The train that passes through Palmares and Top the Quinta Da Marinha Hotel
Quinta da Marinha 9th greenPenha Longa looking up the 3rdStunning views at Palmares 4th
I am standing on the crest of the hill on the 15th at the new Robert Trent Jones Jnr course at Palmares. Out at sea a yacht patiently bobs along as two hues of blue meet on the far horizon. A couple of birds chirp away to each other and the flowers are in bloom, shouting their magnificence to the world.
The blazing yellow sun that Iíve so missed back in England, smiles down upon the world. I feel the leather glove on my left hand and look down at the perfectly mown green below, and a thought goes through my head Ė just how much Iíd miss if I didnít play golf. When Bobby Jones once said donít forget to smell the flowers, I think itís moments like these that he was talking about.
Portugal has always been held in high regard by British and Irish golfers. Itís one of the first places that springs to mind when thinking about a golf break, and after whatís felt like an epoch of winter here I am, 5-iron in hand, playing in a polo shirt on a track that Iíve always held in high regard and now class it as a must-play course. More of that later.
This is a trip with a difference and one Iíd highly recommend that you sample. Iíve already written about the great courses that await you in Lisbon and Iíll add two more to that list here. The second part of our tour takes us down to the Algarve and a Palmares track that I played some 30 years ago when it was off the beaten track. I would recommend you fly into Lisbon and fly back out of Faro with TAP Portugal, but in this instance we travel back up to Lisbon for our return flight.
I donít normally mention the accommodation Ė thatís the domain of my colleague Charmaine in the hotel and spa section of this site. But on this occasion I was alone so Iíll name-check the Onyria Marinha not only for its stunning rooms, spa and excellent food but its great little warm-up course to get your stay off to the perfect start. The same family runs both of the hotels that I stay in, and both are perfect
Quinta da Marinha
Atlantic Course Penha Longa
The stunning resort at Penha Longa from the 18th tee © James Mason