After an investment of €18m in 2004, the fifth golf course at Vilamoura opened for play. Arnold Palmer designed the Victoria and it’s a big layout that was built with tournament play in mind. One year after opening, the course hosted the WGC World Cup, which resulted in a Stephen Dodd and Bradley Dredge team Wales victory.
In 2007, Oceânico Golf, owners and operators of a group of seven Vilamoura courses, secured the inaugural Portugal Masters. Englishman Steve Webster won the new 2007 European Tour event with an impressive 25 under par total. The Portugal Masters has been held on the Victoria course ever since. Spain’s Alvaro Quiros shot a final round of 68 to win the 2008 title by three shots ahead of Scotland’s Paul Lawrie. Lee Westwood and Richard Green lifted the title in 2009 and 2010 respectively. 20-year-old Tom Lewis, who shot to fame by leading the Open at Royal St George’s as an amateur, won the 2011 Portugal Masters. Lewis birdied five of the last seven holes to claim his maiden title in only his third professional start.
In some ways, the Victoria is similar to the Smurfit course at the K Club, but naturally the weather here on the Algarve is somewhat warmer. The hazards are severe and you may settle for the safe option and a few three putts by aiming to hit these huge, fast and undulating greens in regulation. Keeping out of the numerous water hazards and the threatening bunkers will surely pay dividends to your scorecard on this relatively flat course.
Most new courses require a settling in period and the Oceânico Victoria course at Vilamoura is no different. Some say the Victoria may threaten Vilamoura’s wonderful Old course in the ranking tables, but somehow we doubt it. We think Vilamoura’s new Faldo designed course, which is both dramatic and strategic, may give the Old a run for its money.
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Average Reviewers Score:
I have played Victoria once a year for the last 5years and some of the earlier comments are fair.the good news is I played there on sat 24th aug and the course is in the best condition I have seen it for a long time.some of the earlier comments on the so called poor layout are in my opinion unfair .it is a good front nine which turns into a outstanding back nine.
Really enjoyable layout but it unfortunately has lost its lustre, next to no rough means there is no reward in hitting the fairway, greens were ok, in the premium greenfee season the course should be in premium condition
have played a few courses on the algarve lately, this is probably the biggest let down. I have considered playing the course for a few years and have always ended up somewhere else. The course is very open i have read a few reviews on the course and people have said it was particularly hard, well other than the 18th i really didnt think it was that tough and that was only because the wind was particularly stong into your face. I would say the course was ok, but there are far better value courses around to spend your hard earned cash on. By the way, if you are useing your sat nav to get to course put in directions to laguna and drive a little further down the road or you will end up at the back of club unable to get into complex.
WHAT A SHOCKER !!
Played this late October 2012 for the 2nd time - won't be going back . It had rained that hard that all the bunker sand had been washed off the faces into the bottom , which were 3 ft deep in water . No attempt was made to make them out of play under local rules . Fairways were that wet that it was impossible to take a drop as there was nowhere to go . They must be so desperate for money that they were willing to put us out rather than re-fund the ( high) green fee ! It will be the last they see of my money !!
My criticism last time a played still stands - so many different wildfowl on the course that it's a struggle to find your ball amongst the white feathers . Warning ! Don't lick your balls - never seen so much bird poo on a fairway in my life !
I repeat , avoid like the plague .......
Having seen the Portugal Masters on Sky several times I was really looking forward to playing the Victoria Course, but I have to say that in my view it doesn’t live up to the hype.
Clubhouse aside, the surroundings can only be described as bland. The rough was horrendous and in parts scruffy, and although the greens and fairways were in excellent condition they couldn’t make up for the feeling of disappointment I felt after both rounds - we played it twice to make sure!
Victoria is difficult, and yes, in case you’re wondering, I did have two stinkers! However, I have had stinkers before on difficult courses, but have still come off the course with a smile on my face having thoroughly enjoyed the challenge and the experience. I couldn’t say that about the Victoria Course. Still, at least the weather was good!
So unless you’re happy to spend most of your time looking for balls in bland surroundings, I’d suggest you give this a miss and go and play the Old Course instead!
My experience on the day in not worth the 6 balls I'm awarding to this course for 3 reasons: 1/ slow greens (understandable since the are having the Portugese Masters next week and want to protect them), 2/ all back tees moved forward (same explanation as nr.1), 3/ a 15.00 tee off time in early October made us play 18th in the dark. But you have got to feel the potential of that place! A cracking course. Yes, the surroundings are not the prettiest but the course itself is fantastic, especially the back 9. Definitely the best Vilamoura course in my books, by a country mile. I'll definitely return! Cedric
Fabulous course,played here in June 2011. Excellent condition, difficult but fair as there is always a "bail out" area for the amateur unlike some so called championship courses. Lots of water on the back 9 but there is always a way round, great holiday golf. The 7th, 11th, 13th, 17th and 18th stick in the memory as great golf holes. Well worth the green fee.
Played the course in March 2011. !st day for buggies after a prolonged spell of rain. The general condition of the course was good, greens are true and despite the rain quick. An already long coures played even longer due to the soft underfoot conditons. The back 9 are particularly challenging and give you a feel of just how good modern Pro golfers are. I would recommend anyone to play this course although shorter hitters my struggle to reach many fairways
Just played the Victoria course (March 9th) and have to say it was one of the most humbling golf days i've had! Having seen the pros play and score 4 or 5 under on this course on Sky, I now know how good they really are. This is one of the best courses I have ever played and eventhough we had to walk the course due to a heavy overnight rain, the lack of buggies made you feel that this is how BIG courses sbould be played. It is a big course and with great holes. The fairways were in great condition and the greens fast. The holes from 10 on are as good as it gets and you are always in awe on how the guys on tv play these holes under par. I hit the best 3 wood of my life to reach the 18th in two, leaving a 3foot put for birdie. Missed the put, but made 4. Great course!
During last year's Portugal Masters Francesco Molinari shot TWO 62's in one week on this course...
Firstly I will admit I had a far from perfect round, but I will say I have played better municipal courses. I played it on 19/02/11 and found the fairways to be inconsistently cut and some holes looked like meadow grass. I would agree with a previous cotributor that the front 9 is boring but the back 9 does get more interesting with more features. My playing partner and I concluded that
Oceanico has a business to run and are playing this course to death. It's another one ticked off but I will not be rushing back.
Played the Victoria on 6th November 2010. Overall a good test of golf. Front nine is pretty bland with the exception of the 7th - back nine more than makes up for it. This was the 2nd tiime have we played the course within 3 weeks of The Masters finishing. The greens were in poor condition which may be down to the amount of traffic on them. Fantastic pair of finishing holes. Would rank this course behind The Old, Villa Sol, Faldo and both of the Vale Do Lobo tracks in terms of overall enjoyment.
I just spent the last few weeks in the Algarve and thought Victoria was brilliant. It is so much better than any othe other Vilamoura courses, including the Old Course and is also in much better condition than any in the Quinta Do Lago area. We found Victoria long, interesting, challenging and fun. It certainly feels like a "stadium" course, perhaps similar in style to some of the Dubai courses but our experience overall was very positive.
Totally diasagree with the "boring", "flat" and "just a stadium course" comments. We played there in May 2010 and the course was fabulous. Maybe not in as great nick as the Faldo course but still very true greens and a good test for good golfers. Many holes here where yo uhave to think about how to play the hole rather than automatically reaching for the driver. I play off 6 and shot a 76 (4 over) hitting 14 greens in regulation. Basically one of the best rounds I hve pout together and still couldnt get near par. Lots of fun, great facilities and the hotel is worth staying in too if you can get a good deal
I'm glad you played well but surely 6 balls is reserved for an outstanding golf course - Am i right in thinking this review is as much about how you played as the standard of the golf course? .
14 May 2010
Thanks Marcus. It would be fair to say playing well (or badly) can influence how you view a course but all 4 of us shared the same view of Victoria. There is a lot of variety in the holes, and a number of holes where you have options from the tee, safe with a long 2nd, or a risk / reward tee shot for a short second. I cant think of one boring or fill in hole. The condition was excellent, pace was good, greens were true and for those reasons I think it deserves a 6.
I have to agree with the positing that Victoria is boring. To my mind it is very much a formula course and could be anywhere in the world. Give me some of the older courses in the Algarve any day. Good course but I wouldn't be in a rush back to play it again.
I'm truly astonished that anyone should describe this course as boring, and equally shocked that so many think it inferior to Vilamoura Old. I have played the courses in this area on three occasions now as part of a party of eight (six single figure golfers and two off 10), and to a man we all rate Victoria the best, although we are yet to play the Faldo or O'Connor courses. It is a cracking test of golf, invariably in better condition that the over-played Old course, and much, much more difficult. That is why the Tour play here, although they do make it look easy! After a fairly gentle opening, the course gets progressively more difficult, with 17 and 18 being two of the best closing holes I have played. Anyone who knocks it on 18 in regulation deserves a pat on the back! Overall great course, top facilities and well worth the green fee. Don't be put off by those who dunked a couple of sleeves of balls in the water!!
i totally agree - played this in mid september and it was still a mess - i think i'd put up with it if i was playing for thousands of euros though !!!!! the old course was an absolute beauty though
A tough course for the big hitter but nonetheless a fabulous track. Well thought out with bunkers and water just where you want to put your ball. Not as intimidating as I thought It was going to be as you can avoid water If you want to and can score well without having to hit It 300yds. mind you I think if you were bubba watson you'd murder It
Played Victoria as part of a glorious week at Vilamoura in November and I think it has the hardest back nine that I've ever played. It was in great condition and the facilities were wonderful, but in reality, too difficult for me and I'd probably play Villa Sol rather than Victoria next time I'm there.
Enjoyed the course although played week after the masters. The rough was kept high which made the course very difficult and long. Fairways excellent along with greens. Back 9 with lots of water. Distance from tee to fairway was long which was great for the big hitters but not for the average golfer.
I thought this place was overrated and over priced.
It is a good course, and challenging in places.
How the European Tour boys shot 25 under for 4 rounds last year is beyond me. I found it very long and quite difficult.
Good condition, but not worth the money.
It was OK. The Old Course and Monte Rei are the best two in the Algarve, no doubt at all. I also prefer Vila Sol, though only just. This course is well maintained and has great facilities, but it is not worth the large price tag. At this money, I'd rather play Monte Rei time and time again! I agree that the course is a little flat. Sure, the holes have been sculptured, but overall the elavation changes through the 18 holes are not what you'd expect from a Ł100 golf course. Don't be put off playing it, but it's just not the sort of course I'd return back to.
Theres obviously been some money spent here to make this a typical european tour course. You can take that as a complaint or a complement depending on your course preference. For me I'd rather play an honest traditional course but that doesn't detract from the fact that the course is still highly enjoyable. Plenty of risk and reward shots with a fair amount of water. With stadium type golf I like to see something truly spectacular on the course design - even over the top. This doesn't have it. There is still no denying it's worth a round here if only so you can compare yourself to the big boys for the nest couple of years.
Currently the baby of the Vilamoura courses, the Arnold Palmer design opened in 2004 and was granted the golf World Cup event in 2005. From 2007 until 2010, the new European Tour event, ‘Portugal Masters’ makes it’s home here. From my introduction it is clear that this course has been built as a tournament course and for that reason, it is a success story. My personal view is one that stadium/tournament courses are not my cup of tea. There is a very open feel to the course and massive greens which make ‘greens in regulation’ that much easier but ‘putts per green’ that much harder. Great part of the course is around holes 11, 12 and 13 (known as Victoria corner), that feature one of each par, each with water your main enemy. No doubt this will be loved by some golfers but only liked by me. It will be interesting to watch the European tour players later this month.
I have to say I'm not a huge fan of modern courses where the earth has clearly moved but I found this course something special. The condition was just stunning throughout the course and it was so appealing on the eye. The course starts with a few great rollercoaster par 4's before 2 par 5's in the next 3 holes which tempt the big hitter but require great accuracy - missing on the wrong side is not an option. As you enter the back 9 the water comes into play on virtually every hole, with many greens nestling on rocks above the water line. It's stunning to look at, the greens are a real challenge as they have significant slopes and the closing few holes offer a real challenge. For me it even just snuck it over the Old Course!
the course was in very good nick and the facilities were exceptional, but overall I was left a little disappointed. Having played many of the top courses on the Algarve I was expecting something special, but although it was a good track, it was pretty flat and featureless. The staff in the clubhouse were clearly still in WGC mode. For the cost, there are many courses in the area thatI would choose before playing this one again - Vilamoura No 1 in particular
Reading this review of Victoria, I simply fail to recognise it . To say it is "flat and featureless" beggars belief unless you are a member of Royal Nepal. The back 9 is magnificent with 17 and 18 providing a grandstand finish.
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