Yesterday I played the Old Course in Vilamoura as the first round on a 5 day trip to the Algarve.

I had played the course previously, around 4 years ago, and remember liking it a lot in 2014 but preferring San Lorenzo or Quinta do Lago North Course. In the intervening years Iíve also read tales that the course and club had fallen into a bit of a decline due to lack of investment and changed ownership.

The course and whole club just wowed me yesterday. The clubhouse has had a significant revamp to its exterior. The welcome was spot on, we were offered the chance to play earlier than our booked tee time if we wanted. The staff were all very warm and friendly.

I remembered all the holes from my previous visit four years ago. If thereís possibly one weak hole on the course then it may be the 1st, a relatively short downhill par 4, but this might be a harsh assessment as itís still a completely beautiful hole in its own right. The other holes just flow so well, one stunning hole after another. The particular stretch from the 4th to the 9th is about as good as golf can get. All holes are framed by pine trees, and straight hitting is a necessity.

The course was in immaculate condition, absolutely faultless. Certainly a big improvement from my last visit. Tees, fairways, greens and hazards were all in stunning condition.

I also think that itís a course that benefits playing it multiple times. On my first visit several holes felt quite claustrophobic. Yesterday, I mixed up my club selection off the tee a lot more and concentrated on hitting more fairways without being so aggressive in looking to bomb the ball off every tee.

The food and drink was reasonably priced, not too expensive. A buggy was only 25 Euros, which compares very favourably to many other Algarve courses (I think itíll be 40 or 45 Euros today at QdL North). Prices in the pro shop though are too expensive, I couldnít justify 95 Euros for a nice Footjoy shirt with a club logo on. We booked our trip last year as a package, but I think the current Summer green fee is 95 Euros which is a steal for the quality on offer. For me, itís the best Course in Vilamoura itself by a wide margin, and leagues ahead of the more expensive Victoria Course.

It wonít be another 4 years until the Vilamoura Old Course is on our annual rotation, itíll be a must play Course now, up there with San Lorenzo and QdL North.

Highly recommended to anyone planning an Algarve golf trip and looking for a challenging, beautiful, manicured course with a great welcome.