Aroeira Challenge Review

Aroeira Challenge is one of the finest and most fun golf courses to play in Portugal.

Aroeira Challenge
Aroeira Challenge

Aroeira Challenge may be the newer of the two 18-hole layouts at Aroeira Golf but do not be fooled – this is a serious course in its own right and should be on any golfer’s list who is visiting the Lisbon area any time soon, writes Rory Anderson

While the more established Aroeira Pines Classic is often rated higher and gets many of the plaudits when it comes to golf industry rankings, many people including myself actually prefer the Challenge and ignoring this course would be denying yourself of the chance to play one of the finest and most fun courses in Portugal.

Scroll below for Rory's video review...

Aroeira Challenge
Aroeira Challenge

Where is Aroeira Challenge?

The course is framed in the same spectacular setting as its older sibling as part of Aroeira Golf Resort, with protected pine woodland providing the impressive backdrop for your round.

Which big tournaments has Aroeira Challenge hosted?

Formerly known as Aroeira II, Aroeira Challenge was designed by prolific golf architect Donald Steel and opened in April 2000. Complying with the recommendations of the European Tour, Steel succeeded with his brief to deliver a course capable of staging the highest level of tournaments, with the layout most notably hosting the Ladies European Tour Qualifying School and several editions of the Portuguese Ladies Open.

Related: Aroeira - discover your perfect golf getaway in the stunning city of Lisbon

Rory Anderson on the 4th
Rory Anderson on the 4th

Aroeira Challenge: Key Facts







7000 yards


Donald Steel


Carlos Fonseca

Head Greenkeeper

Tomas Garrett

What are the standout holes at Aroeira Challenge?

The main difference you’ll notice between this course and Aroeira Pines Classic is the use of water and fairway bunkers. There are five large lakes which come into play on the majority of holes, while the clever positioning of the fairway bunkers also asks a few more questions of your game.

With the use of these hazards, it’s easy to pick out a number of standout holes. The stroke index one, par-five fourth sets the tone for what is to come, with players required to hit their second shots either side of a copse of trees placed in the middle of the fairway off the tee if they’re to have any chance of par or better.

Aroeira Challenge
Aroeira Challenge

After an enjoyable front nine which will test all parts of the game, even better is to come on the inward half including the 12th, a par-three that requires a mid-iron over water on the most exposed part of the course, and the drivable par-four 15th.

Then there is the finishing hole. The quality of the final hole is very important in my eyes, and the 18th on Aroeira Challenge is a top-class par five. With water both left and right at various stages of the hole, you can come unstuck in a heartbeat, but two to three solid shots from tee to green will offer up a good birdie opportunity and the perfect way to finish your round.

Aroeira Challenge
Aroeira Challenge

Aroeira Challenge: Verdict

Don't get me wrong, if you're not on your game, the layout definitely has more potential to make you feel a bit silly than the Aroeira Pines Classic course but, then again, that's the fun of golf, isn’t it?

It’s definitely a venue that I’d be happy to play again and again and, with the promise of the bunkers, tees, greens, irrigation system and landscaping all being improved in the next year to enhance the playing experience, great things lie ahead for one of the most underrated courses in Portugal.

Aroeira Challenge - Aroeira Golf Club


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