By Geraldine Bradley, Editor Ladies Golf Times
Portugal is renowned for its fabulous golf courses, cuisine, hospitality and year round mild climate! The historic lovely coastal resort town of Cascais, just west of the vibrant Portuguese Capital Lisbon was our latest destination. Following an early morning short flight from Dublin, My fellow golfer and myself were already teeing off at Belas Golf Club in Portugal by 2 p.m. You could say we were super keen!
Belas Clube Campo golf course is set in the mountains between Belas and Quelas, a championship course designed by renowned American architect William “Rocky” Roquemore. The 18 hole course is divided into two very different nines.The first nine runs through the naturally preserved landscape. The second nine meanders round the resort’s magnificent residential area. Up to a thousand trees, mainly pines were planted as part of the development to preserve the natural beauty of the area. The fairways and greens were in superb condition. Memorable holes were the 2nd a par 5 named Augusta, after the 13th at Augusta. The 18th Par 4 finishing hole is named “The Great Hole”, because the green is well protected by a lake. Make sure you bring plenty of balls for this one!
The excellent facilities at Belas include a golf academy, a nine hole course, a state of the art spa and tennis courts. After a great night’s rest and a superb breakfast at Hotel Quinta de Marinha we made our way to the resort’s club house, a few minutes from the hotel lobby. Our golf cart awaited and twenty minutes later we were heading down the 1st. fairway, in beautiful sunshine. These are days that golfers dream about!
The Quinta da Marinha golf course, designed by Robert Trent Jones, is regarded as one of his best in Europe. The elevated greens and tees boxes are typical of the designer and as expected there are many bunkers and water hazards to test the best and the average golfer. One of the most stunning and famous holes in Portuguese golf is the Par 4. 3rd, a photograph of which was used to promote ‘Golf In Portugal’ for many years. The 4th, a Par 3 is played over a natural ravine to a beautifully manicured green. The 13th, another tough Par 3 is played over a lake to an elevated green. The finishing hole is a very challenging Par 5. Some good course management is required as two lakes come into play.
Quinta da Marinha golf course was magnificent, the scenery was simply stunning Play this course once and you will want to return.The beautiful course is set in the foothills of the Sintra mountains. There are over 40,000 trees strategically planted throughout, including eucalyptus, oak, pine, magnolia and palm plus many exotic plants. The undulating fairways meander between the lakes and streams, with the beautiful Sintra mountains in the background, this must be one of Rocky’s Gems.
Signature holes are the 7th and the 17th holes. On the seventh the lake comes into play so it’s necessary to make the carry, then play short of the stream that crosses the fairway. The sloping green is well protected by bunkers. On the 17th be sure to hit it straight, with the out of bounds on the right and the lake on the left, a good card can be ruined in one shot.
Beloura Pestana golf course was a challenging and fun course to play and we had a great match, playing with our Portuguese friends Sandra and Vítor.Epic, as Vítor, called it. I don’t think I’ll ever forget one of the most amazing and memorable rounds of golf – great company and a great course.
Cascais is more like a peaceful and idyllic fishing village than a city! People were so hospitable and the long established resort, a favourite with residents of Lisbon has fabulous seafood restaurants and miles of beautiful beaches. Be sure to visit the Museum quarter and do try a gelato from Santini’s famous ice cream parlour. If you plan on visiting Lisbon this fascinating city is easily reached from Cascais. Stay a week, stay a month or just move to Cascais for good.
Well after all Prince and member of the Royal House of France Charles- Philippe d’Orléans did!
TAP Air fly to Lisbon from Dublin twice daily. Prices start at €106 return including taxes. The service was superb and the airline offers complimentary snacks and drinks on board. visit: flytap.com
Teetimes Golf Agency is the ideal solution if you want to play on different courses on Lisbon’s Golf Coast (Cascais, Sintra, Estoril).