Managed by ORIZONTE – Lisbon Golf and the host of the Portuguese Open in 1996 and 1997, the famous venue’s par-72 Aroeira I layout was a new entry in the latest edition of the prestigious biennial UK list – described as “the most authoritative ranking by the most widely-travelled panel”.
Explaining the decision to include Aroeira I in the 2015/16 rankings, Chris Bertram, the Top 100 editor, said: “Laid out in two loops of nine, Aroeira I was dubbed the ‘Wentworth of Lisbon’ in the 80s but has in truth more of a feel of Woburn. It enjoyably winds between towering pine trees yet it is never claustrophobic.”
The Top 100 panel concluded: “A delightful experience on a course in peak condition, Aroeira’s presence in this Top 100 is a reward for recent upgrades.”
The renovation program at Aroeira began last summer and further work has continued since the spring on enhancing the visitor golf experience.
Having already improved the fairway and putting surfaces, renovated the cart paths and reconditioned the irrigation and pumping systems across its two 18-hole layouts, head greenkeeper Dirk Hoeven has supervised a further refurbishment schedule over the last three months including rebuilding the majority of the tees boxes.
Aroeira I and II, created by Frank Pennick and Donald Steel, meander through impressive stands of tall pine trees, reminiscent of some of Surrey and Berkshire’s finest old clubs. As well as hosting two Portuguese Opens, the courses have, between them, staged many other high-profile tournaments including several Ladies’ European Tour events and, in 2013, the prestigious European Men’s Club Trophy.
José Maria Cazal Ribeiro, from ORIZONTE – Lisbon Golf, said: “For Aroeira to have been restored to a position among Europe’s elite courses is wonderful news and vindication for all the hard work that has been put in by the team over the last 18 months.
The latest edition of the Top 100 Courses in Continental Europe 2015/16 rankings delivered further good news for ORIZONTE – Lisbon Golf with three of its other layouts – Aroeira II, Quinta do Peru and Ribagolfe I – being named among the next best 100 courses on the continent, and hopes are high that Ribagolfe I will be elevated to the main list when it is next published in 2017.
Bertram added: “Host of European Tour qualifying, Ribagolfe is referred to as the ‘Valderrama of Portugal’ with good reason. Created out of a cork oak forest by Peter Townsend and European Golf Design, it meanders in tranquility with no residences in sight. Ribagolfe II, by Michael King and European Golf Design, is also excellent.”
ORIZONTE – Lisbon Golf offers the chance to play six of the leading courses in close proximity to Portugal’s capital together with exceptional value for money on a wide range of accommodation options across the region.