Sports and Leisure
Algarve is one of Europe’s leading golf destinations, with over twenty courses, most situated to the west of Faro. These include some of the top championship courses in Europe. A new course has recently opened at Tavira and another will shortly open to the West of Lagos. Warm playing conditions and immaculately manicured fairways and greens are the norm. There are four established courses in the Western Algarve – Alto Club, Palmares, Parque da Floresta and Penina, with others in the Central Algarve within easy reach by car
Alto Golf Club
This 18-hole course, which opened in 1991, was the last work of Sir Henry Cotton and boasts a majestic site overlooking the ocean, and with views inland towards the Monchique hills.
Some 10,000 trees were planted on the course and have attracted a large variety of birds. Unusually the course starts with a straightforward par-3. The impressive 16th hole measuring 604 metres from the tiger tee is one of the longest par-5’s in Europe.
Apart from this formidable hole and perhaps the tricky par-1 tenth, the course is not overly difficult and can be enjoyed by golfers of all standards. A cosy wooden clubhouse with a terrace bar overlooks the amphitheatre 18th green, the culmination of an excellent par- 5 finishing hole. Extra facilities: Driving range, chipping green.
Palmares is one of the most scenic courses in the Algarve, with the majority of holes situated on gentle slopes above Meia Praia offering views over the ocean, Lagos Bay, and the wide sandy Meia Praia beach which stretches for several kilometres from the new Lagos marina to the river mouth at Alvor. The course has five pure links holes on the front nine situated between the railway and the beach. The upper holes wind through groves of fig and almond trees.
The most demanding hole is the long par-5 fifth running roughly parallel to the shore.
Palmares is best known for its “Almond Blossom” tournament in February when these trees are covered in a mass of pink and white bloom.