Considered by many to be one of Europe’s best golf courses, Troia Golf Course, an incredible layout located around an hour and a half from Lisbon, is one that features in many a Top 100 Golf Courses list but is still relatively underplayed compared to a number of more well-known designs in Europe. Designed by Robert Trent Jones Senior, the par-72 layout at Troia Golf has the following accolades;
– Rolex awarded it as one of the best golf courses in the world – featuring within its Top 1,000 Golf Courses
– Golf World ranked Troia as 17th in Continental Europe
– Top 100 Golf Courses ranks it as 2nd in Portugal
– Portuguese Open Host in 1983 – the tournament was won by Ryder Cup legend Sam Torrance
Your Golf Travel’s Sales Director, Nick Moran, a member at North Hants Golf Club, recently played the course and has come back waxing lyrical about it so felt it only right that we sat him down and got him to talk about his top experience.
What did you know about Troia Golf Course prior to your trip and your thoughts about playing it for the first time?
I’d been looking forward to playing Troia for sometime. A number of YGT Sales Specialists had visited back in April and previously I’d had conversations with friends at my golf club who’d all raved about it. They had all commented about the outstanding layout and design, the amazing value for money to play the course and the journey to get to the course, which can be either a 80-90 minute drive from central Lisbon over the vast Vasco De Gama Bridge (11 miles long / Europe’s longest bridge) or a more direct journey south of Lisbon over the ‘Ponte 25’ bridge (which is like the Golden Gate in San Francisco) and down to Setubal where a short ferry or catamaran crossing takes a few minutes into the local port at Troia. The golf course is located a couple of minutes drive from the quayside – so all in all not your normal journey for a round of golf!
What were your first impressions of Troia Golf Course?
Troia is a maturing country/beach resort and I can imagine it may be popular with families in July-August. However, outside of this period (and Easter) the resort is likely to be quieter and very worth either a ‘play and stay’ experience based locally or incorporating a day-trip to remember within a traditional Lisbon golf break that tends to base itself around Estoril or Cascais. The course, club house and practice area are tucked away in the dunes to the south of the resort and there is a feeling exclusivity and tranquillity.
The sea can be viewed from most of the holes across the dunes and this is complimented by the holes that meander though the tall pine trees – either Mediterranean or American. Troia reminded me of a seaside Pinehurst in so many ways but with 8 hours less flight time and no jet lag!
I played the course in the 2nd week of November. We had cloudless skies, little wind and 20 degree weather! For me, as the climate continues to change the appeal of golf holidays in September or October lessen and late October – November increases.
What was your favourite hole at Troia Golf Course?
My favourite hole was the par 5, 14th. A long dog leg left into the prevailing wind with sandy waste and pines woods on either side of the tee shot and an enormous sandy waste area on the right hand side of the 2nd shot. A member we played with affectionately called this area ‘Iraq’ as it was certainly a dangerous area not to get lost in. The green is at the edge of the course near to the sea. I was fortunate enough to make a 5 on the first day and a birdie on the 2nd day. There’s also the most incredible elevated Summer House or Man Cave I’ve ever seen in a nearby garden! (See pic below).
What is your tip for anyone playing Troia Golf Course for the first time?
Take one more club than you need would be my tip and pray from some good lies in the green side bunkers which are deep and very sandy!
Off the course, what should we do around Troia Golf Course?
Take the catamaran across to experience an authentic and traditional evening out in Setubal. The local squid, shrimp and clams are a must washed down with some Douro Valley wine. I’d also highly recommend a G&T or two made with Sharish Portuguese Gin and served on ice, with a cinnamon stick and slices of fresh apple – just fabulous! (see pic below)
Where does Troia rank in your own personal Top 100 Golf Courses?
It’s right up there, possibly top Top 10! Dubai Creek, Pinehurst No 2, PGA Catalunya Stadium, Valderrama, Royal Porthcawl, Turnberry, Sunningdale Old, The Nicklaus at St Mellion and Trevose are all personal favourites. Can I give a score once I’ve been back to Lisbon in March and played Penha Longa and the famed – West Cliffs at Praia D’El Rey?!
As you can see Troia Golf Course is befitting of its reputation as one of Europe’s best golf courses. With countless options available to base yourself close to Troia or to visit as part of a Lisbon Golf Holiday it is sure to be a popular option for those seeking something different on their next trip. Golf holidays including Troia Golf Course start from £149 including 3 Nights and 2 Rounds of Golf (including 1 round at Troia).