Bom Sucesso masterpiece in Portugal

Could be Steel's design swansong

Alan Hedley
Thu, 25 Sep 2008

Spectacular second hole at Bom Sucesso

Donald Steel (above right) one of England's greatest modern-day golf courses designers, has completed what is to believed to be his swansong - Bom Sucesso - on Portugal's spectacular Silver Coast, near the medieval town of Obidos.

Rated one one of the world’s most innovative architectural golf projects, the course officially opens on Saturday (September 27) and is seen as a rival to many of the formidable courses in the Algarve.

Sloping terrain at Bom Sucesso

Steel, a former amateur international, author and journalist, has been involved in course design for over 40 years and regularly advises all the venues for the Open Championship on updating their courses to suit the modern game and its equipment.

Among his dozens of other projects include the creation of the Bracken Course at Woodhall Spa, Breadsall Priory (Moorland), Barnham Broom (Hill), Turnberry Kintyre, Brunstan Castle, Lambourne and the re-design of the Marriott Forest of Arden Hotel's Arden course.

Elsewhere in Portugal his designs include Campo Real at Torres Vedra, Vila Sol and Santo Estevao, but the par-72 Bom Sucesso is recognised as a masterpiece of innovation, with the first nine holes on a level but a testing challenge while the back nine is set on spectacular rolling terrain with superb views over the landscape.

Says steel: “I first came to Portugal in 1965 when there were only two or three courses in the whole country. The last few decades have witnessed a huge expansion in golf, not just in the Algarve but here, north of Lisbon on the Silver Coast - an up-and-coming golfing region.”

Discussions began on the project eight years ago and Steel was immediately impressed by the slopes and natural views. He added: “Bom Sucesso is built on a really varied piece of land with fantastic long-distance views and the natural location contributes enormously to the beauty of a golf course.

"The setting is something the architect has no influence over but we have created 18 very strong holes all of which have contributed to the overall appeal of the golf course. It is up to

the golfers to be the final judge.”

Approach to the 17th hole

And none could failed to be impressed by the finishing holes at Bom Sucesso. The 16th is an uphill 300-metre par-4 with its green set into ahill-side. The tee shot at 17 - a 530-metre dogleg par-5 - is hit into a yawning vista of mountains with the lagoon of Obidos below, setting up an accurate second shot and a wedge to the green.

No.18 is also downhill and big hitters will be wary of the stream that cuts the fairway with more water in front of the green. A great finish.

Green fees are reasonably priced at 90 euros on weekends and 74 euros midweek. Reciprocal agreements are also in operation with other courses nearby including Praia del Rey, Otivos, Aroeira, Ribagolfe, Penha Longa, Quinta da Marinha and Troia.

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