Golf courses of the world: #2 Monte Rei, Portugal

Published 28/09/2009 08:00:07

Just back from holiday on the Algarve. Played Monte Rei and I think this should be on the "must play" list. The course is located on the eastern Algarve, near the Spanish border, and a couple of miles back from the sea. The plan is to build a range of super exclusive houses around this course, and build a second course, but right now there are no completed properties.

The experience of playing there is slightly surreal. They don't want the course overplayed, but the day I was there, I did not see another golfer at all. Not on the course, the range, the shop or the bar. Service is very attentive and helpful.

The course itself is a Jack Nicklaus design. It is set in hills, with holes that play downhill, uphill, dogleg and play around or up to water hazards. The greens are large and fast, the bunkers are filled with crushed marble (lovely to play from) and the driving areas are generous.


The course comprises 18 very different holes which, when matured in a few years, will be just awesome. After a relatively straightforward 1st the course bears its teeth when you step on the 2nd tee to be faced with a vast expanse of water which you drive over onto a dog-legged fairway. In the event you carry the lake, club selection is paramount with fairway bunkers in the landing area.


I paid 170 Euro. Pricey enough, but well worth it. The pro told me they limited tee times to avoid the congestion seen elsewhere. Like the course I played two days later, which I won't name. 

Overall, the course is a pleasure, partly because of the experience and service, but mostly because it is simply a cracking golf course. The average handicapper can play it, but the good player will still find it challenging.


You need to have your "A game" with you at Monte Rei, but even if you are having a shocker be sure to make the most of the experience. From the moment you arrive until the moment you leave you will rarely enjoy a better one.


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