A delight to play
Always rated highly on the leader board of Portugal’s courses and lauded by golfers as ‘their favourite’ golf course in the Algarve, Palmares is a pleasure to play from the first thwack! Natural setting, player-reward and variety combine in memorable fashion, to produce the region’s most versatile and challenging layout.
Carefully crafted within the amphitheatre of the Bay of Lagos, in the Western Algarve, this 27-hole course owes its success in equal measure to its stunning location, where the Alvor Estuary, Atlantic Ocean and golden crescent of Meia Praia beach provide the perfect backdrop, and to its de signer, renowned golf architect Robert Trent Jones II. Open in full since 2011, this clever mix of parkland, heathland and links was designed by Trent Jones to a detailed brief: the course should excel as much as a tournament venue as an enjoyable and stimulating layout for members and visitors, while making the very most of its setting. This he achieved in bucketloads.
The beauty of Palmares Golf lies in its unmatched versatility. Three interconnected yet independent nine-hole loops, playable in the order of your choosing, produce a 27-hole golfing experience of interchangeable design. As if three courses in one, players can switch between the hills and valleys of the parkland-style Alvor loop (holes 1-9), the varied interest of parkland, lakes and dunes of the Lagos loop (holes 10-18), or the exposed-dune majesty of golf links at its finest, with four holes right next to the beach, of the Praia loop. On all three loops, of course, breath-taking scenery surrounds the player, the Atlantic Ocean in particular providing players with scenic moments in between shots. This course, as its designer says, “is special on so many levels, with enormous depth of character and challenge”.
Thanks to the undoubted player allure of Palmares, its members’ club boasts a highly motivated and active band of members, producing a lively community of players united in their love of the game and of the course. With around 300 members of varying nationalities, resident and non-resident, the club organises twice-weekly competitive play, where members can compete in a friendly setting, while attempting to improve their handicap. Providing support in the organisation of interleague matches with other Algarve-based clubs, Palmares Golf Club is equally active in the social side of the game, with regular events held throughout the year. In addition, members can further improve their game at the Golf Academy, with its 300-yard practice ground, where six real, bunker-protected greens can be reached from elevated tee boxes over defined rough and fairway areas – much like a mini course. The ideal facility for tuition (from the academy’s PGA teaching pro) and practice alike.
Support facilities continue with the resort’s beautiful Clubhouse, which, besides its golfer-focused amenities, excels when it comes to food and drink. Designed by Pritzker Prize winners RCR Arquitectes, the Clubhouse creates a handsome hub for the resort’s social and golfing needs, as well as an exquisite venue for socialising and dining for possible golf events held in the resort.
Providing golfers, guests and residents with an inspiring meeting place, mirroring the beauty of the natural surroundings and the exceptional quality of the resort and golf course, the Clubhouse’s golf and social facilities have been meticulously thought out. Besides course reception, inside golfers can find a well-stocked pro shop, lockers and parking. And when play is over and it’s time to sit down and discuss the day’s successes and failures, the Clubhouse offers two restaurants, including the Michelin-starred AL SUD, and bar facilities, all developing out onto the broad terrace, with its jaw-dropping views over the Bay of Lagos and beyond. Sundowners are a tempting treat on the terrace, as the sun sets across the bay, with expertly mixed cocktails from the bar.
At AL SUD, players, residents and visitors alike can embark on a delicious voyage of the senses through a series of up to nine ‘tasting moments’ at the care of renowned chef Louis Anjos, who takes and moulds treasures from the Algarve cookbook, combining the bounty of the sea and the land, to produce culinary masterpieces. Alternatively, the main restaurant also showcases local flavours, providing relaxed, light and tasty meals throughout the day, catering to residents, golfers and visitors drawn to the resort by its well-deserved reputation for quality in sublime surroundings.