Monte Rei Golf Club was originally nominated by Steve for inclusion on the Top 100 website as a gem and was added to the site on 19th September 2007. These are Steve’s original comments: “Not sure if you’d like to include Monte Rei Golf Club within the Portuguese section of the site as it is a fantastic new course, only open six weeks when I played it in late Aug 2007. Incidentally, this is a Jack Nicklaus signature course and he has done a superb job.” Since Steve’s original nomination, Monte Rei has risen meteorically in the golf course rankings.
The Algarve has remained popular with visiting golfers for many years providing an array of golf courses to suit all tastes and abilities. Some of the courses, like anywhere, are better than others in terms of conditioning, degree of difficulty and their ability to create a desire to return after the first visit. At Monte Rei Golf Club things are very different.
The club is located away from the concentration of courses that are abundant around the Albufeira area – Monte Rei is set in the hills northeast of Tavira towards the Spanish border and the mountain setting is very special, which is evident on arrival where stunning views greet you, providing a taster as to what to expect during the round ahead.
This is one of only a few Jack Nicklaus ‘Signature’ courses in Europe and the first to reach Portugal. The layout provides an unforgettable experience and we can safely say that this is a quality golf course, which deserves its high rating in the Portuguese and Continental European rankings.
The course features an abundance of water hazards and some of the very best bunkering we’ve seen for some time. Additionally there are no weak holes and the opener is a par four played from an elevated tee to a fairway that doglegs to the right. Huge bunkers must be avoided both off the tee and at the green to ensure a strong start to your round. There are too many great holes to list here but our favourites come into play at a special corner of the course. The 13th is a downhill par four with bunkers at the drive landing point and a lakeside green that undulates wickedly. Even though the approach to the green is likely to be less than 100 yards, a par is a great achievement. The 14th is probably the prettiest hole at Monte Rei – a medium length par three where the tee shot must carry a lake to find the green and anything pulled left will find a watery grave. The 18th is a cracking finishing hole, a par five that is in reach for the biggest of hitters but watch out for the lake that is in play for everyone’s second and third shots.
As well as having a fantastic golf course, Monte Rei pay attention to detail. The level of service in and around the sumptuous clubhouse is world-class, so expect to be treated well. Four more luxury courses are planned for the area in the coming years, which will be designed by Tom Weiskopf, Kyle Phillips and there will be a second Jack Nicklaus layout. These developments will ensure that Monte Rei goes on from strength to strength placing this relatively unknown golfing area firmly on the map.
We played yesterday in fine conditions, and found the facilities and staff excellent. The course however was a disappointment, still felt new, fairways were a little patchy, too many similar holes dog leg right around water, and Jack's signature bunkers that look like they have been carpet bombed with sand bags. Also see PGA Centenary, Carden Park... The surroundings are dull scrub without spectacular views. Obviously there are some excellent holes, but for a course of this reputation and cost were left feeling underwhelmed.
Monte Rei more than deserves its spot as the top golf course in Portugal!
Upon arrival, you are greeted as a member for the day. An employee will take care of your car and make sure your clubs are placed on your buggy. After enjoying the clubhouse a little bit, you can go out to the practice facility, which is the best in Portugal! I would have arrived 3 hours prior to my tee time had I know how good it was...
The course is well laid out, giving you options off the tee. It gives you opportunities to be aggressive, yet asks you to think before simply bombing it out there. The greens are world class. The bunkering is very good. My favorite hole was the par 4 3rd, with its dramatic drop from the tee box to the green situated on a small peninsula with 3 bunkers guarding it. One of the best holes I've played. After that, the back nine takes over. The 12th, 14th and 18th are the best holes on the second half of the course. The 18th makes for a great risk/reward finish. I managed to eagle the finishing hole which made for a very enjoyable 19th hole!
What really makes the layout great, in my mind, are the strategically placed bailout areas. While the course is difficult and places a premium on second shots, a thinking golfer will find where those areas are and plan his strategy accordingly. If one goes out there and aims for the flag all day long, he will be in for a long day. But by thinking your way around the course, good scoring awaits!
While Monte Rei is on the expensive side of the spectrum, it should be atop any list for someone travelling to Portugal!
I played the course in 2009. In 2009 i gave a 5 Ball Rating due to the condition. These days i have to say it`s simply perfect, the condtion of the fairways and greens as well. It`s challenging, but if you choose the right tee box for you, it`s a really fair track. It`s hilly (Cart is included) and varied. Then in addition, outstanding practice facilities, club house, shop & facilities in the same league, and then a fantastic restaurant (Tapas were included). In that condition (the Design of Monte Rei undeniable great) the Course is definitely one of the best in Continental Europe. Sure it`s pricy, but for such a experience it`s well worth the price.
Great course. Some long long holes and carries and you have to be on your game to get round with even a half decent score. Apparently someone here told one of our lads that once the hotel is built they are looking to try for the Ryder Cup here - were it up to me i would vote for it !
This is a very good course and I am happy I have played it. This is currently ranked the best course in Portugal and from the reviews I was expecting the making of a top 100 course in the world however, for me this just fell short. There are without doubt some great holes 2, 3, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18 all stand out to me. The service is excellent and you will thoroughly appreciate this, we had some banter with the on course staff which was fun. I would say go an play it if you are feeling a bit flush but if not, then Quinta Do Lago South and San Lorenzo are better value for money.
Not a weak hole in sight and some that go into the spectacular. Every hole presents a different challenge and would test any golfer.Thinking mans golf too. You have to shape the ball and it is not about knocking the ball 250 yards plus down every par 4 or 5. As to the facilities, this would challenge any American experience at the very top level. Every face has a welcoming smile and I thought it supplied a really good bang for your buck. Please don't put the prices up though!