On the next day I was more than excited. I got a tee time on the brand new golf course of Praia D´El Rey, named West Cliffs. West Cliffs just opened one week before. We arrived really early, so early that the doors of the club house were still closed and I felt like one of those kids who are waiting impatiently in front of a store before some new phone gets released. Now I could just finish this story about West Cliffs with two words: „Unbelievable Good“.
But you definitely need to know a little bit more about this newly opened masterpiece of a golf course. Sure it will need some time, maybe a year to finish every single part of the facilities but the course itself is already in stunning conditions. I hit a couple of balls on the range before I walked to the first tee. Boy, I can tell you I was so excited about this. The first tee box was already excellent. First drive, center of the fairway. My second shot, a 6 iron reached the green.
I entered the first green and guess what, it was just perfect, super fast and nice to putt. I walked with par from this hole which should be a really rare result on this tough course. The course was designed by Cynthia Dye. She had to work with some tough restrictions.The areal of West Cliffs is huge and was left as undisturbed as possible to ensure a minimum disturbance of the natural environment and to protect the existing surroundings like natural rolling sand dunes and coastal vegetation. In short, the course is just perfectly and harmoniously integrated into the landscape. The result is amazing. The tee boxes are always little islands in the middle of nowhere.
There is second cut but no real rough mixed up with natural integrated sand bunkers. So if you´re not on the fairway you need a second ball or it´s time for a „beach party“. If you´re on the fairway you have to handle the nicely integrated up and downs of the typical sand hills. There are some stunning holes which I need to give you a closer look at.
Well, I mean the whole course is breathtaking but No. 8 for example, a very long par 5 with its elevated tee box is the highest point of the front nine. On a good day you can overlook the Atlantic Ocean and the Óbidos Laguna. Try to aim more to the right so that your ball will land on the flat part of the fairway. From here you will get a good angle for a lay-up shot to attack the green with a pitch but make sure you beware of the defending bunkers on the left side of the green.
The green was again a challenging task for me. Three putts for a seven. Shame on me or lucky me, depends on the point of view.
The next hole, No. 9, is a typical West Cliffs hole. Looks scary from the tee but if you´re smart, good to play. It´s a dogleg to the left with water on the left. A long iron should be fine, for the approach over the water, accuracy and confidence is a must. The green itself is ok to putt.
The back nine are already close to be finished and it´s really hard to find the right superlative for it but all holes from No. 10 to No. 18 are just stunning. No. 11 a dogleg to the left, for example. Between the tee box and the fairway there is a huge gab. You have to hit at least 150 meters to reach the fairway. My drive was to much left and I had a hard time to play it, but I made it. My ball just landed in the bunker on the left side of the green. Well out from here and two putts for bogey. An amazing score for this amazing hole.
I could easily write about every hole of West Cliffs but I have to choose, so the next hole I really have to write about was no 14. When you tee it up you have really no idea where to aim or even how long you need to hit it. So I was very lucky to place my shot on the fairway. My ball just ended up in front of a little green island. From here I was able to produce again one of those magical shots and my ball landed on the green but rolled over the fast putting surface. Double bogey here on this great hole.
No. 16 is an amazing par 3 and the highest point of the whole course, really divine.
The finishing hole is the last tester on this unreal beauty and you really need to play golf. Please just have a look on the pictures. I made it with a lucky seven. In summary West Cliffs is the most unbelievable course I have ever played. It´s really a modern dream of a golf course, like a Science Fiction and really a pleasure to play.