Before heading back to the airport, only 35 minutes away, you shouldn’t leave Cascais without playing Penha Longa. It was always my plan to play here on my last day. And, from my point of view, Penha Longa was worth the wait. What a surprise, a haven for nature with unique views and a fascinating layout. The drive to the golf course is like an adventure in itself. The old trees and the rainforest-like climate give you the feeling of a mystical world. It’s hard to compare with any of the other courses on the Cascais coast.
The clubhouse completes the first impression. A successful mix of old and new. In its old venerable walls, modern cuisine of the finest order is served. The interiors add a modern twist too and would not look out of place in a funky bar in downtown Lisbon. I loved everything about Penha Longa, even from the first tee. With its many different elevations and resulting shots into a lower lying green, this golf course offers a lot of variety and an enormous amount of fun.
Penha Longa has probably the most photographed hole in Portugal. The 6th green of this short par 5 is adorned and defended by an old aqueduct from a bygone era. Very photogenic, but unfortunately the weather was not on this photographer’s side. I would have liked to have taken some special shots, but it wasn’t to be. Definitely next time!
From both the perspective of the layout and the fun, I liked the last four holes. 16 to 18 are a real test for your scorecard and your game.
The 16th is a true par 4, with a high tee shot that is both impulsive and intimidating. You’ll be tempted to give it a good whack. However, beware, your ball will rapidly disappear into the abyss. The landing zone for your drive is really minimal and the kink of the dogleg is in that exact area. Great design. It calls for a well-positioned Molinari drive, compared to a DJ power one. The next two shots will both be uphill and it’s likely you’ll need at least two more. Just brilliant. At the top, the reward for the climb is the par 3 17th, the highest point of Penha Longa. Let your eyes soak in the view. But, be warned, stay focused, the golf course doesn’t give you too much time to relax. The 18th is another par 5, where taking on the trees will surely result in a birdie, or even an eagle.
Penha Longa is 6.600m off the whites and a par 72. Costing €75 in the week and €110 at the weekend, it’s not the cheapest and not the most expensive, but worth every cent. I really want to play here again, especially to try and get that ‘shot’ on the 6th. I keep picturing an early morning round when all the birds are singing and the shadows are still long.