Quinta do Lago, Laranjal course: review

Entertaining Portuguese layout is beautiful and brutal in equal measure

Charlie Lemay's picture
Mon, 8 Jun 2015

Laranjal is the newest track in a trio of stunning layouts at the Algarve's Quinta do Lago resort.

It opened in February 2009 and just two years later was named Portugal’s Best Golf Course in the Portuguese Travel Awards.

The location is easy to get to, with Monarch providing regular, affordable flights out of Gatwick, offering a quick and painless trip to the sun, sea and sand of Southern Portugal, an area replete with fantastic golf courses.

The club is a mere 20-minute drive from Faro airport, giving those flying from Europe the option of heading straight to the course after touching down, allowing players to get in a full round before checking into their accommodation.

The design is routed around old orange groves, which can be seen as you turn off the road and onto the club's gravel drive, as well as throughout course.

The warm weather and serene atmosphere can lull the unsuspecting golfer into a trance-like state at Laranjal, and before you know it the card can become an unsightly mess of big numbers.

To get in the zone before you start your round, visit the fantastic driving range which allows golfers to play off grass rather than mats. If you are not accustomed to the glass-like greens in the Algarve, also make sure you factor in time to spend on the putting green, as they can take a while to get use to. 

The layout is both beautiful and brutal, fabulous and fearsome. Measuring just under 7,100 yards from the whites, it examines every aspect of your game. Working in tandem with the energy-sapping sun, the course will tear you apart if you are not on your game and thinking your way around.

Off the tee, and with driver in hand, players need to be accurate. The 450-yard par-four fourth sticks in the mind, as players start from an elevated tee box and hit down to a funnel of trees – par is a good score here. 

The ninth is a spectacular design, and is many people's favourite hole at Laranjal. The par-five doglegs to the right at first, before going in the opposite direction, and there is water on both sides of the fairway and stretching all the way to the green. Not long, and easily reachable in two, but the question is how close you want to get to the drink?   

The par threes are tough because of their length. Golfers will be hitting mid-to-long irons in, as the shortest is a monstrous 182 yards. The 11th is the most spectacular of the bunch, playing roughly 200 yards over water with a giant beached bunker swallowing anything short.

The scorching, often drought-like climate creates lightning-fast greens at Laranjal. They are frequently undulating, but players rarely face double breaks which makes the task of getting the ball in the hole slightly easier. 

Portuguese architect Jorge Santana da Silva’s interesting design features five par fives, eight par fours and five par threes, rather than the standard four, four, 10.

It may take you by surprise the first time you play Laranjal, as you stand on the tee facing yet another short hole or meandering par five, but it is a welcome relief from the usual format and can give the illusion that you have more chances to make birdie. 

Length: 7,100 yards (all yardages are from the white tees)
Par: 72
Green Fees: Around €100 , with a buggy (stay and play packages available
Website: Laranjal 

Conrad Algarve stay and play package

-5 nights accommodation sharing a King Deluxe Room
-Buffet Breakfast
-18 holes on the North Course
-18 holes on the South Course
-18 holes on Laranjal

Prices per person, sharing a room, from € 804,00. Valid from 1st July until 31st October 2015 and subject to availability.

Monarch fly to Faro and are offering a 15% discount on golf bag carriage on various routes. 

Have you played Laranjal? What was your experience like? Share your thoughts in the forum, on Twitter, on Facebook or visit us on Instagram or YouTube.