Golf real estate intrudes on a would-be gem in Portugal at Praia D'el Rey
That’s why we call it “Capitalism” and not “Pretty-golf-course-ism“.
But that doesn’t mean us golf nuts think intrusive real estate ruins great, more natural courses believe it’s right.
What bugs me the most about the Marriott Praia D’El Rey resort on the west coast of Portugal is all the glossy course pictures that show nothing but serene fairways and greens nestled against undisturbed coastline. Yet when you play, you see more cranes than natural shoreline and hear more “clanks!” than waves crashing on beaches.
Don’t get me wrong, the course - as a golf course - is still very good, but I can’t see it being a Top 100 course anymore. A course where I have to back off shots because of a “clank!” in my setup or backswing doesn’t belong among the elite. I’d rather play Oitavos or the classic Estoril down the road.
But there are great views at Praia D’El Rey too. Holes 12 thru 15 puts you right on the edge of the Atlantic. But simply cock your head to the right and you’ll see cranes, a giant “sales office” banner hanging from a porch and tons of houses (or do we call them villas?).
For now, if you can stomach the occassional “clank!” in your backswing or crane in your sightline, the course is a great play. If not, maybe wait until the course is built up entirely in a few years so at least it won’t be so loud.
By the way…any of you golf travelers should check out TravelGolf.com photo galleries, taken by writers - not PR or marketing people. We aren’t pro photogs, so chances are few shots will make it framed above your fireplace. But we show courses like they are. We take shots of the pretty stuff, but try and catch the ugly, too. I hope all of you considering which courses to play in Vegas, Myrtle Beach or Europe take advantage of this.
*Sometimes flatter courses look unjustly ugly from our photo galleries, I should say, because we can’t jump in helicopters or ladders to get more stunning shots of the hole, like pros do. Getting some elevation and the right sunlight is key to making a golf course look good (not to mention Photoshop).
Oitavos Golf Club an hour down the road in Cascais on the other hand has done its development more tastefully. There is residential development at its Club de Marinha resort, sure, but it’s away from the course mostly. A hotel is set to be built to the left of the 18th in the coming years, but the rest of the housing lies on the course’s perimeter. No cranes, no “clank!", just great, undisturbed Atlantic Ocean views. Europe’s first Audubon sanctuary course, Oitavos has committed to ensuring the natural shoreline stays in tact.
I commend them for that.
If I was a bigtime corporate resort I’d probably build a course any way I can if the cash was there. After all, the kids need their PS3s, right? But I’m not a suit, I’m a golf lover, and it’s a bummer Praia D’El Rey just gets a little worse each time you hear “clank".
You’ll find both stunning views and lots of construction at Praia D’El Rey in Portugal.
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From: Michael C. Roseto/ Luxury Golf LInk
I've been enjoying your varied articles golf overseas. Your recent article on St. Andrews was particularly good. You are a great addition to travelgolf. All the writers before you were in the habit of "blasting" certain courses or properties with the indication that they were not treated with a lot of "freebies". They certainly were not being objective in their subject reviews.
You showed a lot of apporeciation for ST. Andrews and that made it a good article.
50 years ago (1957) when I started Wide World of Golf and immediately took my first group of golfers to St. Andrews, the Old Course Hotels was but an open piece of land that h oused
the train (BTH) station masters house just off the 18th tee (it still stands as the Old Course Pub), and the old shed were torn down when they started the hotel (1964-5). AS you noted, the form of the RR STation is still brought to memory in the shape of the place with the fense still standing. In earlier years you had to play the shot over the "sheds" to get to the 17th FAirway.
In 1965 BTH (British Transport Hotel Co) decided to built the Old Course HOtel. What is now the back of the hotel facing the course was then the drive in front. After Margaret Thachter (PM) started the privatization program, the hotel was sold to Mr. Sherman (he originally owned the Ferry SErvice between Britain and France, as well as Ireland.
Sheridan renovated the hotel and subsequently sold it to a group including some Japanese investors, thinking they would have automatic rights to assign tee times for the OC StA.
(Note: this is the same case as existed when the Japanese bought Pebble Beach).
at this time, the Old Course Ltd (made up of the interest from the R&ACC took part of the h otel and prepared it for the forthcoming Opens(I think the first one in 1970) This all continued until the Kohler familyi from Ws coming off of their huge success in turning their state into a golf Capital, bought the place and added some important features.
Through all of this, the Fence on the North end and the Pub on the south end remain as our reminder of golf at St. Andrews of OLD.
Keep up the good writting. I continue to wait for additions to your archives.
Yes, St. Andrews is special and one must make the most of it during their visit.
Michael C. Roseto
Luxury Golf Link
After living in Carmel/Pebble Beach for 45 years, it was time to return to my golf-roots in Pennsylvania.
to your staff. He is a cut above the others and I feel the articles are
objective and well written. If I used "all the writers", that was a stretch and
for that I'm sorry. Please read Tom Doak's articles on Melbourne, Aust. courses
in the recent edition of Links Magazine. A Super Issue, when read makes
one want to catch the next plane to "Down-Under".
Again, thanks for the reply. I do think you have made a lot of wonderful
improvement to the e-newsletter.