PARKLAND, HEATHLAND AND LINKS IN A SPECTACULAR SEASIDE SETTING
Golf the way you want to, with three 9-hole linked golf courses designed by renowned architect Robert Trent Jones Jr. The course sweeps down to the ocean, allowing all golfers the opportunity to marvel at the natural beauty and challenge of the 27 holes.
ROBERT TRENT JONES JR.
Within the natural amphitheatre of the Bay of Lagos, Robert Trent Jones II has fashioned Europe’s next great golf course, Palmares Golf. The brief given to this exceptional American golf course designer was to craft a 27-hole golf course which maximised the potential of its extraordinary environment.
The result is a golf course of breathtaking natural beauty which is a delight to play. The course opened 18 holes for play in October 2010 and the full 27 in June 2011 and it has matured nicely.
Robert Trent Jones II designed the golf course with the highest level of international tournament golf in mind as well as a pleasurable golf experience for members and tourists alike. There is plenty of challenge, if that’s what you want – especially from the white tees! Palmares Golf is composed of three returning nine-hole loops that can be played in any sequence.
The genius in the routing is that, depending on the sequence of play, each golf experience is different. Each nine-hole loop – Alvor, Lagos and Praia – has its own character and ambience.
Many keen golfers will have found memories of the ‘old’ Palmares, one of the first golf courses to be built in the Algarve in the 1970’s by Frank Pennink. But come and play the new Palmares Golf and you will be blown away by the transformation.
Whereas the old course had wonderful sea views from just the first and seventeenth tees, the new Palmares Golf has stunning sea views from 90 per cent of the tees! The course has been totally transformed by the leasing American golf course designer, Robert Trent Jones Jr and no hole from the old course remains as it was.
Now the course is a mixture of parkland and authentic links – something unique in the Algarve. The higher part of the course features unforgettable views of the Ocean and Alvor estuary. The lower holes near the beach incorporate links dunes and long grasses and the sound of the sea.
Few other courses in the Algarve offer you the chance to get so close to the ocean with your golf clubs! Palmares Golf was recently considered the 26th golf course in Continental Europe, and for 7 consecutive years was elected the best golf course in Portugal.
AWARD QUALITY GOLF
Robert Trent Jones Junior is the son of the legendary Robert Trent Jones Sr, a true pioneer in golf course architecture. His name belongs to the elite World Golf Hall of Fame. The American golf course designer has designed over 270 golf courses in six continents, including remodelling Celtic Manor for the 2010 Ryder Cup.
According to Robert Trent Jones Junior: “Palmares Golf Course is special on so many levels. The expansive ocean vistas, dramatic elevation changes, intimate valleys, and expansive dunes gave us an environment from which we could craft a golf course with enormous depth of character and challenge.”
RTJII – The Brand values and recognition
“At Robert Trent Jones II our golf courses are of the earth but for the spirit. We invite you to explore the spirit of our life and work and share our passion for the game of golf and the art of golf course design.” The Robert Trent Jones name is unrivalled among golf course architects in the global marketplace, from the Americas to Europe to Asia. In South Africa, in Kashmir, in the Philippines, Malaysia, and Vietnam; in the Caribbean and Mexico; and anywhere else in the world that grass grows, Robert Trent Jones II sets the standard for quality golf course design.
ALVOR (HOLES 1-9)
Located primarily on the northern part of the site, the Alvor Course has a parkland character with mature trees and lovely views of the Monchique hills. Changes in elevation are integral to the design of this nine as a majority of the golf holes ascend hillsides or descend through intimate valleys. The parkland setting disappears briefly with a series of holes with more expansive views. A preview of the dunes and links holes to come is provided in the sixth and seventh holes. As the round concludes, the course again assumes the parkland character.
LAGOS (HOLES 10-18)
The Lagos Course begins with the same parkland character. This course incorporates the only two lakes found on the entire site at the short par-3 third hole and the long par-4 sixth hole. Holes seven and eight immerse golfers into the expansive dune lands on the southwestern portion of the site. The round concludes with a climb to the clubhouse and back into a more parkland setting.
PRAIA (HOLES 19-27)
The third nine at Palmares presents the golf experience every great designer dreams of having the privilege to create: a seaside landscape with dunes exposed to the elements. The four seaside holes are between the beach and the railway line. The course opens by descending from a parkland setting with the dunes character continuing through the remainder of the Praia Golf Course with the closing hole, a strong uphill par-5, rising up out of the dunes through a deep valley to an amphitheatre just below the clubhouse.
Hole by Hole
HOLE 1: 429 METERS, PAR 4
The opening hole at Palmares – a long, uphill par four – introduces golfers in a striking way to the beautiful and formidable test of golf to come. The fairway appears wide and welcoming from the tee but good golfers should focus on reaching the elevated left center target.
However, play too far left and a lone greenside bunker will make the long approach shot even more demanding. A brave tee shot played toward a cluster of fairway bunkers nestled into the right hillside will result in the most advantageous position from which to approach the green. The green complex, crafted into its setting, creates a challenge for a clear club selection. A single large bunker provides the only visual anchor to the putting surface which perches along the crest of a soft ridge. The “horizon line” green, which slopes from right to left, will make judgment of distance and depth difficult but rewards careful pin position analysis.
HOLE 2: 215 METERS, PAR 3
Let the wind be your guide from the tee. The second is a long downhill par 3 playing into the prevailing wind typically quartering from right to left. Tee shots played low and under the wind to the left side of the fairway will feed onto the large putting surface. A lone bunker awaits tee shots that fail to recognize the cross-slope in the fairway or that overcompensate for the wind.
HOLE 3: 370 METERS, PAR 4
Reversing course and playing back up the hillside, the third hole presents the first real opportunity to partner with the prevailing wind. Challenge the fairway bunker left and the diagonal putting surface will be much more gracious in receiving your approach shot as the deep bunker at right front will be taken out of play. With nothing but blue sky as a backdrop for the left half of the green, the approach shot can be unnerving. A stark grass wall protects the entire left side of the green and will repel all golf shots just short of the green.
HOLE 4: 544 METERS, PAR 5
With the town of Alvor glowing white in the distance, the par 5, #4 cascades through a deep protected valley. From the elevated tee, the natural contours are very receptive and will propel tee shots downward. Players can harness the prevailing winds to their advantage. Following a straightforward tee shot, the real depth of the hole is rewarded from the second shot onward. The two bunkers located just short of the putting surface clearly divide the second landing area. Whether the golfer is attempting to reach the green in two strokes or carefully setting up a deft t hird pitch shot, these two hazards dictate strategic options. Carry the left fairway bunker and the large greenside bunker becomes a less foreboding hazard. Or, play to the right, and the next shot must carry the entire expanse of sand to the green that slopes back-right to front-left. Long-hitting players may reach the putting surface with two well thought out and executed shots if they use the fairway to maximum advantage. Poor approach shots that carry all the way onto the green may run through the putting surface into a deep collection hollow behind the green.
HOLE 5: 358 METERS, PAR 4
Playing from an elevated tee directly toward the blue Alvor, this medium length par four was designed to use scale and space to keep the golfers off-balance. The green appears very large -- especially from the tee -- for a hole of this length. However, the bold contours of the putting surface divide the large green into two smaller putting zones, requiring golfers to play to the appropriate green section in order to score well. The front portion of the green is bracketed by three small, deep bunkers defining the target. In contrast, the rear portion is defended only by spill-off areas that encircle the putting surface.
From the tee, the wide fairway banks off the hillside to the right. An ample fairway target allows proficient players to shape tee shots from right to left between the two bunkers projecting inward from the right while a single bunker lurks to the left of the fairway. These bunkers visually pinch the fairway, masking the expanse and landing area between them. More aggressive players Will discover that the landing area actually does pinch for the length of their shots, requiring distances and accuracy.
HOLE 6: 355 METERS, PAR 4
Suddenly the golfer encounters the wind swept dunesland holes firsthand at the sixth hole of
Palmares. With the background of the Algarve coast, coastal dunes, and the town of Alvor
distracting the players’ attention, the tee shot here provides options as numerous as the views
are expansive. Focus on the lone but effective bunker in the middle of the fairway to choose
lines of attack. Try to play long, right or through the small alley to the left of this focal hazard.
The best line of the day will depend upon where the flagstick is located and the winds. The island putting surface is surrounded by trouble. Sand, native grasses, deep fairway collection areas, and rough all necessitate a precise approach to this miniscule green.
HOLE 7: 196 METERS, PAR 3
Turning away from the ocean, golfers are presented with a very strong par three. From the tee, the view is both gorgeous and disconcerting. Dunes extend from the railroad line along the entire left side of the golf hole. The most prominent feature is the large dune bunker left of the green. This bunker defends the entire left side of the putting surface, while the wind -- typically blowing from the right – will tend to push the tee shots toward this huge hazard. The green surface abutting this dune bunker pitches forward to receive low run-up shots. The green falls away into low areas right and at the rear. Because the right of the hole is carefully tucked behind the native hillside shrubs and trees, rolling chipping areas only reveal themselves once golfers reach the green complex. These chipping hollows provide a much greater area, in fact, to recover from a mis-hit shot to the right. But if your ball comes to rest in these areas, it will require skillful bump and run shots from awkward lies toward the shallow presentation of the putting surface.
HOLE 8: 505 METERS, PAR 5
The eighth hole climbs out of the dunes and rises up through a heavily wooded corridor toward the upper elevations of the site. This double dogleg par five will, for the most part, be heroic, and play as a three shot hole. Because of the Sharp rises of twenty-three meters into a sometimes strong head wind, this hole will play long. The lone fairway bunker, visible from the tee shot, provides an aiming point. Play toward this target and shape your shot from left to right using the natural down slope to your advantage. From this point golfers are presented with several options. The elevated putting surface on a shelf with the entire left falling away sharply. All but the best struck shots from a long distance out will be repelled from the green. The fairway bunkers short of the green surrounds dictate that thoughtful golfers play short to obtain the desired approach angle and distance. Or else, challenge the left fairway bunker to reduce the distance for the next shot. The harder a golfer tries to reduce the distance of the third shot, the more potential trouble he brings into play.
HOLE 9: 400 METERS, PAR 4
The closing hole on the Alvor Course presents a tee shot unlike any other at Palmares as a collection of tall pines stand at attention and dutifully screen from view any clear view of the green from the elevated tee. Bend your tee shot from left to right around these trees – use the sweeping fairway as welland the green will be revealed. Two deep bunkers flank the entry ramp onto to the putting surface left and right. While the green is large, the uphill approach shot provides little guidance as to the real dimensions of the target. A series of chipping areas encircle the back of the green and will gladly collect approach shots that overshoot the green.
HOLE 10: 340 METERS, PAR 4
The Lagos Course opens with a short par 4 designed specifically to entice golfers to cast aside all reason. The prevailing wind assisting players, combined with the pronounced descent of the golf hole from the tee, will produce a sense that the green is very much in reach. As if that was not enough to encourage calamity, the fairway was purposefully created with substantial width to visually short the hole as well. Care should be taken to fight back this urge. While the fairway is wide in appearance, the right third will feed tee shots some 5 meters below the green elevation into a collection area right and out-of-sight from the tee. A well placed tee shot can skirt the large fairway bunker located at 260 meters from the tee and will yield a short approach shot to the green, but a well placed tee shot short of this bunker will reward smart play with a full wedge approach. The green itself is not receptive from the tee. Shallow and wide, the putting surface is protected in front by three bunker nestled into a steep face and in the rear bay a steep hillside.
HOLE 11: 424 METERS, PAR 4
The first par four on the outward nine is one of the most unyielding golf holes at Palmares. From a completely exposed elevated tee, golfers must play to the crest of a fairway that appears to be located a kilometer away. The tee shot must reach the fairway crest to offer a view of the green below. A singular pot bunker protects the front left edge of the green; another small bunker lurks opposite the green along the centerline of the hole. The green is very deep but narrow and falls away from front right and back left.
HOLE 12: 160 METERS, PAR 3
The charming par 3 is one of the most picturesque holes on the property. This medium length has blossomed into a spectacular hole. The putting surface is heavily protected left, front, and back by deep bunkering and tightly mown grass banks. Therefore, don’t play short. Like a snookered cushion, the hillside behind will allow a long shot to roll back onto the putting surface.
HOLE 13: 494 METERS, PAR 5
This short par five plays first to an elevated fairway, allowing golfers to swing away freely from the tee. A strong drive must skirt fairway bunkering to successfully reach a speed slot to obtain the significant roll. The left line of play provides the best angle and the greatest visibility to approach an otherwise blind green seductively tucked behind a hillside. The deep putting Surface is heavily guarded by a series of bunkers that clearly define the green while unseen but generous approach areas are discovered short of the green.
HOLE 14: 222 METERS, PAR 3
The sheer length of this uphill par three will intimidate even the most accomplished players. The main body of the green surface is flanked by two bunkers and oriented on a slight diagonal to receive shots that ride the wind. Numerous hollows and catchment areas await short of the green, ready to gather under clubbed shots.
HOLE 15: 460 METERS, PAR 5
When played as a par 4, the overall length and roll of the terrain present a stern challenge.
Players must reach the crest in the landing area to achieve a view – a magnificent view- to the
green below. Use the fairway slopes pitching away from the hillside left strategically to propel
you tee shot to the right side of the fairway. This will relegate the lake at the green to a lateral consideration on your lengthy approach shot. The wind will push approach shots toward the water.
Error right and short of the green as all golf shots slightly left of the green will bound off of the steep lake bank and into the water.
HOLE 16: 178 METERS, PAR 3
Turning away from the coast and back into the wind, the golfer re-enters the duneslands with a
medium par three. The green is expansive and inviting yet heavily contoured.
A player can, however, feed golf shots on the right half of the green by using the slope. When the flagstick is located on the left half of the putting surface, avoid the deep collection areas because recovery from this position onto the left half of the green will require a very delicate short shot touch.
HOLE 17: 498 METERS, PAR 5
The cliffs of Lagos in the distance make this downhill tee shot the most memorable at Palmares.
The fairway is generous on this dogleg right par five.
In true risk-reward style, golfer’s can potentially reach the green in two by challenging the
dunes at the inside corner on their drives. However, the full strategy of the hole may not reveal
itself until you reach the fairway.
The best line of sight to the flagstick is from the far side of the landing area from the tee. To reach the “A position” players must carefully consider how to get there. The approach is heavily defended by dunes and a lone bunker left. These defences clearly define two distinct lines of play from the fairway.
The large dune at the front of the green imparts both a beautiful but intimate barrier that must be overcome to reach the putting surface in two. Alternatively, the less aggressive player must carefully negotiate the fairway area left and short of the green to gain a good position for the important third shot and par.
HOLE 18: 362 METERS, PAR 4
The home hole is a medium length uphill par four playing to a fortress green surrounded on
all sides by bunkers.
This great finishing hole demands a tee shot that challenges the hillside to the left. Play to the right half of the fairway will bring the largest of the greenside bunkers into intimate prominence, while the prevailing wind may push drives towards the low, rough ledge lining the fairway below.
The putting surface requires concentration to complete the round with a well-earned par and a drink at the bar.
HOLE 19: 374 METERS, PAR 4
The view from the tee, overlooking the entire southern coast of Meia Praia and the golf
course below, is truly stunning. The aesthetic dimension of Palmares can both be an
attraction and distraction for those who lose focus on their shot-making.
This sharp downhill dogleg right par four negotiates across a steep hillside and presents yet another test of blind faith, in the traditions of the original European courses. From the tee, a conservative approach uses the downhill slope playing straight. Fairway contouring will propel golf shots played to the right half of the fairway down the hillside, resulting in a shortened second shot into the green, although you may be faced with a difficult lie to hit the required highly soft approach. Faith becomes the fifteenth club should you choose to cut the inside corner of the dogleg.
Commit yourself to the full reward by cutting the corner confidently. Unseen bunkers and rough defend the landing area between these two tee options. Is the reward great enough to warrant the risk?
HOLE 20: 513 METERS, PAR 5
Links golf through coastal sand dunes at its finest! The first of four holes located across the
rail line presents an introduction to a truly rare golf experience.
The exposed nature of this portion of the course embraces the wind as one of the key “tools of Defense” on this short par 5. Study the contouring of the fairway and use the roll of the land as you see fit. There is not correct line of play here.
The target is a shallow and wide green set on a diagonal peaking out from behind the dunes just slightly. Approach shots must be precise as the green falls away from the player deciding a series of terraces from right to left behind the dune at the front left of the green.
HOLE 21: 142 METERS, PAR 3
While slight in length, this hole no push-over. The test in conquering this small par 3 in
multi-faceted. The putting surface is small with internal target areas further defined by
subtle contouring. The wind will push tee shots toward the coast shrinking the room error in
A large waster bunker area protects the right side of the green with a small pot bunker front left and a blow-out in the dunes just long of the green.
HOLE 22: 529 METERS, PAR 5
With the sound of crashing waves fighting for the golfer’s attention off the right side of the teeing area, this long par 5 demands focus. While the fairway extends well left of the landing area, play should focus towards the large dunes that divides holes 22 from hole 20. The wind will
typical push tee shots played along this line back into the fairway and away from the dunes.
Over-exuberant tee shots played along the right side of the hole might find it difficult to remain
in the short grass.
From the first landing area, a glimpse of the green plants the seed of going for this green in two strokes. There will be days when it is possible with the assistance of the wind, but be forewarned, the slope within the green is slight and stopping lengthy approach shots will be difficult.
The green is surrounded by fairway collection areas. The approach into the green in front is steep, to both deaden “Hot” approach shots as well as to repel shot that are not struck solidly.
An elevated ramp ties the green into the fairway from the second landing are, providing thoughtful players the opportunity to either run low shots onto the green as well as through the air.
HOLE 23: 240 METERS, PAR 3
The longest par 3 at Palmares will present a challenge greater than just length as the prevailing wind will defend the target vigilantly. The large ‘Gull-wing” style green presents three main cupping areas.
The back right portion of the putting surface is elevated and protected in front by marshland, behind by dunes and at the left by the internal contouring of the green. This portion of the green is only accessible by aerial assault from the tee.
A low, running tee shot will be a valuable asset as the left side of the green and surround pitched onto the putting surface and will feed golf shots into the middle of the green.
HOLE 24: 306 METERS, PAR 4
The shortest par four at Palmares again embraces the dunesland. Golfers are enticed to attack the
small green directly through a narrow alley between dunes. Playing into the prevailing wind this
line of play leaves no room for error.
Far left flagstick locations are most visible from the right, but approach shots must be played from a sunken bowl offering potentially awkward side-hill or downhill lies.
HOLE 25: 317 METERS, PAR 4
In true links fashion, golfers encounter an obstacle course of dunes and turf unfurling from tee to green. Each player must navigate strategically a route that is best suited to his game and the
conditions of the day.
The green is shallow yet wide, and oriented on a slight diagonal from left to right. Tightly mown chipping hollows surround the green and stretch into the putting surface, collecting mis-hit approach shots that do not properly respect the heavily contoured putting surface.
HOLE 26: 136 METERS, PAR 3
Very good and short par threes have a memorable place in the history of golf. While minimal in
stature, Palmares’ version of the short par three is monumental in challenge.
The tiny green floats atop a sea of sand and waiving grasses. A small, deep, hidden pot bunker protects the back left of the green. These defences require a lofted and accurate approach shot into the prevailing wind.
HOLE 27: 466 METERS, PAR 5
Transitioning from the duneslands, this medium length par five plays sharply uphill through a deep, protected valley. A large bunker is positioned on the outside of the dogleg on the tee shot.
Try to shape your tee shot left around this dogleg, or your drive may fall prey to the strong
left-to-right slope and run off the fairway. The fairway area short of and around the green is littered with bunkers, creating multiple target options. Conservative play dictates laying up short of the bunkering thus taking potential penalty out of play.
The putting surface is large and deep, characterized by two parallel plateaus that dissolve together in the rear of the green. Careful study of the flagstick location is crucial for successfully reaching the correct plateau, and will require different shots depending upon where the hole is cut.
Play to the wrong portion of the green will forcefully reveal that the challenges of avoiding a three-putt will require a correct line and stroking the approach putt with deft feel and confidence.