The 1st is a tough opening hole
The sea comes into view at the 4thFrom the back of the 16th green
Grand finale time. This is only personal preference but I always like leaving the best till last Ė like crispy potatoes during a traditional roast dinner, or a bandís best-known song at the end of their set.
I first played the Frank Pennik-designed Palmares three decades ago when there were about six courses in the whole of the Algarve, so itís with slight trepidation that I set off to see what Robert Trent Jones Jnr has done here. I neednít have worried Ė Palmares lives up to its billing and is the crescendo of this golfing gig.
Remarking that Jones Jnr has done a magnificent job is an understatement Ė itís like saying Lionel Messi isnít a bad footballer. The views are arguably some of the best in the world, with a few of the first nine holes looking over the ocean to the town of Alvor and the second nine to Lagos. A third nine are named Praia, with four running along the shoreline but unfortunately on this trip I donít get to play them.
For those like me who have played the original course there is nothing here to remind you of that design Ė but donít let nostalgia put you off. This is more Star Wars re-mastered, than Jaws II, and Jones Jnr has wrung out every ocean view possible.
The views on the Alvor nine start at the fourth and there arenít too many words sufficient to describe whatís before you Ė looking down from this elevated tee with the fairway and the green leading your sight across the ocean to the town of Alvor. ĎWondrous comes to mind. Iíd love to be on this tee as the sun settles down behind Alvor Ė thatís a view youíd never forget.
Again Iím not going to run through the course hole-by-hole. There is not a weak one here. Itís immaculate even with the deluge that the Algarve has taken over the last few months. There are some wet patches but nothing that a few weeks of sun wonít cure.
I will say this of the new Onyria Palmares. The members at Augusta National are rightly proud of their course and I would love to play there, but I wouldnít want to play there for the rest of my life. But I could quite happily spend the rest of my life playing the 27 holes here with these views.
Sitting on the clubhouse veranda watching the shadows creep across the fairways of Palmares as the sun sets over the ocean, Alvor and Lagos, I tip my glass to those members with their plant nursery and tree-lined views, knowing Iíve made the better choice.