In the afternoon, it was not far from Belas Clube de Campo to Sintra, where I had some Portuguese golf history on my ‘to do’ list. It’s up for debate, but as far as I know the Lisbon Sports Club is the oldest golf club in Portugal …whether it’s true or not, this pearl should not be missed. I only had time to play nine holes, but I wanted to play this golf course so badly. It’s a cheeky and quirky course, but maybe that’s down to its age. The old layout focusses on fun, combine that with its excellent condition and you have a fine course. The many blind shots and absurdly narrow fairways, together with the small greens are par for the course.
What is really special about Lisbon Sport Club is undoubtedely the history and this is in evidence as you approach the clubhouse. Old trees and bizarrely two goats welcome you to the parking. Once you are inside you are surrounded by old pictures and trophies from the club’s past, a truly phenomenal heritage.
It might be a course from a past era, but this is its charm and challenge. It’s not to be underestimated! Small ‘burns’ and ditches cross the fairways over and over again and highlight many of the course’s best features.
Differences of elevation are a signature feature, for sure. A special example is the 16th, 479m off the highest tee, a majestic par 5 off the back. A good drive will set up a tough blind wood or long iron into the green. A shot not for the feint-hearted. Here, the signature small greens, streams and undulations welcome you. Even the 18th, 411 meters from the yellows is quite some par 4. Again, the shot into the green has to be 100 percent accurate, otherwise you might aswell put a double figure on the scorecard! The green is not surprisingly very narrow and well defended with water to the right, a par on 18 is like a birdie.
To summarise, Lisbon is a golf course you have to play at least once. I mean, how many golf courses have as their first hole such an impressive par 3. Go and play it, it’s well worth it and a lot of fun.