Agran's About: View from a course

The good, the bad, the ugly

Clive Agran
Mon, 16 Mar 2009

A modern design property overlooking Bom Sucesso had the architects drooling

  Unlike the overwhelming majority of the press visits to which I'm invited around the world, my latest venture to Bom Sucesso - a new destination on Portugal's Silver Coast - was not exclusively for golf travel writers. This one was populated with non-golfers - correspondents from architectural journals.

What, I naively imagined, could possibly interest them? Maybe the bunkers were of a revolutionary design that had caught the imagination of the wider public? Perhaps a clubhouse built entirely of recycled Sagres bottles?

Neither was true. It was the villas and apartments that fringe the fairways that had them drooling and gasping in a way you and I might when our eyes alight on such spectacular courses such as Pebble Beach or the Ailsa at Turnberry, destination for this year's Open.

Unlike the usual properties we find close to Iberian golf courses, those at Bom Sucesso were extraordinary and eventually, I could appreciate the novelty and appeal of these bold, modern homes designed by an elite group of contemporary architects.

Because the project was well underway before the present economic downturn sent house prices spirally downward, nearly all the homes, either completed or under construction, have been sold. Owners can either occupy them or opt to have them rented out for part of the year.

Ultimately there will be over 1,000 villas and townhouses weaved into the area and, although the planned five-star hotel, clubhouse and a few other facilities might not be finished as early as originally hoped, it’s apparent that the chill wind of recession has so far largely whistled past this huge hilltop destination.

Great views from Bom Sucesso

As for the golf course, designed by Englishman Donald Steel, it makes full use of the considerable elevation changes and meanders around the residential areas. Because they are set well back, the properties don’t oppress or intrude and nowhere do they look at risk from wayward golf balls. With wide generous fairways, little in the way of punishing rough and sympathetic contouring is designed to deflect ball back towards the direction of the hole, emphasis is on fun and enjoyment of the game rather than a severe examination.

I found Bom Sucesso remarkably good condition for such a new course and a lot less crowded than most of the others in the area. It seems set to become a popular destination for golfers - as well as students of modern architecture!

Tell us on the forum about the places you have played where the adjoining buildings distract the eye for both the right and the wrong reasons. For example, overlooking the magnificent Old Grey Toon at St Andrews or in the shadow of the high-rise buildings of Dubai. From the greens overlooking some of our seaside havens or among the pylons peppering courses on the edge of some of our industrial cities. Give us the best and worst views from a course you've played.



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