McNamee
Just back from a golf trip to the Algarve that included a round at the Old Course. To be honest, anyone giving this a six-ball rating must either play mostly on a council course, or else suffer from the disease rife among golfers that a course that's been around a long time has to be a classic. I did enjoy this course - it is interesting, scenic, and very well maintained. It is something of a different challenge too, with more trees than I've ever seen in my life, plus a series of greens with raises and contours that encourages direct pin hitting. But for my money no holes stood out in particular, meaning it isn't a classic course.
May 31, 2010
6 / 10
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James
Played this course for the second time recently and enjoyed it significantly more than the first time, primarily because we played it from the back tees. From the back tees, it is an entirely different proposition. Each hole seems to be framed slightly differently and the course just flows that much better. For example, you are much less likely to be penalised for hitting what you think is a good drive only to find it has run through the fairway. What might be classed as weaker holes from the yellow tees (such as the 5th, 7th, 17th and, especially, 18th) suddenly become much tougher prospects with tricky approaches with a longer iron in your hand. One downside to our round this time though was that despite the overall splendid conditioning of the course, the greens were fairly ropey and certainly not up to the standard of the excellent greens that we'd played the previous days at Quinta do Lago and Vale do Lobo.
April 28, 2010
8 / 10
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John Moriarty
Played the Old Course on a golf trip a couple of weeks back. Great course but unfortunately not in great shape. Best of the Oceanico courses but needs better conditioning.
April 25, 2010
6 / 10
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Brendan McLaughlin
Love this course. I don't like many tree-lined course but this is brilliant. I really like the short par 4, 9th which requires thought and imagination. The course suits the accurate player who can putt well.
March 20, 2010
10 / 10
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