Algarve Courses? Where do I start?

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Algarve Courses? Where do I start?

I've got my first ever foreign golf break next year and it's just me and my Paw.  He plays off 27 and is a little worried that we'll blindly pick tough courses.

I've decided on the Algarve for a few reasons so the choice is wide.

We are only going to have two rounds and don't mind driving from our (yet to be decided) base which will be close to the night life and probably a hotel with a spa for the ladies..

So, which course would you recommend for a leisurely game?

Silves is fairly beginner friendly, but enough about it to make it fun.  There is a 9 hole par 3 near Carvoeiro that will warm you up. (forget the name) There is also a 9 hole resort course at Pennina (one par 5, a mix of 4s and 3s) that is worth playing.  Good drving range there to for a pre round warm up.  Nearer Faro   - Pinheiros Altos has a 27 hole layout that is pretty relaxed and will not beat you up, but still has a bit of water about to catch you out Vilamoura has lots to do around it - and it central for everywhere, several courses.  The Pinhal and Millenium courses are less punishing

Thanks Ian.  I like the look and sound of Vilamour and the course recommendations are very welcome. Has anyone stayed at the Hilton at Vilamour?

I went to Tavira a couple of years back and played Quinta da Cima & Quinta de Rio (sp?) and thought they were pretty good and although maybe long-ish for a higher handicap golfer were pretty forgiving

 Carvoeiro would be my choice. Stay at the Vale De Lapa Resort Hotel which is a stones throw away from Pinta and Gramacho which are both very playable and not too taxing. http://www.valedalapa.aguahotels.pt/ It is a short taxi ride into town which has enough going on nightlife wise and many great places to dine. Whatever you do do not touch the afore mention 9 hole (Vale de Milho) with a barge pole......it is crap.

Spot on folks -  honest advice is just what I need.  So many choices in the area so my tactics are to avoid the crap ones and the really tough ones but you can't beat a round on a scenic course. Forbesie - I love your avatar!

Stayed in Vilamoura a few years back and played several of the courses around there. My stand out favourite was Vilamoura Old course. My second choice being the one they've used for the Portuguese Masters the last few years. Most of the hotels were doing free transfers to and from the courses. If you're only going for a few days I'd pick Vilamoura. Its a short transfer time, plenty of courses local to the town and enough to do around the marina. If you're going for longer go further west, somewhere like Albufiera has more to see, but expect to travel further for courses - might be worth hiring a car, driving is easy on the Algarve.

Booked our flights and away to book The Lakes Resort near Vilamoura marina.  Looks nice! So, next step is to decide on two Vilamoura courses - advice so far:  Old Course - excellent (but maybe a bit tough for my Paw); Pinhal - less punishing but avoid!; Millenium - less punishing; Laguna - avoid; Victoria - nowt so far. Looks like Millenium and Victoria to me.  Any Algarve experts got any other opinions?

San Lorenzo is a good knock, but you might not get your father on if he is off 27. They asked us for our certificates

Just looking at the prices...  Vitoria is EUR195 for a round - fugging hell!  The hotel's rate is 135, but still.  Old Course is 160/122, Millenium 115/80, Pinhal 110/77 and Laguna 100/73. Maybe two rounds on the same course (Millenium) would be better value and allow us to get used to the course and enjoy our hacking about more,

Portugal is not cheap, come to think of it neither is the Costa del Sol, they are pricing themselves out of the market.

The exchange rate is killing them. Check out Formosa Park Hotel. Nice place not too expensive and do green fee packages that take some of the sting out of the cost

Hotel is a done deal Ian and only 100 Euros a night - cheaper than a Travelodgeshit hotel in London! Only looking at two rounds and my Paw is back to work in Baku (65 and all that), so cost of golf not too important, but still surprised. Like the look of the layout of Laguna - what's the downsides of this course (WLD)?

Comments about Laguna above are correct

Ian wrote (see)

Silves is fairly beginner friendly, but enough about it to make it fun.  There is a 9 hole par 3 near Carvoeiro that will warm you up. (forget the name) There is also a 9 hole resort course at Pennina (one par 5, a mix of 4s and 3s) that is worth playing.  Good drving range there to for a pre round warm up.  Nearer Faro   - Pinheiros Altos has a 27 hole layout that is pretty relaxed and will not beat you up, but still has a bit of water about to catch you out Vilamoura has lots to do around it - and it central for everywhere, several courses.  The Pinhal and Millenium courses are less punishing

Silves is lovely. Don't know about the course tho'.

I had the pleasure of zooming around San Lorenzo in a downpour with the course empty. Awesome place !!!

We visit the Algarve every year, Zombie, and I can tell you without reservation that if the prices you are quoting are accurate you are being ripped off. There is no way you should be paying 195 Euros for Victoria, similarly The Old should not be costing 160, and if Laguna and Millenium are trying to charge over 100 each then I would tell them to either exhibit some sense or poke it. I would not pay over 50 Euros for either. We are lucky, granted, in that we have a member of our party who is a member at Monte Rei, and their Director of Golf negotiates some great deals for us. But even in the event he was not there to do our bartering, we never paid nearly 200 Euros for Victoria - it's a good track, but for that money I want absolute top drawer, and the only real top quality course I have played in that region is Monte Rei. As for which course to play, assuming you manage to get some decent deals (and you should if you shop round enough), then if you are playing twice and one of you is a high handicap golfer I suggest Victoria may just be a bit tough. The back nine in particular has lots of water. The Old Course is definitely worth a visit and, whilst tight in places, is nowhere near as taxing as Victoria. Penina is also playable for most English golfers, primarily because it is more English parkland in nature than a classic Algarve layout. Another to consider is Vila Sol, and if you venture east to Quinta De Cima/Da Ria then play the latter of the two. Don't bother with Laguna unless you get it as part of a decent package. There are far better courses in the area.

Never got to play while I was there, but I will pass on what I know. Nosolo's Italian on the marina is great, the Mayflower(think that's what it's called) is very busy most nights but food is average, bar called the 19th hole does a cocktail called a gin fizz that goes down a treat with the ladies while you watch any football that is on UK tv and a bit more. And if you want to get tge ladies drunk take them to the casino, cocktails are ???3.50 and basically 4 straight shots stirred over ice

One of the best restaurants in town, if you want something a little more "local", is Cataplana.

Still pretty expensive vs. the deals you can get in the UK. They're going to have to be a deal cheaper than those prices if they want to regain their old trade i.e. the golf groups. Particularly given the much higher flight and club transport prices.

Thanks for the latest advice guys, girls and gorillas. My Dad has played Pinheiros Altos (15yrs ago mind) and he remembers it fondly.  So thinking of playing Vilamoura Millenium (very close to hotel) and Pinheiros Altos.  At the end of the day, there is only two of us and as long as it's not 80mph winds and driving sleet then it's better than I'm used to playing in Scotland!

Millenium is an enjoyable course - it always used to be our first knock on the afternoon we flew in to Faro. Not been there for a few years now mind. I'd be interested to hear if anyone has played either Laranjal or Quinta do Lago Ocean, both of which are new on our schedule this year.

QDL Ocean??  New one on me,never heard of it.  Do you not mean VDL Ocean??

Well spotted!

Played pinhal and The Old Course back in march and they were both in great condition and lovely courses. We had booked pinhal before we got there as part of a company trip for those of us that hit sales targets... We booked the old course when we were there as they offer daily deals for slots that arnt booked and payed ??60 each inc clubs and buggies... Bargain for the quality of course... Still remember hitting an eagle on the 10th on pinhal.. One of the best played holes in my life!!!

Booked the rounds: First at Millenium (easing the old man into the golf with the easier course and hopefully less busy). Second at Pinheiros Altos (prestige course on my birthday with is a Tuesday so hopefully it won't be too mobbed). Looking forward to this hugely - first real round on foreign soil!

Have a look at Boavista (Lagos). The course is very good and you can rent a 2 bed 2 bath flat sleeps 4 for about £650 per week with course views. There is an outdoor pool and indoor pool, sauna and the ladies can get the therapies and as many massages, painted nails etc and your credit card can stand Ho Yeah and Lagos is nice and quiet with plenty of places to eat and drink at reasonable prices just in case you don't fancy cooking yourself. Have a look at the website. Just google "boavista".

Too late SuperH!  All booked up but thanks for the input.

I know you will enjoy it.

Woo hoo - heading out there tomorrow!

Hope you have a fantastic time Z. And if you don't read this till after you get back, hope you had a fantastic time.

Bring some sunshine back with you PLEASE !!!!!!