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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Ady Keeble

A lovely course, I agree, but getting increasingly busy and expensive meaning there are courses which are equally as good available at a more attractive price. Some truly memorable holes, the pick for me being the par-3 4th with an umbrella pine and a small pond guarding the front of the green. The course has a really nice feel about it, meandering through the trees, with accuracy off the tee a must. We visit the Algarve annually for a few days' golf, and whilst I love the Old it is no longer on our list every year because of the numbers they try and squueze onto the course. A shame, because it is well worth a visit, although to say it makes Victoria look like a "pitch and putt" is utter nonsense - the latter is not on the European Tour roster for nothing, and is a far better test of your all-round game.

February 20, 2010
8 / 10
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Anony Read

I'm sorry but the Old course is not the best in the Algarve. I must say it is the best out of the courses in Vilamoura but they are very poor and over played (the weather just makes them seem better). Victoria course built for competions but just like courses in the Middle East there's no scenery. The problem is that many people don't want to travel outside Vilamoura where there are far better courses. Monte Rei should be higher than the Old course and the new courses of the Oceanico Group Faldo and O'Connor Ive heard are very good will play next year. So I recommend before marking this course so high play Monte Rei (if you think to expensive just dont play any of the courses at villmoura you wont regret it)

November 02, 2009
4 / 10
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Andy
December 30, 2009
Our 2010 rankings echo your views - Monte Rei is the new no.1 course in Portugal.
Dan Hare
As many others have said, along with San Lorenzo the pick of the Algarve. Not overly hard, but very interesting holes and the course rewards good play and punishes bad. And the clubhouse is lovely.
June 21, 2009
10 / 10
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Steven Todd
August 03, 2009
Played the course last week and in my opinion is the best in the Vilamoura area. Course was in great condition and managed to hire a set of clubs and buggy for 55 euros (booked through agency). Please note that standards are very high and golf shoes are a must and my 10 year old who only sat in the buggy had to borrow a t-shirt with a collar.
Skippy M
September 22, 2009
I agree a lovely course but this year (I play it almost annually) it was not immaculate. No doubt that the South Course at Quinta do Lago is the best course in the area now - a party of 8 low handicappers all agree with me
steven dobinson
September 24, 2009

An absolute beauty - makes Victoria look like a pitch and putt !!!

Craig
Played course last week and was superb. Course was in amazing condition and every hole had something about it that made it difficult. Tree lined all way means you must hit fairways and sometimes it had to be the correct side as the greens are also protected by trees and large deep bunkers. Best course I have played and that includes, Gleneagles, Carnoustie and the Old course (St Andrews).
May 19, 2009
10 / 10
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Bernhard Koehler
Very Good parkland course in very good condition. it was fun to play here.
April 27, 2009
8 / 10
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Morton Rennick
We played the course just after the greens had been hollow cored, but this did not reduce the pure pleasure in playing the most beautiful course around Villamoura and probably the Algarve.It's a very fair test of golf enjoyable for all levels of players. The course is manicured to a 5 star level.
April 27, 2009
8 / 10
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steven Baker
Next to Leopard Creek this is my favourite golf course. It has It all, variation lovely greens and just a wonderful place to play golf. I've been playing for 25yrs so trust me
March 21, 2009
10 / 10
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James
This really is a beautiful golf course which winds its way up, down and through the natural contours of the land, with each hole framed by umbrella pines. When the sun is shining, it really is a picture - almost Augusta-like in terms of elevation changes. In terms of challenge, if you're driving well and putting well you will score well. The back nine especially is very good, although it is a somewhat disappointing finishing hole. When we played last weekend, the greens were fast and without blemish. If I had one minor quibble, it would be the tee areas. I was a bit surprised how ropey they were compared to the rest of the course.
March 18, 2009
8 / 10
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Ed Hall
Not sure I agree with too easy! Played last week, the course was in great condition, greens were running well, and there aren't many easy holes. It's true if you drive the ball well, you get birdie opportunities, especially on the 5 x par 5's on the course, but holes 6, 7 & 8 are tough holes and you can have some slick putts if you're on the wrong side of the green. It's old-fashioned golf at its best, and the course is a must-play for all visitors to the Algarve. Only downside was having an argument with the starters, who were generally unhelpful and rude, so be warned. Hitting it to 10 inches on the 9th for eagle certainly helped as well ...!
March 17, 2009
10 / 10
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rob
Best Oceanico course, described in one word unbelievable.. too easy though.
October 25, 2008
10 / 10
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