Leonard - our Evangelist who is responsible for our brand ambassador program - visit the Lisbon area and wrote this blog. He already visited the area before; then he played Royal Obidos, Dolce CampoReal and Praia d'el Rey.
Play on the day you arrive
On my way to Praia D’El Rey
and West Cliffs I landed on the modern airport of Lisbon.
The luggage came relatively quick and soon I found the driver in the
busy arrivals terminal. Clouds and sun alternated and the black Mercedes
van took us directly to the Praia D’El Rey golf course. We had a quick
lunch and got into the buggies that were waiting for us. When checking
my rental set I had to remove the plastic of all my woods (so new
clubs!). I also noticed that the PING irons and the golf bag were never
used before either, so I was off for a great start!
Due to some travel delays of our group we had to start on hole 10
instead of hole 1. I had a bit of a double feeling about this, because
the 10th is actually a nicer starting hole than the first.
But in my opinion the best holes are on the back nine and normally I’d
rather ‘save’ the best for last. For this blog I will describe the holes
in the normal order.
Praia D’El Rey: the Course
Hole 1 starts of a couple of relatively narrow tee-boxes and is a
dog-leg left. The logistics around the clubhouse, driving range and
first tee are a bit confusing. You have to cross a street where cars
drive and the sidewalks are quite narrow for buggies. The 2nd
hole is a short par-5 but not very easy. It gets really narrow in the
green area so a long 2nd shot in has to be precise. The 3rd
is a short par-3 that requires good distance control. The 7th hole is a
nice par-5 with plenty of bunkers and an undulated fairway. Hole 8 is a
beautiful short par-3 over a little lake.
Hole 14, a short par-3 with a scenic view (Photo credits, member Leonard)
The back nine starts left of the terrace and is a par-5 downhill with a
lake on the right-side, half in front of the green. It has a pretty wide
fairway so an okay hole to start with. The 11th is an uphill par-3 that
will be hard to reach for most recreational golfers. Especially if the
tee marker is on the back. But it’s a nice challenge. The tee box at 12
is a bit squeezed between the fence and the hill on the left. But it has
a beautiful view at the green. The 14th is probably the most
photographed par-3 on the course. With a view of the Atlantic Ocean and
an old stone house on the left. Hole 15 is a par-4 along the coast with
great views of the ocean.
Praia D’El Rey Marriot Hotel
After the round a hotel shuttle took us to the Praia D’El Rey Marriot
The check-in went smooth and I got a room with a sea view. The hotel
has been totally refurbished recently and the room was excellent. Great
beds and bathroom; all the amenities I could wish for and a nice terrace
to watch the sunset. Unfortunately we did not have time to check out
the spa facilities, but we heard that they were great. We had dinner at
the hotel buffet that night and it was all very nice. Lots of fresh
produce, local fish and plenty of dishes to choose from. Very friendly
staff and the house wines were great.
On day two we had breakfast in the hotel again, very well organized
and delicious. A small detail I liked and you don’t see so often in
hotels: on the way out they had the possibility to tap a ‘coffee-to-go’
in take away cups with covers. Great for golfers rushing to their
tee-time as we always do…The shuttle to West Cliffs from the Praia D’El
Rey Marriot takes a little over 10 minutes. On the way there you pass Royal Obidos
which is another great golf course in the area that can be booked
through Praia del Rei (or our site). The hotel shuttle takes you there
as well with no extra costs.
West Cliffs: the Course
Arriving at the golf course at West Cliffs
you are immediately impressed by the beautiful clubhouse. It is very
functional but really beautiful at the same time. The views from the
clubhouse on the 10th hole, putting green and driving range
and the ocean are breathtaking. The pro-shop is immediately on the left
with plenty souvenirs and apparel to choose from. The high ceiling
combined with wood gives everything a very cozy feeling.
The West Cliffs golf course – designed by Cynthia Dye – is really
amazing. Just one of those few courses that is incomparable with other
courses. The first hole might look a bit scruffy due to the construction
in the horizon, but at hole 2 – a testing par-3 with a wicket green –
the course really kicks in.
The 2nd hole at West Cliffs. A beautiful par-3 where it’s crucial where you land your tee-shot (Photo credits, member Leonard)
The third is a par-4 with water on the entire right side and into the
wind both times I played it. Number 4 is a testing par-3 where the green
is so undulated that you really need good distance control to stay on
the green. Holes 6 and 7 are two par-5’s side by side, one out and the
other in. no. 6
usually plays with the wind and hole 7 into the wind, which can make it a tough nut to crack.
On 7, at around 300 meters, there is a huge waste area over the entire
width of the fairway at the bottom of a downhill stretch. That didn’t
feel fair to me because when you hit a great drive carrying the ridge
your ball will end up here. But maybe if you can hit such a drive you
should move back a tee box. Talking about that, on this course you
should really be on the right tee box. On many holes at West Cliffs you
need quite some carry to reach the fairway and the rough is very
punishing. If you look for your ball you’ll probably find several
others, except your own. Hitting out of the rough is almost impossible.
But then again, the course and its surroundings are so beautiful that
you will gladly loose a couple of balls. Hole 9 is another gem where you
are tempted to cross the water as far left as possible to shorten your
The back nine at West Cliffs
Walking to the tee of hole 10 again you are bombarded with the visual
scenery that makes this course so special. Your tee shot is aimed
straight in the direction of the ocean (and often the wind). The green
lush fairways are surrounded by the rough.
Hole 11 is a par-4 with great views of the sea. The next hole no. 12 is a
par-3 that is probably the easiest of the par-3’s on this course. Hole
13 and 14 are a par-5 and -4 lying next to each other, 13 going uphill
and 14 playing down. I just couldn’t get enough of the views at West
Cliffs. Especially from the tee of hole 14. Just before the green of
hole 14 there is a big waste area mount that blocks the green. Some
people in our group loved it, but I’m not so fond of it. I like the idea
to block the green but maybe I would cover it with grass, it seemed a
bit artificial this way.
Hole 15; eagle opportunity but stay out of the rough! (Photo credits, member Leonard)
Hole 15 is a short par-5, fairway going left to right and slightly
uphill. Depending on the position of the pin and the wind this can
definitively be an eagle opportunity. I hit 3 wood, hybrid and holed the
20-foot putt for eagle! Will definitely not forget this hole. Hole 16
is an incredibly tough par-3 especially from the back tee. The green is
so tiny from back there and you have about the size of a bath towel
where you can land the ball.
Hole 17 is a sharp dog-leg right were you need some length and a gutsy
drive to shorten your approach. Hole 18 has a beautiful view from the
tee. Water on the right and a semi blind shot down, great finish!
The 19th at West Cliffs
The open kitchen in the beautiful West Cliffs clubhouse (Photo credits, member Leonard)
In the clubhouse we had lunch and they prepared excellent meat, lamb
chops, beef, pig. Everything perfectly grilled. So if you go here
definitely reserve some time for lunch or dinner.
Staying at the
Praia D’El Rey Marriot and the possibility to play the golf courses of
Praia D’El Rey, West Cliffs and Royal Obidos is just amazing. The resort
is just an hour away from Lisbon Airport and even in that area there
are more highly rated courses. The Portuguese hospitality, great food
and excellent rooms are a joy to experience. The scenery is amazing with
beautiful cliffs and beaches. The historical town Obidos is a great
place to visit, so non-golfing partners will also have a great time.