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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Phil Bonsall
A great classic test of golf.The Old Course offers plenty of birdie opportunities ONLY IF you hit the fairways from the tee.I would highly recommend a round here, it is by far the best of the Vilamoura courses.
September 26, 2008
6 / 10
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Colin Jones
This course is an absolute beauty. The club house is very classy, calm and sedate, as are indeed all the staff. Nobody tearing around, and the place is quiet and not over-subscribed like some in the area. The visitors changing rooms can be best described as 'cosy' but this all pales into insignificance when you start the golf. The first is a gentle downhill par 4-but at SI 17 it still a challenge. The front nine then draws you gently in to a magnificent golfing experience. A sweet par 3 over water on the 4th, a long but 'gettable' par 5 on the next. The holes are varied and all filled with challenges, but one of the Par 4's - I think it was the SI1 or 2, was an absolute monster at 440 yards AND uphill. The 18th is a bit of a surprisingly quiet finish at SI 3 for less than 400 yards, but the whites on this hole are a buggy ride back from the yellows, which probably explains it. The place is brilliant, relaxing on the comfy veranda afterwards, sipping the cold beer and overlooking one of the best courses I have ever played. This is a must see/must play if you go to the Algarve.
September 18, 2008
10 / 10
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Darren
Superb! If you want to play an excellent test of golf that is in keeping with Portugese traditions, then this is it. Probably just pips Monte Rei as the best course, simply because this course suits the Algarve better.
May 08, 2008
10 / 10
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jim
Nice course and was in excellent condition when I played last week, However it can be quite boring boring playing courses like this. Every hole seems to be the same test, tight fairways surrounded by trees so the examination is to stay out the trees and you will score.
February 18, 2008
6 / 10
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Lee Abbey
A really enjoyable course this. Easily my favourite of the Vilamoura courses - a slightly more tradiitonal feel and just a pleasure to play. I'd take this over the Victoria any day.
November 05, 2007
8 / 10
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Andy
The Old course has a brilliant start with a downhill par-4, an uphill par-5 and a picturesque par-3 at the 4th hole. The setting is through the trees that are so familiar in this part of the world and the course benefits from having over 30 years of maturity. For me this is probably the best of the Vilamoura courses and pleasure to play. Favourite hole for me is the par-4 9th, which is only 265 metres, drivable? probably not, but worth a go, you may just get lucky and have a clear pitch to the green but maybe not – be warned.
September 29, 2007
6 / 10
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Morais Miranda
Played this great course in August of 2006 while in the Algarve. At the first tee the fairway looks welcoming for a straight tee shot, while the hole is short and downhill the umbrella pines is all you can see. Has you proigress through the golf course in the front 9 it doesnt seem tough with a short par 5 2nd hole, normal par 4 3rd hole. The 4th hole gives you a look at shot making, while it is a short par 3 at 150 meters you have to carry a small lake in front of the green and a TREE, placement of the pin is critical to club selection. The 5th another par 5 lets you get your score in till you get to the 6th, a down hill par 3 of 200 meters. On the tee a great view of Vilamouraand a small green. The 7th a nice hole has you tee off on an elevated tee box to the fairway below which rises again to the green, enough club is key.. then the golf course starts... the rest of the course are long par 4s with umbrella pines tightly defining the fairways, seemingly redundant but each hole is unique and flows with the evolution of the golf course.. the front 9 prepares you for what is a fantastic finishing 9, with unforgiving holes save for 17 a 330 meter uphill winding par 4..only till you play through 14 do you realize ..wow, what a great layout, a great challenge. A must play - a memorable and enjoyable round.
August 17, 2006
8 / 10
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Tim Browne
Standing on the first tee looking down the fairway at the umbrella pine stragically placed in the centre of the fairway I just knew that this course was special. As one of the oldest courses on the Algarve it still represents a very fine test of golf. The umbrella pines that cover the course are great trees for a golf course. They give real definition to fairways yet let you find and play your ball, sometimes not too far, but you hit it there anyway!This course has long and short par 3s tough par 4s and excellent par 5s. It is a course that most people cannot wait to play again.
August 04, 2006
8 / 10
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Mark Jeffery
If Vilamoura Old does not appear on your 'must play before I die' list then you will go to your grave having missed out on 4 very special hours of golf. The course is perfectly designed to challenge and to reward well executed golf shots. Not necessarily requiring massive drives, the Old course will have you thinking all the way around. As with the other reviews here the course was in superb condition and the staff friendly and helpful. Finished with a 79, a beer and a burger and wonderful memories. Will be repeated if I'm down that way again!
July 20, 2006
10 / 10
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Edward
A truly classic test of golf. Very tough holes although not the longest course in the world. The condition of the course when i played was amazing and the green staff take a lot of pride in talking about the best conditioned course in the Algarve. A great course to play if you are in the area.
July 11, 2006
8 / 10
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