Looking back down the 1stOld aqueduct next to the 6th greenViewfrom the par 3 17th tee
This course is nestled in the magnificent seclusion of the Sintra Hills. Secluded, that is, on non-race days – it backs onto the famous Estoril motorsport track and I must admit I’d love to hear the roar of an F1 car or 500cc bike from the ‘viewing platforms’ of the 11th green or 12th tee.
The resort sits in a 500-acre estate that was once the reserve of kings and noblemen who came here to relax. Trent Jones Jnr has managed to recapture that mindset on some of the elevated tees. Whether you’re new to this great game or been playing for years, standing on some of the tees before the beautiful hills can only inspire your game.
The words ‘magnificent’ and ‘mystical’ both come up in the stroke-saver history guide and I have to say they are not used out of context.
The Penha Longa hotel spa and golf resort has 27 holes and I’m standing on the elevated first tee looking down at the fairway of this 366-yard opening hole.
There are five teeing options here ranging from 6,904 to 5,569 yards so you can enjoy a course that suits your game. It's a hilly one, but I’d recommend you take a trolley rather than a buggy as you have to stick to the cart path. With no GPS in the carts and no yardages on the path, you’ll be taking three or four clubs with you every time you go to your ball.
I’m not going to describe the course hole-by-hole as there are no weak ones here, and as I mentioned earlier there are magnificent views from each. All the par-3s are strong but a special mention goes to a couple – first the par-5 498-yard 6th with the remains of a centuries-old aqueduct running to the right of the green, and the 18th whose back tee looks across to the bright pink hotel with its terracotta tiling.
You can see why kings and nobleman would travel here. I’m sure James I, who brought golf down from Scotland to England, would’ve approved of what Robert Trent Jones Jnr has done with the land here.