Golf Vacations (Malaysia)

Praia D’EL Rey Merely under an hour away from Lisbon, Praia D’EL Rey is one of the finest links courses that Portugal has to offer.

A coastal beauty that is still relevant after more than 20 years.

- BY SANDERS JONES

European golf is on the ascent as can be evidenced by the spread and quality of top profession­als represente­d in the world. But depending on where you go and how popular the game is in the region that you visit, the quality of the golf course can range from average to great, or in some cases, non existing at all.

To find great courses to play in, there are a few places that are hard to beat, and Portugal ranks at the top of the heap, with Praia DE’L Rey, one of the nation’s finest example.

With year-round sunshine, a championsh­ip links golf course, luxury accommodat­ion, worldclass services and a wealth of experience­s to enjoy, Praia D’EL Rey sets a new standard of excellence for golf and beach resorts along a beautiful stretch of coastline south of Lisbon.

The fact that it takes merely an hour or less from Lisbon to get there, Praia D’EL Rey Golf & Beach Resort is perfectly integrated in an area of protected natural landscape, amidst lush fairways and the raw beauty of the stunning sea views over the Portuguese coastline.

Arguably one of the most stunning golf courses in Europe, it is set among extensive pine forests and undulating dunes, with spectacula­r views over the Atlantic and the Berlengas Islands beyond.

Designed by American golf architect Cabell B. Robinson, who has also built many courses in Europe, this Par 73 course broke ground in 1997. It was said that Robinson was so awed by the landscape that he espoused the fact that the site was something architects strive to create but at

Praia D’EL Rey, it came naturally.

While relatively short in relation to par – only 6,400 metres - there are deep bunkers, sloping greens and sandy dunes that contrast sharply with the lush fairways, making it a complete golf challenge.

In terms of visual cues, the golf course mixes wonderful holes through that are cut across lush vegetation and running along the coastline. A seaside links, it encompasse­s natural sand dunes with the crashing waves resounding in a constant drone and glimpses of the Berlenga Islands nearby.

At the start, the course gently rises upwards first before going down towards the coast. The second hole is a fan favourite. A Par 5 measuring 463 metres flanked on the right by water and bunkers, it is possible to get on in two for an early chance at birdie or even an eagle.

From Hole 4 onwards, the courses turns inland for the rest of the front nine and the pick of the holes include a 441-yard Par 4, 5th and the great Par 3, 8th that requires an accurate shot to carry a large lake to a green protected by bunkers way back.

The 9th beckons as a fairly straight forward hole location. Spreading 393 metres long, it is literally an uphill climb with a narrow fairway and nine bunkers to contend with.

The inward holes begin with a Par 5 measuring 460 metres with a tricky greensite guarded by a deep bunker to its left and a lake to its right. Watch out for that long approach to the green for trouble lurks in various forms. It may be wiser to play this as a three-shot hole.

Then, the stretch from 12 to 15 runs along the coast and are amazing to walk through. The biggest challenge here is obviously the swirling winds bellowing inland from the Atlantic coast.

Thereafter, the 17th provides a worthy penultimat­e challenge. A tough and uphill Par 5 that measures 570 metres, this one just goes uphill as well.

Completing this 18-hole track will often illicit a pleasant response but also one that will linger for a long time to come.

 ??  ??
 ??  ??
 ??  ??
 ??  ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia