The 5th hole at Quinta da Marinha
There are approximately 75 golf courses in Portugal, of which 25 are in the Lisbon area. Most of the courses are located in the Algarve to the south of Portugal, but the area around Lisbon has a rich and historic infrastructure, with a lovely climate and some cracking golf courses.
One of them is found at Quinta da Marinha, Cascais - a superb tourist destination for those looking to relax with style and play golf on a Robert Trent Jones course. There is a large hotel along with a recently added smaller boutique hotel which both serve the golf course as well as scores of elegant villas dotted around the complex.
At 5870 metres (approximately 6500 yards), the course is full of beautiful trees and the natural landscape provides big challenges. The par 71 course was laid out by Robert Trent Jones in the mid-1980s. It has developed significantly since then, but the Trent Jones philosophy is clear to see with narrow tees, small greens, delightful bunkering and an emphasis on accuracy, as opposed to power - it is certainly a charming golf course.
The course is in a parkland setting and has attractive and undulating holes with some gorgeous views over the Atlantic coastline and the Sintra Mountains. Despite being a parkland course, with a stiff breeze and fast, running fairways and greens, the sandy soil often gives a very links type feel to the course - just without the dunes.
At the present time, there is a considerable water shortage in many parts of Europe, and this is particularly pressing in the Lisbon region of Portugal. Whilst the course is in excellent condition with fully irrigated greens and tees, the fairways and many of the surrounds to the greens are fiery and prone to giving card-wrecking bounces.
The course has been host to a number of major events, including the Ladies European Tour Masters, PGA Senior Tour Championship and several other main-stream events.
There is a well-positioned golf range located next to the main hotel, which is extremely popular with golfers, hotel guests, local residents and anyone wishing to practise or start learning the great game. It is a little short of length, so hundreds of balls must be lost each week into the scrubland behind and to the side of the range. Nevertheless, it has a great aspect and is busy for much of the day. Behind the range is an excellent putting green, retail shop, café bar and toilets - not surprisingly, lots of golfers congregate there, before and after their rounds to fine-tune their technique and enjoy hitting practice balls in the sunshine.
The main hotel is easy to find, just 25 km away from the centre of Lisbon and easily accessible from the airport about 40 minutes away. It is a high quality five-star environment with reasonable prices and spacious bedrooms, all with wonderful shower rooms and attractive balconies overlooking the hotel surrounds or the golf course. There is a regular shuttle bus that takes golfers to and from the first and 18th holes, which are now just a short drive away: earlier this year, the course was re-configured so that instead of starting and finishing at the hotel, it is now based at the newly acquired boutique hotel with its own purpose-built clubhouse, and restaurant bar. This will be much better for the course in the long run as it allows local people to join the club without feeling like they are a bolt-on to the hotel and it’s guests.
The hotel has several different dining areas, including a fabulous à la carte restaurant with an extensive and delicious bar menu. Just a short ride away, with a complimentary transfer, there is a marvellous fish restaurant, which is also owned by the hotel; there are further dining options at the clubhouse and also at the boutique hotel.
Both of the hotels cater for a range of leisure interests and have excellent conferencing facilities, along with indoor and outdoor pools and a spa. With close proximity to the capital, this is a particularly popular part of the business and one that complements the rest of the business perfectly. There is also a racquet club five minutes walk away, offering 3 outdoor and 6 indoor padel courts, along with tennis and squash courts.
The golf resort is part of the Onyria Group - the word Onyria comes from Greek and means Dream. The Onyria Group is based on a family structure, a project started about 30 years ago by José Carlos Pinto Coelho. The Group was created to make the integrated management of hotels, villas, golf courses and restaurants.
It all started in 1986 with the acquisition of a part of Quinta da Marinha, in Cascais. As it was the first major project of the group in the area of hotel management, the current Onyria Quinta da Marinha Hotel is an important milestone in the history of the Group, and is considered the “cradle” and headquarters of Onyria Group.
There are a number of other excellent courses in the area, so those looking for a tour will also be able to take advantage of a wide variety of different styles of course. The oldest of which is just a few kilometres away at Estoril, which is one of the oldest courses in Portugal and is packed with charming colonial features with a clubhouse that would not look out of place in some of the traditional clubs in the UK.
The weather is generally very pleasant in the region, but the presence of the Atlantic can be felt throughout the year. In the summer months temperatures are in the mid to high 20s - perfect for golf - and it can be just a little chillier in the winter. With such close proximity to the ocean, it is not surprising that the wind can play a part and influence how the course plays. Normally there is a light breeze, but this can pull at your shirtsleeves with greater strength on Sundays. The courses are all the better for the breeze and the careful positioning of tee shots is vital to ensure that you have the best line in for your approach.
For more details and to visit this exceptional golf resort, please go to: https://www.quintadamarinha.com/en