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As the last course designed by Sir Henry Cotton, the Pestana Alto golf course in Alvor has become known for offering a true challenge to golfers.
The 18 hole, par 72 course was inaugurated in 1997 and covers a total distance of 6,102m and while every hole on the course will push golfers, it is the legendary 600m par 5, known as the “Sir Henry Challenge” that will really test the skills of a player to the full.
Located near to the pretty fishing town of Alvor and Portimao, Pestana Alto, it is all about going back to the basic principles of golf and the simple layout allows for challenge and playability for all handicap levels, without ever being monotonous.
Enjoy a course, designed for the golfer who likes to take time to think about their game before heading off the Clubhouse with amazing views to the fairway overlooking the 3rd.
Rob Cheney is a leading PGA Pro with extensive knowledge of golf in the Algarve and over 15 years of coaching experience. Rob is also one of few to authorised with Stack&Tilt and Aimpoint certified.
1.Gentle Par 3 to start. Check location of flag, as the length of this green can make club selection difficult. Also plays slightly uphill, so taking one more club is recommended.
2. Excellent Par 4 where tee shot needs to be kept just right of the old “bread oven”. 2nd shot to a small green which slopes gently from back left to front right.
3. Short Par 5 which offers a good birdie chance. Aim at bunkers from the tee, long hitters should try to cut the corner. Then it’s all uphill to the green so take extra club. Very tricky green with severe slope at the front – stay below the hole!
4. Strong Par 4 where tee shot needs to be positioned just right of the fairway bunker. 2nd shot is once again uphill, so an extra club is necessary. Small green which slopes severely from back to front.
5. Double dogleg Par 5, only reachable in two by the biggest hitters. Tee shot needs to favour the right hand side. This allows the 2nd to be positioned to the right of the bunker on the corner of the 2nd dogleg. The green is bigger than most and relatively flat.
6. Stroke Index 1 hole where tee shot must be perfectly threaded between the trees. Uphill approach to a green which slopes from back to front.
7. Difficult Par 3 where most people end up short of the green. The green is raised and protected by bunkers. There is a large slope from back to front.
8. Downhill tee shot should be kept left of the bunker on the corner of the dogleg. Approach shot is once again to a raised green which has a step in it, splitting the green down the middle.
9. Long Par 4 takes you back towards the clubhouse. A right-to-left shape is preferred from the tee which will leave a long, uphill approach to another raised green. Extra club is a must on your approach.
10.This Par 4 requires a left-to-right shape from the tee and accuracy is at a premium. Check the location of the flag as this is a 2-tier green.
11. The first of two short holes which offer the golfer a brief respite from the demanding holes before. This downhill Par 3 plays shorter than the distance on the card.
12. The shortest hole on the course, but don’t be fooled. The green is protected by a bunker in the front and has a large slope from back left, to front right.
13. Another short Par 5 which is a genuine birdie chance. Favour the left side of the fairway form the tee. The approach shot plays steeply uphill so take at least one more club. The green slopes from back to front and has a step running from left to right.
14. Very short Par 4 with a blind tee shot. You can pick a line much further to the right than it looks. A good drive will leave a short approach to another raised green which slope heavily from back left to front right.
15. A blind tee shot should be aimed over the small rock in the middle of the fairway. Long approach to a raised green which again has a large slope from front to back. Find the correct level of the green with your approach or a 3-putt is very likely.
16. Once the longest hole in Europe, this Par 5 is only reachable in 3 by the longest hitter. If your tee shot avoids the water, then you need everything you have to move the ball up the fairway. The approach should favour the right side, as the green slopes sharply form right to left.
17. This Par 3 requires excellent distance control, as the green is protected in the front by a large bunker.
18. An excellent Par 5 to finish. Long tee shot followed by a 2nd shot that needs to reach the top of the hill. The approach always plays a club longer than the distance – so take an extra club. The green slopes severely from back to front.