The courses in order of play
1. Millennium – due to a delay in the transfer from the hotel to the course (unreliability of the shuttle bus became a feature); we arrived about 30 minutes before our tee time. The staff in the pro shop were pretty unhelpful, and unwelcoming. We were advised that they could not accommodate our request for sandwiches, and told we would have to wait for the drinks/food buggy to find us, and then told there were no buggies available for our use. We agreed to opt for trollies on the proviso that when we had completed nine holes if there were buggies available they would do a deal. When we got to the starter I reiterated our request for the drinks/food buggy to find us asap and he confirmed he would arrange it. The buggy finally found us on hole 6 only to advise us he had no sandwiches, he kindly returned to the clubhouse and returned with something at the 8th. As agreed with the staff in the pro shop we went in after the 9th to swap the trollies for buggies but the “deal” they offered was 30 euros for 9 holes (we had already paid 5 for the trollies). The buggies were sat there doing nothing, so this approach to customer service was baffling to say the least! To complete the Millennium customer service they had no table service for post golf drinks. To be honest I quite like the course (particularly the front 9), and generally it was in good condition, but the customer service let it down badly.
2. Victoria – You would not believe that this and Millennium belonged to the same company! From the minute you arrive to the minute you leave you are made to feel special. The quality of the course obviously has something to do with this, but the approach of the staff (which should be consistent across the Oceanico group) also played a major part. The whole experience is a joy and a must play for any golfer.
3. Old Course – This was our group’s first visit to the Old Course, and to a man we were very impressed. The course is immaculately groomed, attractive, and has good changes of elevation but is also pretty fair and most of us were able to put a decent score together. The only negative on the day was that we had planned to get to the course for 11.45am so we could eat lunch before playing. We met for the shuttle in our hotel at 11.15am, but despite repeatedly being told 5 minutes, the shuttle finally came at 12.20, giving us limited time to eat. Also after the round we waited over an hour from requesting our transfer.
4. Pinhal – We played this course last year and it was as difficult as I remembered, with the pines providing some very narrow corridors for driving. I think I hit a tree on 4 consecutive shots on the 3rd!!! The course generally was fine but some attention to tees, bunkers, and pathways would not go amiss. In truth if this course did not form part of a package which enables you to play at the premium courses I’m not sure how busy it would be!
No complaints, clean, comfortable, but preferred Vila Gale Marina.
Value for money in Vilamoura
Of course we recognise they have a captive market at the clubhouses and in the restaurants and bars in Vilamoura, but given the general economic conditions across the world we saw no reflection in the prices charged for food and drink. A pint of anything was generally about 5 Euro, which to be honest didn’t bother anybody at the time nor ruined anybody’s enjoyment. But upon reflection on return when people count the cost it may lead to consideration of an alternative venue which offers better value in the bars and restaurants. We thought it was generally quieter this year, which was possibly a reflection of this?
We had an unbelievable time in what cannot be denied is a class venue.
Finally thanks again for all the assistance from YGT in setting our trip up. The service is a definite 10/10 which I would not hesitate to recommend to anybody.