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1. Praia d'El Rey Golf & Country Club

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Praia D'El Rey Golf Course is located within the Praia D'El Rey Golf & Country Club resort, in the western region, close to the historical medieval fortress town of bidos. Set in an area of unspoilt natural beauty overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and the Nature Reserve of the Berlegas Islands, Praia D'El Rey is only an hour's drive from the centre of Lisbon and its international airport. Praia D'El Rey Golf Course was harmoniously designed by the American golf course designer Cabel B. Robinson who has made full use of the splendid sea views, spectacular cliffs and sand dunes, as well as beautiful pine trees, to produce an exciting and dramatically interesting 18-hole course. An authentic links course, it can be played with great enjoyment by golfers of all standards yet can be a challenge to the accuracy of low handicap players. A short impression of some of the most interesting holes: The round could start with a birdie: The 1st has an invitingly wide fairway as viewed from the numerous artfully crafted tees, but the tee shot, often into the wind, must reach the ridge running diagonally across the fairway. Short of this level and the mid-iron second shot will be blind to the green. The best and shortest route is down the left side, but not too close as a scattering of pines farther on can stymie the approach. The long elevated green is heavily bunkered down the right bank and a large bunker guards the left side. The surface is fairly flat, so a well-struck approach could result in a birdie. Hole no. 8 is the only par 3 with water, this hole is a forced carry across the lake from every tee, although bail-out areas exist short of the lake and left of the green. Pines, eucalyptus, sand and water surround this wide, slightly tiered green. Surface contouring is receptive to a well-struck tee shot. The beauty of the hole springs suddenly into view as you approach the tees from behind and below, and the variety of tees along the ridges changes dramatically both the angle of play and the visual character of the hole. The following 9th is a beautiful par 4. Better players may try to place their drives in the hidden depression between the staggered sets of pot bunkers down the left side, but the prudent drive is left centre, just short of the first pair. Slices will find plenty of out-of-bounds areas off to the right, but by now it should be clear that the architect believes in the saying 'that nothing in life is free'. Too far right, fairway or not, and the tall pines farther along will require a real banana shot to get at the green. The green, in a natural amphitheatre, is set on a diagonal, with bunkers to the left and right rear. Bump-and-run approaches are possible, but the shallowness of the putting surface will make such a shot difficult to judge for length. All things considered, one of the easier holes on the front nine. Proceed with caution on the difficult 11th, a par 3. It may be downwind generally, but it's uphill all the way from the long serpentine lower tee. The upper tees will offer occasional respite - and a totally different feel to the hole for both men and women. This tiniest of all the greens requires a full carry to the putting surface. Impenetrable juniper bushes encroaching from behind and from the right, difficult to judge wind effect on the lofted tee shot, a scattering of pot bunkers (actually a player may be relieved to find himself in one) and a fairly narrow approach area short of the green - all these elements contribute to making this hole the most difficult of the par threes. Be happy with a bogey, thrilled with a par - then move on through the jungle of juniper to the next hole with relief and a smile. . . The 17th is a very long par 5 of 570 metres/627 yards. The wind is usually in favour, and the tree-less angle of the left hand dogleg will allow the big hitter to out 75 - 125 metres /82 - 150 yards off the measure length, so yes - it is reachable! Apart from the natural sand and gravel which flank the entire hole, only one small bunker is to be found - and that behind the natural elevated green at the foot of a towering dune. The decisions confronting all golfers, regardless of the wind direction, will be how much of the corner to cut off in the drive, and whether to lay up short or to carry - the bottleneck in the fairway some 75 metres/82 yards short of the green. The round finishes with a slightly uphill tee shot to one of those partially blind landing areas frequently encountered on old links courses. Robinson has again favoured the slicer or the wind blown drive: there is plenty of room out of sight to the right behind the pines near the tees, but - suprise, surprise - the second from over there is blind and a considerable carry over the intervening trees and dunes to the small tightly guarded green. The best line is just right of the barely visible fairway bunker as the extra length gained here on the roll can considerably reduce the length of the second. The small green is pinched in among some intimidating dunes replete with the ever-present grunkle, and although a run-on-shot is catered for, the accuracy of the approach shot, however executed, is critical. A fitting end to a demanding yet exhilarating examination of golfing skill. Praia D'El Rey is an excellent choice for local and foreign players, tournament organisers and golf tour operators, not only because of the level of quality of the course, but also because of its privileged geographical location in one of the few remaining areas in Portugal, where the natural environment has been preserved - The Real Portugal. The clubhouse has been designed in the traditional bidos architectural style and has been carefully planned to meet the needs of the most demanding golfers. A choice of modern facilities is offered including reception, restaurant and bar, proshop, member's private lounge, locker and bathrooms, wide terraces with golf and sea views. The perfect place for a relaxing meal, a cup of tea or a drink after a challenging round of golf. Courses nearby: Golden Eagle (Members club only !!)

Date Added: May 2, 2006    Rating: 4.00    Votes: 29 Visits: 1707

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Category:  Portugal Golf Courses :: Óbidos Golf Courses

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