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Adam Lawrence

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Comporta
« on: May 17, 2023, 07:44:59 AM »
Just back from a press trip to see the David McLay Kidd-designed Dunas course at Comporta, an hour south of Lisbon in Portugal. Originally built between 2012 and 2014, but the site was closed down with nine holes grassed after the developer, the Espiritu Santo banking dynasty, went spectacularly bust. Course lay fallow for six years until the property was bought by Portuguese real estate firm Vanguard Properties and brought back to life by Kidd and contractor Conor Walsh, who was formerly the architect's staff shaper in Europe. It opens officially in October.

I saw the course only a few weeks before it shut down in 2014 and judged then that it would be a clear number one in Portugal the day it opened. Well, it is, and everyone on the trip concurred. Huge scale, a kilometre from the ocean, pure sand, big undulation, pine trees and scrub. The area is beautiful, a few miles south of Troia, and all sand -- if you could get water, you could build dozens of great courses there. Reminded me of a slightly less eccentric version of Kidd's Mammoth Dunes. Portugal's first true World Top 100 contender (Oitavos was in there for a few years but never belonged). See it if you can.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2023, 09:37:18 AM by Adam Lawrence »
Adam Lawrence

Editor, Golf Course Architecture
www.golfcoursearchitecture.net

Principal, Oxford Golf Consulting
www.oxfordgolfconsulting.com

Author, 'More Enduring Than Brass: a biography of Harry Colt' (forthcoming).

Short words are best, and the old words, when short, are the best of all.


David Jones

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Comporta
« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2023, 12:27:19 PM »
I concur Adam!

I went along last week and really enjoyed it. I've written a couple of thousand words on it here -

https://www.ukgolfguy.com/the-dunas-at-terras-da-comporta

For those looking for the abridged version..... -

I loved the sandy/scrub setting, great width but strategic questions too. I think it's unmatched in Portugal and I'm not sure there are many/any better courses built in Continental Europe for generations. Lofoten and Les Bordes new would be in the mix.

It was in great condition but I hope it gets a bit more bouncy. I don't like that it's carts only, not sure it's entirely necessary. I would like the greens to have a bit more movement in them too. These are quibbles though.

There's a little video in the link above too but here's a few pictures too. 2 from the ground and 2 from the air, as I know not everyone likes the same thing!

It has a soft opening from next month - only 100 euros a round, going up to 150 in October.












Tim Leahy

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Comporta
« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2023, 03:12:48 PM »
Wow I would never have guessed that was Portugal. Looks like Monterey or the Carolinas. :o
I love golf, the fightin irish, and beautiful women depending on the season and availability.

Adam Lawrence

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Comporta
« Reply #4 on: May 17, 2023, 03:47:51 PM »
Carts are not compulsory apparently David. You can walk, but there arenít a lot of walking paths between holes (there was a nice one through the sandy scrub between 7 and 8, but not many others), so if you do itís going to be a fairly brutal yomp along the cart path. I polled my playing partners on Monday, and they both thought theyíd give it a go. I was surprised, because I canít see that I ever would. Maybe Iím just a lazy bassa.
Adam Lawrence

Editor, Golf Course Architecture
www.golfcoursearchitecture.net

Principal, Oxford Golf Consulting
www.oxfordgolfconsulting.com

Author, 'More Enduring Than Brass: a biography of Harry Colt' (forthcoming).

Short words are best, and the old words, when short, are the best of all.

David Jones

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Comporta
« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2023, 04:06:46 PM »
Carts are not compulsory apparently David. You can walk, but there arenít a lot of walking paths between holes (there was a nice one through the sandy scrub between 7 and 8, but not many others), so if you do itís going to be a fairly brutal yomp along the cart path. I polled my playing partners on Monday, and they both thought theyíd give it a go. I was surprised, because I canít see that I ever would. Maybe Iím just a lazy bassa.


I wonder if that's changed since last week? They told me then that when they opened they were going to make carts compulsory. Maybe some Japanese style automated carts for those longer connections could work?!


I was trying to think if any GOLF world top 100 are cart only? I've not been to Teeth of the Dog but that may be one.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2023, 04:20:31 PM by David Jones »

Tom_Doak

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Re: Comporta
« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2023, 08:56:13 PM »
Portugal's first true World Top 100 contender


I could swear you said the same thing about West Cliffs a few years ago?

Adam Lawrence

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Comporta
« Reply #7 on: May 17, 2023, 10:29:14 PM »
Portugal's first true World Top 100 contender


I could swear you said the same thing about West Cliffs a few years ago?


I think I said I thought West Cliffs was the best course in the country. Which imo it was at the time. Now second. If I said I thought it was world top 100, I was being a bit flowery.
Adam Lawrence

Editor, Golf Course Architecture
www.golfcoursearchitecture.net

Principal, Oxford Golf Consulting
www.oxfordgolfconsulting.com

Author, 'More Enduring Than Brass: a biography of Harry Colt' (forthcoming).

Short words are best, and the old words, when short, are the best of all.

Tony_Muldoon

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Comporta
« Reply #8 on: May 18, 2023, 03:38:02 AM »
Portugal's first true World Top 100 contender


I could swear you said the same thing about West Cliffs a few years ago?


I think I said I thought West Cliffs was the best course in the country. Which imo it was at the time. Now second. If I said I thought it was world top 100, I was being a bit flowery.

And I said West Cliffs was crap and I was also being flowery!

Sad about the walk as I had high hopes for this one.

Did either of you see Troia, potentially they are a nice pairing?   My No1 in Portgugal. It's a good place to stay. Take the ferry in the evening across to Setubal for amazing seafood.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2023, 03:39:33 AM by Tony_Muldoon »
Let's make GCA grate again!

David Jones

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Comporta
« Reply #9 on: May 18, 2023, 04:46:31 AM »
I'm with you on West Cliffs Tony. Maybe my hopes were too high.

I am very fond of Troia though and rate it highly in the country.

It is looking a little worn around the edges at the moment and needs some attention but I think they may be doing something about that soon.

The Comporta development have already started work on a second course on the north side of the property. Sergio Garcia the lead name, no Fazio involvement anymore I'm told.

Hopefully Troia will benefit from the increased visitor numbers to the area. Would be crazy to visit and not to play it.

Adam Lawrence

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Comporta
« Reply #10 on: May 18, 2023, 05:39:49 AM »
I've not seen Troia but I understand it is very tired. I believe that at least one company had made an offer to buy it. So we shall see.

What do those who didn't like West Cliffs not like? I thought Cynthia did a pretty solid job there. It has a few issues but her commitment to leaving the out of play areas truly natural was extremely praiseworthy imo and it has a number of very solid holes, including the big par five seventh, which is all-world.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2023, 04:10:25 PM by Adam Lawrence »
Adam Lawrence

Editor, Golf Course Architecture
www.golfcoursearchitecture.net

Principal, Oxford Golf Consulting
www.oxfordgolfconsulting.com

Author, 'More Enduring Than Brass: a biography of Harry Colt' (forthcoming).

Short words are best, and the old words, when short, are the best of all.

Marty Bonnar

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Comporta
« Reply #11 on: May 18, 2023, 03:15:57 PM »
Does this make Pine Valley the ĎComporta of New Jerseyí?
F.
The White River runs dark through the heart of the Town,
Washed the people coal-black from the hole in the ground.

David Jones

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Comporta
« Reply #12 on: May 18, 2023, 04:18:22 PM »
I've not seen Troia but I understand it is very tired. I believe that at least one company had made an offer to buy it. So we shall see.


What do those who didn't like West Cliffs not like? I thought Cynthia did a pretty solid job there. It has a few issues but her commitment to leaving the out of play areas truly natural was extremely praiseworthy imo and it has a number of very solid holes, including the big par five seventh, which is all-world.


I don't think I had quite as visceral reaction as Tony to West Cliffs and there was quite a lot that I liked -but I thought there were some odd things too.


It's a full on resort course, yet there were some long carries off the tees. So much so that when I played it they recommended that as an 11 handicapper I play the 6,000 yard tees - it just seemed imbalanced. Even playing up, a lot of people struggled with the carries and that led to some long rounds and from speaking to people quite a lot of lost balls short of the fairways.


The 7th is a great hole for sure and I generally liked the greens a lot which were lots of fun but never went too far.


There were a couple of odd holes though (that back tee at 16 is a weird one). I think that West Cliffs, Troia (if rejuvenated) and Monte Rei could all make claims to be the number 2 course in Portugal. Comporta though is definitely up a few notches.




Tony_Muldoon

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Comporta
« Reply #13 on: May 18, 2023, 05:00:02 PM »
David I've spoken to a few others and they notice not only do they ask you to move up a set of tees, but the colour of tee you are "suggested" to use is to be found up one teeing ground. I noticed my Skycaddie was giving me much shorter hole readings on the tees, than the scorecard suggested.


I thought the greens were unreasonably small for an exposed coastal site. And they are mostly raised and closely surrounded by lush 3" grass.  Perhaps its my level of skill but I was just pleased to get my ball out of that stuff  onto the green where inevitably I was on the wrong section! For such small greens I thought the internals were way OTT. Repeat x 18.


Not a good walk. Have the decided which tee you should start on.  3 years ago the were using 10.


Not my idea of fun. I thought it would be better for the second round but...




Has anyone played a course Garcia has been associated with the design? (Who's doing the real work?) His name wil likely be a bigger draw to the Golfing Community than DMK.
Let's make GCA grate again!

Adam Lawrence

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Comporta
« Reply #14 on: May 18, 2023, 05:05:31 PM »
Jose Maria Olazabalís firm (which is a real design shop with real architects) is doing the actual work.
Adam Lawrence

Editor, Golf Course Architecture
www.golfcoursearchitecture.net

Principal, Oxford Golf Consulting
www.oxfordgolfconsulting.com

Author, 'More Enduring Than Brass: a biography of Harry Colt' (forthcoming).

Short words are best, and the old words, when short, are the best of all.

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