Vilamoura (Old) - Algarve - Portugal

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


  • +351 (0) 289 310 341


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.

If the above article is inaccurate, please let us know by clicking here

Write a review

Reviews for Vilamoura (Old)

Average Reviewers Score:
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: 7.7 out of 10 Reviews: 55
TaylorMade
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
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful

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
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful

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
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful

rob
Best Oceanico course, described in one word unbelievable.. too easy though.
October 24, 2008
10 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful

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 25, 2008
6 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful

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 17, 2008
10 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful

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 07, 2008
10 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful

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
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful

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
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful

Andy Newmarch
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 28, 2007
6 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful