415 388 362 410 320
After a drive from an elevated tee keeping to the right side of the fairway is a better line into a green fringed left by five olive trees. A bunker front right, and bunkers set into the foreground ridge protect against an under clubbed approach, while two gnarled carob trees frame the rear. The intent then is to avoid these varied hazards with either a bump and run from off the right edge of the green or a shot carried full to the receptively sloped putting surface.
174 147 126 169 96
This short hole is the first of the course’s four par 3’s and is played downhill to a shallow green which poses the player some serious questions, falling steeply off to the right, backed by a rock outcrop and surrounded threateningly on the left by a large desert bunker studded with clumps of flowering cacti.
324 310 268 319 214
Here the golfer is presented with a commanding tee shot filled with strategic options. The most dynamic route is to cut the dogleg to reach the green 300 metres away in one glorious shot, whilst the other options require varying combinations of precision and length before hitting the approach shot up to a two-tiered green which sits poised over 360 degree views of Amendoeira. An extraordinary row of five intertwined holm oaks guards the right side of the carry.
546 478 433 520 388
This very long hole presents the golfer with another demanding tee shot which has to be played downhill and downwind to a turn point a full 330 yards away. A draw is the right shape for your opening shot. The dilemma for the second shot is whether to carry the bunkers and a dry ditch, gully or ravine (filled with rocks) in going for the green in two, or whether to play a ‘safer’ route to a fairway that is threatened only by that ditch.
365 309 281 336 236
The golfer is presented with a tricky choice of tee shot: a heroic carry across the largest lake on the golf course, or, alternatively, opting for strategic fairway positioning. The rationale and reward for pursuing either route will vary depending entirely on the pin location of the day. The carry is over water and a scrub bunker, the safer line is all about precision and position, placing the ball precisely to the right side of the dogleg left fairway.
541 489 461 517 414
Options abound for each shot from tee to green. Various sections of the fairway are protected or defined by changes in levels and the arrangements of traps. The result presents innumerable strategic subtleties. Similar in length to the 4th hole it plays in the opposite direction quartering into an unhelpful prevailing breeze. With the wind up it is a full three shots to a green that slopes to favour an approach from the more evasive left side of the fairway.
199 181 154 194 125
A variation on the North Berwick’s Redan hole, the green can be reached by either a fully flighted ball or a bump and run shot feeding down onto the putting surface from the high right side of the approach ground.
388 335 317 363 276
Again the tee shot offers options. An arrow straight drive down a narrow channel between the ditch and a central fairway bunker leads to a shorter second shot into a long shallow and oblique green. A tee shot to the right leaves a longer approach which carries defending bunkers and asks the ball to be stopped quickly on a surface that slopes away from this direction of approach.
355 325 264 350 218
A sweeping, rolling fairway rewards a long tee shot which climbs the step to a plateau from which the green is spied on a natural platform beyond a narrow valley.
458 433 418 445 373
The hole stretches away from the high tees to the plain below and appears to encourage two long draws to attack the green which is bunkered all along the left approach. The wind helps the draw on the tee shot to set up the best angle into the green. But drawing of the approach shot must not be overdone for the green, 45 metres long, is narrow and slopes down to the left. When any cross breeze is blowing a controlled fade is a better option to hold the second shot up on the green.
149 115 105 132 96
Back into the hills on this shortest hole on the course playing up to an angled green. The hole may be short but the green is stretched long. So long that three clubs’ distances cover the front to back pin placements. A waste bunker sprawls down from the right, while a cascading stream runs along the left side.
319 299 286 314 253
Another spectacular tee shot which must fly over a wooded valley to a ridge of fairway still showing the ancient terraces formed by walls of large boulders and hewn rock. The green is perched higher still, guarded by a magnificent cork oak tree.
613 521 485 591 449
This is the highest point on the golf course, at 50 metres above the plain, the view over the entire property is commanding. The view to the fairway is daunting! Although, as ever, safer and easier alternative routes are available, the temptation is to carry as far across the tree tops in the valley below as possible to a distant section of fairway buttressed by cliff walls. The fairway sweeps down and down with cliffs high to the left and a rock wall low to the right. The second shot carries a large area of scrub and the players must decide whether to be short of, carry, or thread through a pair of offset fairway bunkers in the approach area. The need for precision is heightened by the location of the green which juts out on a thin promontory which falls away on all sides.
348 327 281 343 258
Traversing uphill, the fairway slopes across from the high right. Waiting below its left edge is a cavernous desert scrub area from where sand was once extracted. The tee shot should be faded into the fairway’s slope to set up a second shot to a green nestled on a terrace beyond the quarry.
367 303 267 332 244
The ball to the centre or left of the fairway is gathered in benignly and a ball ‘lost’ on the breeze to the right side is deflected down and away from the green. Given that the green is ledged precariously into the hillside with a steep bunker below it is vital that the tee shot has been accurate. There is precious little margin for error for this second shot and every advantage of stance, elevation and lie from the fairway will be repaid in full.
138 112 106 124 83
This is a lovely par five. There is no big mounding and a lake runs along the right hand side guarding the hole because it is quite a wide fairway. Anybody playing up the left hand side is going to have a free run at this golf hole. Just watch out for the lake as it runs all the way along the right hand side and then up to the right hand side of the green. So anybody hitting the ball safely must keep it up the left-hand side and you won’t get into trouble that way.
403 353 315 372 286
The split-level fairway is divided by a central bunker 265 metres from the back tee. This bunker blocks the left channel if hit too long, while a very full drive along the right side climbs to a plateau which then drops down to usher the ball still further up the fairway. Due to the shape and orientation of the green the shorter left side of the fairway can be a preferable position and angle from which to make the second shot. More often a shorter and easier approach shot is accomplished by staying long and to the right.
496 433 405 465 373
To stand a chance of getting up in two the drive must thread the pinch point of bunkers left and right at 265 metres and have enough fade to hold the right edge of the fairway against the contradictory slope. Letting it go left leaves a very awkward angle home. The green sets up in an amphitheater in the hillside 235 metres beyond and requires a superb strike to rise up to and settle on the green. Opting only to reach the green in a regulation three strokes brings the ditch into play. Decision time! Lay up short to leave a mid iron in or carry the hazard for a short pitch up to the green. Under clubbing either shot, or over spinning the pitch risks the humiliation of the ball trickling backwards fifty metres, all the way, down to the lower fairway level. The clubhouse balcony gives a fabulous view of play from tee to green - no pressure then!