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  • Writer's pictureJuha Tuukkanen

Return to the Silver Coast

Last week I returned to one of my favorite stretches of land along the Atlantic coast, the Silver Coast in Portugal. For years now a group of 20-28 put together by my good friends Tuomas from OnGolf travel agency and Mikko from Golfcenter pro shops. Every fall we play our traditional Ryder Cup -style tournament in resort style destinations around Europe and this year we ended up in Óbidos, a little over an hour north of Lisbon.

The Óbidos area has four 18 hole courses close to each other. My long time feel-good -course Praia d'el Rey is the oldest, mixing mainly parkland holes of the front nine to beautiful links/clifftop stretch of holes in the back nine. On this trip we didn't get to play Praia, instead we concentrated on the newest two, Royal Òbidos and West Cliffs. We also visited Bom Sucesso for one 36-hole day.

Royal Óbidos is best know as the last masterpiece

The par 5 18th and par 4 14th at Royal Óbidos

designed by the late legend Seve

Ballesteros. Set mostly on a hill side, the Atlantic sea of the Óbidos lagoon sets the backround for nearly all the holes on the course. The course itself is a fair test of the golfers abilities, requiring both lenght of the tee and precise placement of the golf ball. Water comes to play on 8 of the 18 holes, mostly in the approach shots.

The main attraction of the trips for most of the players was West Cliffs, the newest course of the bunch. Designed by Cynthia Dye McGarey, West Cliffs if carved into the dynes with the front nine sitting between Royal Óbidos and the Atlantic. I first visited West Cliffs in December 2017, so it was great to get to play the course now that it had matured a bit more. The greens had just undergone severe maintenance which affected playing bit, but the course still played fairly true to how it is designed to play.

To me, first of the highlights of the course

The par 4 3rd at West Cliffs

are the 365 meter par 4 3rd. Dunes on the left and water on the right, this hole requires absolute precision and distance control from the tee and also from the fairway.

As a moderate golf course and golf course design nerd I love the 5th hole. A modern take on the legendary Redan, the par 3 measures 145 meters from the whites. The green is raised higher than the tees and slopes from front to back and

The hommage to Redan, 5th at West Cliffs

right to left. The back of the green is well protected by bunkering on the left side and both back and right sides all long and wide approaches far below the putting surface. I saw many trying to attack the back left pin from the green, some even managing to keep their ball on the green. Personally I chose to hit a runner to the front of the green, trusting the slope to take my ball close to the pin and too great pleasure when it worked as I planned.

Like already said, most of the holes are carved right into the dunes, giving a beautiful visual contrast between the deep green grass and nearly white sand. Going of the grass usually spells trouble, with all the bushes and deep, soft sand that waits outside the fairways and roughs.

The weather during the trip wasn't ideal for taking pictures, but I managed to get a few good picture sessions in. Unfortunately the day we visited Bom Sucesso was cloudy and filled with two rounds of singles, so I didn't get to take any pictures this time. I'm going to use that as an excuse to visit the Silver Coast soon again. :)

Next I will be heading to Northern Ireland in a few weeks, hoping to capture so great pictures of some of my all time favorite links courses. Keep checking my blog and golf course gallery for additions in the near future.



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