A 36 hole treat of outstanding and challenging golf running along the Atlantic Ocean and including the famous 16th cliff hole on the Royal Course and stunning undulating fairways of the Ocean Course. Vale do Lobo resort was founded in 1962 and much has happened since Sir Henry Cotton laid out the first course at Vale do Lobo in the early 60s. Cotton’s original layout has been split in half to form two new courses, the Royal and the Ocean and many houses have sprung up around the course, creating some rather long walks between greens and tees.
While the Royal Course forces a player to hit the ball straight to stay out of trouble it’s considerably more difficult than the neighbouring Ocean Course and longer with additional trouble spots in terms of water and bunkering. The Ocean Course requires more shape on the ball for a good score. Overall the Ocean Course is a delicious golfing experience, beautifully maintained and a must play for enthusiasts of the game.
The par 73 Ocean was designed by Sir Henry Cotton and opened in 1968. It measures 5,818 meters from the white tees, 5,458 meters from the yellow tees and 4,833 meters from the ladies tees. Arguably more scenic than the Royal Course, the Ocean follows an enviable route, undulating to and from the Atlantic with some narrow fairways and neatly placed bunkers. Pine trees are a regular feature with the added delight of fig trees offering a fresh nutritional breakfast or refreshment during late summer and September. There are some wonderful views from the green of the 2nd, the tee of the 10th, over the brow of the 11th and along the 15th and 16th. The 3rd requires an extremely good first and second shot to avoid trouble and then (for most) a third shot over water to reach the generous green. The 4th is a deceptively long and tricky par three, followed by another challenging par-5 that slopes subtly towards a lake stretching all the way from tee to green. The 8th and 9th both require a big effort and some luck to score well.
The par 72 Royal was designed by Sir Henry Cotton and Rocky Roquemore and inaugurated in 1997. It measures 6,059 meters from the white tees, 5,655 meters from the yellow tees and 4,935 meters from the ladies tees. The Royal fairways travel inland on the front nine and towards the ocean on the back nine and are lined with pine trees, lakes and wild flowers. The 16th dominates discussions, a par-3 with cliff top carry over the beach and ocean and one of the toughest challenges for any ability on a breezy day. In the opinion of some professionals, the hole is rivaled only by the 17th ‘road-hole’ at St. Andrews. However, the Royal has plenty of other tests leading up to the grand 16th, including a mix of short and medium length par 4s a fabulous dog-leg par five with magnetic stony bunker and two of the three remaining par-3s requiring great accuracy over water.
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