Vilamoura and its golf courses have become synonymous with Algarve golfing holidays, Portugal Golfing holidays and European Golfing holidays as it boasts not only some of Europes best courses but also a climate and nightlife that provides every level of travelling golfer with everything he, or she, needs. If you dont believe us there are literally hundreds of articles that support the fact that the Algarve and Vilamoura is the top golf destination.
Vilamoura is at the heart of the golf weekend and tens of thousands of avid golfers converge on to the courses each season. We are going to take you on a journey through the golf courses that surround Vilamoura as well as some of the nightlife and activties you can enjoy when you are not playing.
After arriving at Faro airport and making your way to either your transfer, car hire or taxi, (we reccommend a transfer). You will find yourself at some point turning off of the main EN125 road and heading into Vilamoura. You will pass a roundabout that leads to residencial areas however the next roundabout is our first prt of call and arguably the best golf course in Vilamoura.
As you turn off of the roundabout from the main road onto Caminho das Searas you will only travel a few hundred yards past the famous Browns Health Club on your left and over the roundabout you will enter the garnd entrance and well established gardens, thick with pine and palm trees and lush vegitation. You have just entered the Frank Pennink designed Old Course Golf Club, the first golf course to be built in the Vilamoura area, believe it or not, as far back as 1969. The course boast 18 tough holes set in stunning scenery, it comes complete with a driving range, oputting green, pro-shop, bar and restaurant. It is widely regarded as both a challenging course and an easy course depending on your game, it is a straight hitters course, if you can keep it on the fairway you will be in for a great score, start to hit fades, hooks or slices and you will quickly find yourself in trouble both right and left of the fairway in some unplayable positions and lies. The umbrella pines provide very dense cover along almost all the fairways, balls are known to go up and not come down where the pine needles are so thick. This also presents a problem on the ground as you can find yourself trying to play from on top of a thick layer of the very same needles. However we do not want to be negative about this fantstic course juat make sure you bring your straight game when playing there. There are several holes that are easily reachable especially on the front nine, as the course was built so many years ago many of the holes are considered short however some remodelling has been made but the landscape and the terrain have made the course a very well balanced playable course with a good opportunity for low scores.
You will have to come back out onto the main dual carrigeway from the Old Course and drive further into Vilamoura where at the next roundabout you turn right and you will actually follow the first hole of Laguna Golf Club from green to tee on the left hand side of the road, hidden slightly by a hedge. Taking a left at the next roundabout you will drive around 500 metres and on your left is the entrance to both golf courses. Laguna and Millennium share a clubhouse, driving range, putting greens, buggy park, car park and bar-restaurant. They do however have seperate pro-shops where you check in for each course.
Laguna is the cheaper and supposedly easier of the 2 courses according to the slope rating, this is up for debate however as Laguna has alot of water, a deadly par 5 to start the round where you need to be straight and long from the very first tee, which after a few beers the night before and an early tee time is a feat unto itself for most of us. Holes 3, 4 and 5 all have water in play, as does 6 and 7 but only if you are very wayward. 8 and 9 are straight and fairly long all the way back to the turn. The back nine plays along the coast however its to far inland to call it a links course, many of the holes play over water starting with 12, 14 and 15 being the most challenging part of the course, 12 is the hole that can be seen from the road which is a daunting par 3 over water without any real fairway to speak of and even though its only 160 odd yards from tee to green its a trick one to land on the green. Apart from 17 which is a short par 3 over yet more water 16 and 18 are straight and give a great finish to the course especially if your playing a twilight round as the sun sets across the course.