Course designer Seve Ballesteros commented: “It is a very natural course, an existing lake has been well-planned, to drain it and to prepare it to store the water coming from the water purifier. The course offers a great variety, with two different areas. The first nine holes and the area around the clubhouse are overlooking the beach; these characteristics bring the players closer to the most traditional style of the best American courses. A chain of small lakes communicated by cascades affects three strategic holes (3, 4 and the 5).
The other part of the course is framed by cliffs that reminds of the British links with many spectacular aspects and unique to players. Holes 13, 14 and 15 are good examples and they flow near an oceanic cliff. Holes 10, 11 or the decisive 18 don’t go unnoticed with some water hazards.
The characteristics of the golf course of Porto Santo are perfectly capable to be considered as one of the best in Europe.”
Just a short hop by plane from Madeira, or a two-hour ferry crossing from Funchal, the capital of Madeira, lies Porto Santo. This is the smallest inhabited island in the Madeira Archipelago, but unlike Madeira, Porto Santo has a 9km golden sandy beach. The name literally means “blessed port” and we can see what the early Portuguese voyagers meant. Porto Santo is not just any old port in a storm.
Porto Santo is set to become a must-visit island because the flamboyant Spanish maestro Seve Ballesteros fashioned a must-play ocean-side course which quietly opened for play in 2004.
With the backdrop of the beach and two extinct volcanoes, the fairways of the opening nine holes sweep past lakes and bunkers. The back nine is more dramatic, set high on the clifftops with the glistening Atlantic in full view. The trio of holes, 13, 14 and 15 are amongst the best ocean holes in all Europe where there’s more than a hint of Pebble Beach.
A fun 9-hole par three course will provide an engaging warm-up ahead of Seve’s wonderful new Porto Santo layout. Play here before the word gets out.
Host venue of the 2009 Madeira Islands Open, Porto Santo is perhaps the finest design from the iconic Seve Ballesteros who died on the 7th May 2011 after a long battle with cancer.
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Average Reviewers Score:
stunning course,overlooking ocean on both 9's. Went at the end of the season so the course was probably not in as good a condition as it could be, but this outweighed by the fact on one of the four occasions we played were the only people on the course were ourselves but apparently the time to go is spring.
would say to anyone it is a must to play given the chance.
The best course in Madeira and one of the most challenging I have played as a mid-handicapper. We arrived by ferry on a day trip from Funchal, with a mini-bus taking us straight to the course.
The front nine head inland, with several lakes surrounding greens, making holes such as the par 5 3rd very challenging. The wind was blowing a gale and this made the back nine extremely challenging. Hole 13 is a magnificent par 3 over a gorge with a sheer 200 foot drop to the ocean. Hole 14 is then a risk and reward par 4 for the pros at the Madeira Islands Open, hitting a driver 300 yards to the green, again over the ocean. Unfortunately I had to play it as a regular par 4, but it is still a great hole nonetheless. Hole 18 is another memorable hole. Over 600 yards from the back tees, but downhill all the way to the green, including an approach over a huge lake. Very unnerving when you've been beaten up over the last 17 holes.
Any golfer going to Madeira should book a day trip to this wonderful course. If they don't, they are missing out on the best the lslands have to offer.
Having played expensive Palheiro in Funchal (some good holes,indifferent condition, beautiful clubhouse) and Santo da Serra,which has lost the Madeiran Open-and lost some fairways too_i have ventured twice to Porto Santo. The back 9 is certainly much better than the front 9 which overlooks some random and ribbon development towards the sea, but the course setting,fairways and greens and relaxed hospitality make this a day out to remember for an all-in package price by ferry, courier minibus (to/from) and greefee of 100 euros. And no waiting at holes either-almost empty! Go there