When it comes to what makes a great hole the 13th hole has the lot
Sometimes you can overlook a course’s need for a little bit of TLC if the design makes you just want to stand still and appreciate the surroundings you are in and Golfe Amarante is certainly one of those courses.
There are some stunning elevations and one jaw dropping par-3 that if it was on any of the top courses in the world would be eulogised over for centuries to come. The par 3, 13th hole is right up there with some of the best holes of golf I have played. From an elevated tee you play across a valley to a green that is surrounded by fourteen very tall pine trees to a green perched on a hill with one bunker front left and the side of the hill on the right – if you are lucky your ball will bounce back onto the green if you miss it that side.
You have a backdrop of the hills stretching out for miles and the Rio Tåmega running below and left of you, if I was alone and the course was empty I would have quite happily played that hole several times and just sat and looked at those views.
But the Golfe Amarante is not a one trick pony and there are several great holes and a couple that are not so good. One of my other favourites is the 313-yard par-4 6th hole, a dogleg right played from a slightly elevated tee where the two-tiered green is surrounded by no less than six bunkers.
There are also some very strange holes, but then given the terrain the course has been built on that comes as no surprise, the par-3 11th at 187-yards is played with no more than a 7/8-iron due to the 200/300 foot drop. The second shot on the 431-yard 3rd hole has a similar drop but to a green that if you miss long or left you are in the water.
As I walk off the par-5 18th my memories are not only of the 13th but of what a fun track Golfe Amarante was to play, throw in those spectacular views and I am sure when you are sitting on the veranda of the beautiful clubhouse looking out to the hills with a cold beverage in hand, you will look back on what a great day’s golf you have just had.
A small green at the 4thPlenty of bunkers at the 6thView from the 12th back tee
The 3rd hole, with its second shot downhill to a green protected by water back and left