It’s no secret The Algarve is one of the best golfing holiday destinations in Europe. Sun, sea and amazing golf courses, The Algarve has it all. And you’ll struggle to find a better collection than the golf courses in Lagos.
Alongside the great golf courses on offer, Lagos town had a great vibe, with loads of restaurants, bars and shops.
In this post, we’ll run through the best golf courses in the area to help you plan your perfect golf trip to Lagos.
The best golf courses in Lagos
All the golf courses below are easily reachable within a 20 minute drive from the centre of Lagos.
1. Espiche Golf Club
Espiche Golf Club is one of the Algarves newest additions, only opening in 2012. But during its short life, it’s already managed to rank the 13th best course in the Algarve and 25th in Portugal!
The first thing you’ll notice when you reach the course is that there is little margin for error! In fact, my first tee shot split the fairway, only to roll over the crest of the hill and make its way into a load of bushes and wasteland!
Unfortunately, the theme continues as you make your way around the course, with wasteland (made up of olive, fig and almond trees) surrounding each fairway.
Espiche places sustainability at the heart of the club and it’s clear that the “rough” is designed in this way, with most of the original landscape left as untouched as possible from off the fairway.
It makes for spectacular views, particularly when you’re looking down on a hole from a raised tee, but doesn’t half put you off pulling out the driver with the fear of losing (another) ball.
If you’re not quite striking it around here it’s easy to run up a cricket score. But play well, and you’re rewarded with your ball bouncing over fairways and towards greens with spectacular backdrops.
It’s probably not the best course for beginners or higher handicappers. But otherwise, it’s definitely worth coming up here to play a game, as it’s nothing like any of the other courses you’ll play in and around Lagos.
2. Boavista Golf Resort
Whilst you won’t find Boavista Golf Resort in any Algarve rankings, for me it’s one of the area’s hidden gems.
The course meanders through all the villas on site. From the roads it can give the impression the layout is crammed in a little, but you’d be wrong!
Granted the first three holes are surrounded by O.B. left and right as any wayward shot will land in a garden of one of the villas! However once you’ve passed this, the course opens up somewhat and there are some fantastic holes.
Alongside this, Boavista is typically in great condition. I would describe the grounds as typical Algarve terrain with coarse green grass, huge bunkers and strategically placed water.
My favourite part of the course is immediately after the turn. There are a run of five or six excellent driving holes (10th, 12th, 13th, 15th, 16th) which allow you to really open up the shoulders and chase a few birdies.
This doesn’t mean they’re easy! There’s a bit of water and loads of bunkers to catch any wayward shots.
In the middle of all these you also have a long tough par 3 (194m) over water and the stroke index one 15th which requires a couple of perfectly executed shots to find the green.
Overall, the club has a lot of charm, a number of excellent holes with lots of character and it’s generally one of those courses where you can remember each hole as they are all so different.
3. Onyria Palmares Golf Resort
Palmares has a history in the Algarve, having opened up in the 1970’s, but the current suite of courses (there are three loops of nine) are distinctly different from the original designs having undergone a major transformation in 2010 by Robert Trent Jones Jr.
As a result, the resort is now rated 4th in The Algarve, 7th in Portugal and within the top 50 in Europe!
However, the three nines here are distinctly different.
The Lagos has a more parkland feel, with epic views throughout. As you move from tee to tee you’re stunned as the sharply defined, perfectly green holes contrast with the bright blue skies and ocean behind. If you’re driving it well, there’s nothing more satisfying than watching your ball land on one of the fairways some 100 ft below you.
The Praia nine on the other hand drops closer towards the coast and has more of a links feel.
The unique location of this course means the holes are nothing like you’ve played in the Algarve before. You swap trees for huge sand dunes, water for long wispy rough and the wind starts to take its effect as you’re protected less and more exposed to the effects of the ocean.
Finally, The Alvor is somewhere in between the two, more of a heathland style nice.
After holing out on the last hole on this course, I really didn’t want to come off it. I’d personally have to rank this right up there as one of the best courses I’ve played! It has everything – a variety of holes, perfect conditions, stunning scenery and amazing greens.
The green fees here were the most expensive, coming in at €120 plus buggies (Hint: you need them around here), but in my opinion, well worth it.
4. Penina Championship Golf Course
Penina Championship Golf Club is arguably the most prestigious golf course in Lagos having hosted the Portuguese Open on eight separate occasions.
It’s also one of the longest. It reaches 5,827 metres from the yellows, but with five par fives and a par 73, overall it actually doesn’t “play” that long.
Designed by Sir Henry Cotton in 1966, there’s a very English feel to the course with flat terrain, lush grounds and thousands of trees lining the fairways.
For that reason, you need to be driving it well! The trees just off the side of the fairways (there are some 360,000+ of them) gobble up anything slightly off line and either block you out for your second or kick your ball into one of the many hazards.
A few highlights on this course are the par five 5th, which plays over the water just short of the green. And the par four 9th, where a shorter club is required from the tee, followed by a longer second shot hitting to the clubhouse in the distance.
The 12th (S.I. 1), and 13th (par-three) are other holes protected by water. The latter has water running down the whole right hand side of the hole. Apparently the lake was dredged over 20 years ago and some 20,000 golf balls were found here!