After an investment of €18m in 2004, the fifth golf course at Vilamoura opened for play. Arnold Palmer designed the Victoria and it’s a big layout that was built with tournament play in mind. One year after opening, the course hosted the WGC World Cup, which resulted in a Stephen Dodd and Bradley Dredge Welsh team victory.
In 2007, Oceânico Golf, former owners and operators of a group of seven Vilamoura courses, secured the inaugural Portugal Masters. Englishman Steve Webster won the first event with an impressive 25 under par total. The Portugal Masters has been held on the Victoria course ever since.
In some ways, the Victoria is similar to the South course at the K Club, but naturally the weather here on the Algarve is much warmer. The hazards are severe and you may settle for the safe option and a few three putts by aiming to hit these huge, fast and undulating greens in regulation. Keeping out of the numerous water hazards and the threatening bunkers will pay dividends on this relatively flat course.
It was OK. The Old Course and Monte Rei are the best two in the Algarve, no doubt at all. I also prefer Vila Sol, though only just. This course is well maintained and has great facilities, but it is not worth the large price tag. At this money, I'd rather play Monte Rei time and time again! I agree that the course is a little flat. Sure, the holes have been sculptured, but overall the elavation changes through the 18 holes are not what you'd expect from a £100 golf course. Don't be put off playing it, but it's just not the sort of course I'd return back to.
I have to say I'm not a huge fan of modern courses where the earth has clearly moved but I found this course something special. The condition was just stunning throughout the course and it was so appealing on the eye. The course starts with a few great rollercoaster par 4's before 2 par 5's in the next 3 holes which tempt the big hitter but require great accuracy - missing on the wrong side is not an option. As you enter the back 9 the water comes into play on virtually every hole, with many greens nestling on rocks above the water line. It's stunning to look at, the greens are a real challenge as they have significant slopes and the closing few holes offer a real challenge. For me it even just snuck it over the Old Course!