What we say
Heading into the tranquility of the mountains it’s easy to see why King Manuel II chose the village of Vidago to build his summer home in 1910. A coup days before the property opened meant the King never saw the finished product. The building became a hotel with Mackenzie Ross adding nine holes in 1936. In 2006 owners Unicer, a bottling company, began a €50m restoration of hotel and course. It reopened on the hotel’s centenary and the results are spectacular.
The original nine holes were reduced to six with a dozen new fairways built to create a challenging 6,900-yard, par 72. Greens have been brought up to USGA standard. Thousands of tons of local pink granite have been used throughout, with the walls of all 74 tees, streams and fields using the stone to create a timeless feel.
On the first tee you’ll find a beautiful starter’s hut, originally a mineral water pavilion. Naturally sparkling water runs through the park (you’ll drink it in the clubhouse and five-star hotel); as part of the restoration miles of piping was put in to move the bottling away from the site. The opening three holes are created from the original design and you’re immediately struck by the impeccable conditioning. The 4th makes use of an original par 4 and par 3 to create a tough par 5 with the river sweeping down the right and across the front of the green.
The 440-yard par-4 5th, the first of the completely new holes, emerges from the forest into the valley with a green-front bunker creating a tough approach. Rivers, canals and stone make the run to the turn tough but it’s the back nine where you’ll find the real drama. The elevated par-4 10th tee sits next to another mineral water pavilion with the river left, woodland right and a green protected by a canal. The uphill par-4 11th has the course’s largest green, carved into the mountainside and almost willing you to three-putt.
The short par-4 14th lulls you into a false sense of security, before you head up to the 585-yard par-5 15th. Reach the first plateau from the tee and all you have to do is find a green with rock, a stream and trees for protection. Easy. The par-4 16th uses the original 2nd and 3rd holes to create the course’s toughest hole. The back tee is so high that it gets the heart pumping. Eagle’s Nest, as the par-5 17th is known, is already being labelled one of Portugal’s most striking holes. Be sure to take in the view; the tee is the highest point on the course with panoramic mountain views. From here you hit down to the course’s lowest point and face the only blind shot on the course.
Unusually the course ends with a par 3... but what a par 3. The six stone-walled tees form an incredible step-effect and at 235 yards to a huge green protected by pot bunkers, trees and rocks, it’s anything but a simple finish.
Step off the course and a multitude of relaxation options await, from a glass of local mineral water or wine in the huge modern clubhouse to a swim in the outdoor pool, a massage in the Clarins spa or an afternoon nap in the five-star hotel’s luxurious suites.
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- TG Rating
- Players Rating
- Address Parque de Vidago, 5425-307 Vidago, Portugal,
- Tel +351 276 990 900
- Website http://www.vidagopalace.com/en/
|Course Length||6,900 yards (6,309 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 has: Club Hire
- Course does not have: Handicap