What we say
Robert Trent Jones disciple Duarte Sottomayer took full advantage of the natural sand dunes and Minho coastline to shape Estela’s links and create a course instantly revered when it opened in 1989. Within two years the 6,400 yards of sandy turf had played host to two European Tour events (Atlântico/Vinho Verde Open and Portuguese Open) and, complemented by its superb ocean and mountain views, it makes a compelling case for inclusion in our Top 100.
The use of Bermuda grass will have purists questioning its right to be called a links but the impeccably-kept course with its gusts off the Atlantic would not be out of place on the Scottish coast. The long front nine doesn’t give an inch. Any ball that ventures even slightly off the tight fairways will almost certainly end your hopes of reaching the open-fronted greens in regulation. And when you do get there you’ll find firm, fast surfaces.
Get through the par-5 opener and par-3 2nd and you’re faced with two holes that can destroy a round. The 450-yard par-4 3rd, Estela’s toughest, is followed by a 190-yard par 3 over a valley to an elevated green with ocean and wind left and a deep pit right. The 5th offers brief respite before you face four of the toughest driving holes you could find. Reach the turn and you may feel the hard work is over, but while Estela’s back nine is less testing it is still fraught with danger. The 400-yard par-4 10th dog-legs left and plays longer thanks to its elevated and well-protected green. The par-5 13th runs along the beach and sees many find the dunes attempting to shorten the hole.
The 15th, the final par 5 and course’s second hardest hole, is made even tougher when the wind blows south. Any birdie putt means you’ve played it very well. The par-4 16th is short, but with OB right and a lake left it can destroy your hopes before the par-3 17th offers a late birdie chance – if you avoid the water. If you head off the deceptively long 18th having beaten Estela, you’ll deserve a glass of local wine overlooking the ocean.
- TG Rating
- Players Rating
- Address Lugar Rio Alto, 4570-242 Estela, Póvoa de Varzim, Portugal,
- Tel +351 252 601 814/567
- Website http://www.estelagolf.pt/
|Green Fees||€ 75|
|Course Length||6,400 yards (5,852 metres)|
- Course has: Bar
- Course has: Buggy Hire
- Course has: Driving Range
- Course has: Practice Green
- Course has: Pro Shop
- Course has: Restaurant
- Course has: Trolley Hire
- Course does not have: Dress Code
- Course does not have: Club Hire
- Course does not have: Handicap