Monte Rei’s rise to prominence has been remarkably swift. The course, set across beautiful countryside between the Serra do Caldeirão mountains and the Atlantic in the Eastern Algarve and is adorned by some of the most exclusive property in the Algarve, was only opened for play in September 2007.
Monte Rei is one of the few Jack Nicklaus ‘Signature’ courses in Europe and the first in Portugal. Using the very highest standards of construction, Nicklaus has created a wonderful layout that blends seamlessly into the naturally rolling terrain and features a proliferation of water hazards along with some superb bunkering.
Each hole at Monte Rei is memorable in its own right (always the sign of a top-rate course) but the 13th deserves special mention. It’s a stunning par 4 descending towards a green perched precariously on the edge of a natural lake.
Monte Rei is situated close to the Spanish border in the hills north east of Tavira. The fact it’s away from the Algarve’s golfing heartland (around Albufeira and Vilamoura) adds to Monte Rei’s attraction and mystery.
The course is unique in terms of setting and topography, the design is of the highest quality and the level of service provided at the club is world class. Guests are able to sample everything from simple snacks to fine dining, which creates a unique Mediterranean culinary experience. However, it’s a combination of all these luxuries that makes for a rather special golfing destination.
Stats: par 72, 7,182 yards GF: €135-€190
This course was the first golf course to open east of the capital of the Algarve, Faro and lies just outside of Tavira. The owning Martins Dias family invited the late Sir Henry Cotton to make a concept design for an 18-hole course. Sir Henry was inspired by the beautiful church next to the site of the Clubhouse and by its spectacular location. The final result is a delightful PAR 71 golf course of 5,500 metres (6,100 yards). The course was officially opened in March 2000. This course offers a pleasant experience, to players of all standards. The course is undulating but not hilly. The views of the mountains to the North and the Atlantic Ocean to the South are spectacular. The Penn A4 greens and tees are simply superb. The fairways of Bermuda Sahara and cool-season grasses provide good lies for wood and iron shots. Players accuracy is particularly called upon by the architects retention of as many of the old trees as feasible. These natural obstacles coupled with strategic placed bunkers and occasional water hazards make the course a worthwhile challenge.
This spectacular 18 hole golf course is in the Ria Formosa Natural Park and spreads along an almost flat surface of 660.000 m2 down to the Ria Formosa itself, hanging over it and with a stunning view of the sea. It is a PAR 72, comprising two loops of 9 holes and each loop with 2 PAR 5, five PAR 4 and two PAR 3 holes. Its total length is about 6.090 metres. Five lakes were strategically built along the course, specifically near greens 5, 10 and 14. Hole 16, PAR 5, is played between the two biggest lakes. The green of the PAR 3 nr. 17 is limited by one of these lakes where an island with varied bird fauna may be found. Besides the beauty the lakes render to the course, they are also used as water reservoirs for the irrigation and are nourished by a stream. Most of the night irrigation water is recovered through drainage, reaching the through an intelligent modulation of the ground. The greens, smoothly undulating, are well protected by bunkers. Greens, tees and fairways are covered with Bent Crenshaw and the roughs with Poa Pretensis with Fescuas. More than 300 trees, such as olive and carob trees have been transplanted in order to maintain the ancient border of the course and the typical features of the region landscape. It also looks like as if the course is of the same age as its centenary trees. From any place of the site, one can see both the beautiful mountains and the sea. The surrounding orange trees and vineyards give their contribution to make the course country landscape even more beautiful.
Quinta da Cima is the inland course of this enjoyable and new 36 hole complex set in the Ria Formosa National Park near Tavira. It’s sister course Quinta da Ria opened in March 2002 and has already established itself in a very short time as a quality resort course which every level of player will enjoy, time and time again. Quinta da Cima however has been designed for the more skilled players and is the resorts premier test. Winding itself across undulating parkland the central feature of the course is a river which passes right across the course setting up several strategic balancing lakes as it goes. The water course comes into play on many holes and the architect Rocky Roquemore has dexterously blended it naturally with an enormous number of native olive trees. The architect has also used the higher elevations for tees and greens resulting in a visually stunning course to play. The coup de grace of his design is the liberal use of bunkers – literally dozens of them have been used to provide course definitions and hazards – fairway bunkering is common and will affect tee shots strategies many times because they are positioned precisely where a players ball will finish. Quinta da Cima is technically more demanding than it’s sister course Quinta da Ria, but is very enjoyable. The bunkering is demanding but fair – there is always another way to play each hole to avoid them. Many of the fairway bunkers are not punishing in so much as a well struck recovery shot is possible with virtually any club. To score well here demands good, precise tee shots; position is of greater value than distance although during this, it’s first season, the rough is almost non-existent on most holes. This will probably be the case for the first year or two as well. Everyone will enjoy the course however, better players will probably enjoy it slightly more.