Just how good are you? Well if you want to find out if you would make the grade at Q School then just head 30 mins east out of the city of Lisbon across the iconic Vasco da Gama Bridge to Riba Golfe, the qualifying venue for the European Tour.
Arriving at the venue can be a little puzzling, the mind’s eye expects to be greeted by the typical visual treat of manicured lawns adorned with swish villas and apartments, but the 2 courses sit on a protected belt of land for the conservation of the regions cork trees. The land was due to undergo huge development through the 00’s including a hotel and country club but a change in local government and the intervention of conservation groups scuppered those plans to leave two magnificent courses in the tranquillity of the countryside.
We played Riba Golfe 1, a Peter Townsend designed course aimed at tournament standard golf, it’s a good venue for any competition but from the forward tees is still very playable and enjoyable for the club golfer.
The first course is tighter than the second at Riba Golfe and this promotes accurate shot making decisions from the very first tee. The front 9 is about staying calm and picking your spots, taking a driver on a number of the tees is the wrong decision, a well struck long iron or hybrid allows you to get the ball in play and find the angles to approach each.
The back nine is where the course pairs it testing layout with the beauty of it surroundings. Holes 13-18 are majestic and it’s here you will find shades of Valderama. The course is made even more picturesque and challenging by the introduction of water on the 12th and 14th and the “all carry” par 3 15th.
With the addition of large bunkers and undulating greens throughout your round at Riba Golfe you have a course where a cool head and steady nerve are required.
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