Nave Lagoa

The best golf courses in the Oeste region

The binge-watchers will remember The West Wing, a TV show that was very popular for seven seasons between the end of the last century and the beginning of the present. It was a political thriller starring Martin Sheen that offered a new perspective into the inner workings of the White House.

It was during those same years that took place the design and initial development of what is now one of the biggest attractions in Portugal and a real luxury for any golf lover: the four courses in the lagoa de Óbidos area. Praia del Rey, Guardian Bom Sucesso, Royal Obidos and West Cliffs are four excellent courses, all of them already decorated with numerous international awards and a good chance of many more with their rising reputation. It is truly amazing they offer golf players the opportunity to play in four world-class courses within a mere five-minute drive of each other. Paraphrasing the TV show, we could call them “The West Swing”.

Today, with many of you practicing again your swings for the holiday weeks ahead, we are going to present some of the features of these four courses and some ideas and tips for those who do not know them yet.

The first of the courses to open its doors was Praia del Rey, in 1997. Designed by Cabell B. Robinson, it combines holes between pine forests and links along the ocean. The wind can sometimes be the biggest challenge, so those who do not have time to play a full round may have to choose depending on the weather conditions of that day; the back nine have spectacular views of the Atlantic coast but they are also the most challenging if the wind is blowing.

Guardian Bom Sucesso opened in 2008, with the advantage of being located in a stunning design and architecture resort, with houses crafted by some of the best architects in the world. Another curious element in Bom Sucesso is that, being in the universe of the European Tour, it regularly hosts professional events and activities, which allows the amateur player to see how closely, or far away, their cards are from those of the professionals. Here you can see for example the card of the players who played the Q School of the European Tour in October 2018 and 2019.

The course was designed by Donald Steel and although it has some interesting and complicated holes, overall it can be said that it has a level of difficulty somewhat lower than that of the neighboring courses, especially since it is less exposed to the wind. From the tee of the spectacular 17th hole we can enjoy the best views of the entire area.

The third course in chronological order was Royal Óbidos. It was the last course designed by the great Seve Ballesteros and has some holes that confirm Seve’s promise to create a wonderful place for golf here. If we can only do nine holes, it is worth choosing the front nine, which look towards the lagoa de Óbidos area and include the charismatic 3rd hole, a par 3 with an island green where it is necessary to combine the maximum precision in choosing the club and to avoid getting distracted by the beautiful views of the lagoon.

The last of the courses to open, in 2017, was West Cliffs, which started with great momentum after being chosen the “Best new course in the world” by the World Golf Awards. Designed by Cynthia Dye, the granddaughter of the legendary Pete Dye, it is a demanding course but one of great natural beauty among the dunes.

The four courses offer good deals to try a different one every day and they also offer special prices in the off-season and in the late afternoon games.

As if that wasn’t enough to whet the appetite of any keen golfer, it is necessary to mention two other interesting golf options. First, halfway between Óbidos and Lisbon, in the Torres Vedras area, is the Dolce Campo Real, an 18-hole course designed by Martin Ebert whilst he was still on the Donald Steel design team. The course opened in 2005 and has been gradually consolidating since. In 2016, it was chosen the best golf resort in Portugal in the Global Brand Awards. It is a different course, with many more trees, and slopes that can be a good workout for those looking for a good dose of exercise whilst indulging in their favourite pastime of golf.

  And, finally, a less orthodox option but one that may also be of interest, would be the nine-hole course in Botado, next to the MH Atlántico hotel, 1 km south of Peniche. It is much less maintained, even a bit wild in some areas, but precisely because of this it benefits from having less players and it can be the ideal option for beginners or families with children that can go into the course without much pressure. And being next to the beaches of Supertubos and Consolação, it has some holes with views of the ocean very comparable to those of its neighbors of greater pedigree. In short, an interesting alternative to complete the golf options in this scenic area.

And you? Have you played in these courses? Do you have special memories of a hole in particular?