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Home » Where To Play Golf In Iberia (Spain And Portugal)

Where To Play Golf In Iberia (Spain And Portugal)

The U.S. is home to some of the world’s most impressive golf clubs and resorts. But if you want to travel outside of the country for a European tour, where should you go? 

That’s the topic of this post. It runs through some of the most coveted destinations in Iberia – the European peninsula encompassing Spain and Portugal. By the end, you should have a clearer picture of where to spend your next trip and what you can expect during your stay. 

Monte Rei Golf & Country Club

Golf

Top of the list of destinations in this part of the world is the Monte Rei Golf & Country Club, one of the most famous resorts outside of North America. The location is regarded as the most desirable in the country, offering spectacular facilities and challenging fairways. 

Monte Rei covers over 1,000 acres of unspoiled countryside and encompasses the award-winning Jack Nicklaus Signature golf course, ranked among the best in Portugal. The destination caters to players with various handicaps from across the globe, creating a unique community and atmosphere every weekend.

Monte Rei is also constructing a second South Course with the help of Jack Nicklaus. The venue will feature 18 holes with videos offering more challenges to golfers in unspoiled Iberian countryside. Discerning travelers enjoy staying in the clubs’ curated residences where they can enjoy various restaurants, outdoor pursuits, and periodic events.

Between 8th and 11th December 2024, the club will host the Sotavento Golf Trophy. Pro teams are available on-site before and after the event to assist with driving, putting, and swing techniques. 

San Lorenzo Golf Course

The San Lorenzo Golf Course is another top-rated, award-winning venue in Algarve, Portugal. The club in Quinta do Lago is among the most famous anywhere, boasting impressive fairways and views of the Ria Formosa Estuary. 

American architects Rocky Roquemore and Joseph Lee designed that course to be fun, entertaining, and beautiful. Golfers get access to pristine fairways and a host of additional facilities to make their stay even more enjoyable. 

Most holes run alongside the nearby salt marshes with mountainous backdrops. The protected area is a nature lover’s paradise, with dozens of endangered bird species visiting year-round, including hoopoes, white storks, black-winged stilts, coots, and the purple gallinule. 

Numerous facilities are available on-site for convenience and to improve your golf skills. Chipping greens, practice bunkers, and putting greens abound, with an extensive driving range and golf caddy on request. Buggies and trollies are for rent, and golf bag storage is available for those with extra kit. 

Those wanting to stay nearby are welcome to bed down at the Dona Filipa Hotel. The resort offers 154 guest bedrooms with breathtaking views of the Atlantic, a pool, a private beach, and two restaurants. 

Vale do Lobo

The Vale do Lobo is another of Portugal’s first-tier resorts, offering world-class amenities and 450 hectares of manicured grounds. 

Founders of the club – Portugal’s first luxury development – created it in 1962, hoping to attract wealthy clientele from abroad. The stunning setting on the Atlantic coast with an accessible beach stole the hearts of holidaymakers, encouraging many to return annually. 

Vale do Lobo bills itself as a location where you can “play your best game.” The pleasant atmosphere immediately puts you at ease and frees up your swing. 

Patrons have a choice of two courses – the Ocean course or the Royal. The former is the sum of two previous 9-hole courses designed by Sir Henry Cotton. Its most impressive and memorable holes are its Par 4s at the 11th and 14th, as it runs along the beach with views of the Algarve. The Royal also sits next to the coast with its famous 9th hole, where cliff faces create an island green, forcing players to lob balls onto the playing surface accurately. 

Real Valderrama

Real Valderrama is the first Spanish course to make it onto our list. The destination overlooks the Sotogrande landscape, offering a championship course designed by the legendary Robert Trent Jones, Sr. The venue accommodated numerous tournaments and cups, including the Ryder Cup held in 1997. 

Real Valderrama’s appeal is the quality of its courses. Designers meticulously create fairways that take advantage of the landscape’s features, giving it a more natural appeal. Golfers can enjoy bountiful undulations and other features, setting it apart from many courses in the country. 

Most holes also have a stunning tree lining that gives the course a unique atmosphere that’s hard to find elsewhere. Players often find themselves in verdant groves surrounded by beautiful scenery. 

Finca Cortesín Golf Club

Spain is also home to the Finca Cortesín Golf Club, a unique resort offering a delightful atmosphere. Patrons know the location presents an unforgettable experience, owing to the Spanish hospitality and GEO Foundation-certified courses. 

Top Spanish publications frequently rate Finca Cortesín Golf Club highly because of its challenging but well-designed layout. The course gives players views of spectacular scenery, including rolling countryside and deciduous trees, with various water management systems to minimize its impact on the environment. 

Ultimately, Finca Cortesín Golf Clubs offers a luxury experience. A spa and fine dining are available on-site with attention to detail in every corner. Everything about the location is aesthetically pleasing from the clubhouse to the putting greens. 

Finca Cortesín can be found near Málaga on the southern tip of Spain, just north of the British enclave at Gibraltar. A system places players’ golf clubs on their carts once they arrive at the car park. 

Oitavos Dunes

Portugal’s Oitavos Dunes is another highly celebrated course, offering stunning scenery and testing golf challenges requiring extreme skill. The 5900-meter course has intense holes between 130 and 500 meters with groundskeepers working feverishly every morning before play starts to ensure every blade of grass is in the perfect position. 

Those wanting to stay at the venue can reside in the nearby hotel. It serves local seafood in its restaurants and has eclectic bars for those traveling in groups and looking to socialize with friends. 

Nearby is the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park, a unique desert ecosystem only found in this special Portuguese region. The Oitavos spa overlooks this special environment, helping to connect visitors to nature during sauna visits. 

Nearby, many visitors travel to the scenic Guincho waterfront. The location is accessible on foot, horse, or bicycle, offering numerous trails to discover en route

Troia Golf

Troia Golf is another coastal resort in Portugal, rated as among Europe’s top ten by Golf World Magazine in 2019. The location spreads across six hectares offering an 18-hole, 72-par course with views of the famous Arrábida Mountains. Designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr, the area has a non-stressful atmosphere for beginners to work on their game and improve their swing. 

The two most famous holes are the 3rd and 18th. Hole 3’s par 4 landscape overlooks the sea view and, according to Trent, is among the best he ever designed. The 18th is an epic 5-par with an elevated green flanked by bunkers, requiring accurate chips to avoid the sand. 

After golf finishes, most guests retire to the clubhouse. The modern interiors and straight lines host a double-height glass entrance with westerly windows overlooking the course at sunset. Changing rooms are available with caddy hire, eating areas, and training facilities nearby. 

Praia D’El Rey Golf Course

The Praia D’El Rey Golf Course is another one for the ages. The spectacular location intermingles with pine forests and undulating dunes, with occasional views of the Atlantic and Berlengas Islands beyond. 

Cabell B. Robinson – the famous American golf architect – created the course in the 1990s, completing it in 1997. It features sloping fairways and sandy dunes, giving experts and advanced players more of a challenge. 

Praia D’El Rey Golf Resort is family-friendly, offering numerous activities for children. There’s a kid’s club where children can take part in mock Olympics or play games with supervisors available during daylight hours. 

Other facilities include the tennis center, local health club, and Kalyan spa. Here, patrons can receive head-to-toe pampering, including deep tissue massage. 

Palmares Golf Club

Rounding out our list of where to play golf in Iberia is the Palmares Golf Club. The resort overlooks Portugal’s Bay of Lagos and offers an epic 27 holes, keeping you on the fairway from dawn until dusk. 

A course designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr., it is three linked 9-hole course patrons can connect to join together for the full experience. The course follows the amphitheater-like environment of the coast, creating a more intimate setting despite the location’s size. 

Palmares Golf Club boasts a thriving membership and many keen golfers. Those who join talk about the friendly atmosphere and the willingness of other members to form new groups before teeing off. 

Attending the course requires adhering to a strict dress code. Security will deny anyone who isn’t wearing suitable clothing the right to use the resort.