8135 024 Almancil,
- +351 289 390 700
15 miles W of Faro International Airport
Contact in advance
William Mitchell, Joe Lee, Rocky Roquemore, Beau Welling and Paul McGinley (2014)
Quinta do Lago has come a long way since entrepreneur André Jordan’s dream way back in the early 1970s. The South course is the layout that most avid golfers rush to play, but the North course, formerly called the Ria Formosa, named after the Nature Reserve, is definitely worth savouring.
American architect William Mitchell designed the original 27 holes at Quinta do Lago in 1974 and his third loop of nine now forms part of the North course (the first two loops form the South course). Joe Lee added a fourth loop in the early 1990s and to complete a full house, a third America architect, Rocky Roquemore, re-shaped the North layout in 2003.
The North is one of the Algarve’s most charming courses and it is reminiscent to and almost as pretty as a Melbourne Sandbelt course. Many holes are framed with stately umbrella pines and some greens nestle in truly magnificent sites. Some of the walks between green and tee are bit long but, in the scheme of things, this is a small criticism.
One of the most visually appealing holes in the spectacular 361-metre par four 12th which features a 3-acre lake. The hole doglegs its way around the lake in an alarming fashion leaving a treacherous approach shot to a large undulating green.
Don’t pass the North course by if you are visiting Quinta do Lago it’s a lovely track set in glorious golfing country with a fine collection of par fives... and now it’s ever better. The North course closed in December 2013 for renovation by American architect Beau Welling in collaboration with European Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley. An eye-watering €9.6m was invested in the renovation programme, which included the rebuilding of all greens, tees, bunkers, irrigation/drainage systems and cart paths. The new-look North course reopened in October 2014 to critical acclaim.
A nice course to start a 7 days and 6 rounds Tour. I am writting this only after having played borth North and South so as not to compare them with the other 4 to come.
North Course is one of those courses you can't say it was designed, but one where the designer seems to have received a routing and taking advantage of a nice piece of land he created some very interesting holes. It isn't long, it isn't tough and it is yet a lot of fun to play where score will not come easy on those greens. There grain will show those usual bright and dark contrasts where you need to identify when it is slow (usually never!), when fast and when VERY fast! Breaks are a real challenge to read and it is there where you will make your score here.
It is not easy to have a drivable opener, but it is a great hole (go to the range before starting!), par 5 3rd is a nice 3 shooter. 7th another good hole, reachable in 2 but needing a precise tee shot. 12th is maybe the best hole on the course and it only depends on how brave the line you take is, but designer gives you a lay up and mid iron option which will work for those protecting the scorecard! Both short par 3s on the back 9 are great, especially 16th where with a short pin you could come back 20 yds short. Reachable par 4 17th is a good birdie option but also a disaster one if not precise. I found 18th not the best finisher, a short par 5 that if hosting a Pro event should be a par 4.
Service at every point is great and food at 19th hole as well. One in all a great alternative for holiday golf.
The last of the Quintas on the final day of our trip and a great day out at the north course was had. The rankings have this right as the north is definitely not as good as the south but a ninth more established that Laranjal. Firstly the service was great from the pro shop, to the starter, to the marshal on the course that sat on the 4 ball in front of us and made them hurry and finally the bar staff.
I really enjoyed the course and felt it asked a lot of questions of you. It could be argued that off the yellows in certain places it is short, but this was enough for me having played some courses on the trip that were very long. The greens were great, the fairways true and the fairness is there as when you miss the fairway you in the main will find your ball but will have to play out.
I believe I gave Laranjal a 4 and South a 5 ideally would like to give this a 4.5, but as not quite a 5 for me will have to settle on the 4 ball.