Tipped as one of the new stars of global golf, The Dunas Course at Terras da Comporta has wasted no time in making an impact after being shortlisted for four of the leading honours at the World Golf Awards 2023.
The ‘World’s Best New Golf Course’ award heads the list of accolades that the eagerly anticipated Portuguese venue has been nominated for at this year’s awards – which are celebrating their tenth anniversary in 2023.
In addition, The Dunas Course is also in the running to be named as ‘Europe’s Best New Golf Course, ‘Europe’s Best Golf Course’ and ‘Portugal’s Best Golf Course’, with the winners set to be announced at a prize-giving ceremony in Abu Dhabi in October.
Situated one hour south of Lisbon, the par-71 layout has been created over 84 hectares of natural, sandy terrain on the coast in a secluded setting on the edge of the Sado Estuary Nature Reserve. The first course to have been created in mainland Europe by acclaimed architect David McLay-Kidd, the course opened to the public for play for the first time at the start of June and is one of the most talked-about golf design projects in world golf.
Rodrigo Ulrich, director of golf at Terras da Comporta, said: “It is always an honour to be shortlisted for any award so to be nominated for four – including the accolade of the world’s best new course – is simply fantastic.
“We couldn’t be more excited about The Dunas Course and its prospects now that it is open to play, and it’s great to see everyone that has visited and played the course sharing our excitement. The layout is going to get better and better as it settles in and matures, and we can’t wait to welcome golfers from all over Europe and beyond to play one of the world’s best new courses.”
McLay-Kidd has partnered with Vanguard Properties – the largest real-estate developer in Portugal – to launch The Dunas Course. The layout opened to the public for play for the first time on June 1, with the official course inauguration set to take place at the beginning of October.
McLay-Kidd first started work on the par-71 links course in 2008 before experiencing a series of delays, and believes there is no other course like it in southern Europe.
“I first came here in 2008 and it is absolutely stunning,” said McLay-Kidd, whose other famous designs include Bandon Dunes, Queenwood, Beaverbrook, Machrihanish Dunes and the Castle Course at St Andrews.
“If you look at any top 100 list, it is peppered by golf courses that are through pine, barren sand dunes – from the courses in Melbourne, Australia, to the courses in Long Island in the US and the stuff around the British and Irish coastline, they are generally through sand and through vegetation, and so here we are in southern Europe in Portugal with exactly that type of terrain, and yet no golf course has really capitalised on that. This is a massive opportunity for golf to build something that is unique in southern Europe.
“The thing that is really great for me is that this is open to the public. I get to build courses but, more often than not, they are very, very private and no one gets to see them, so being able to build something like this that is unique, so natural and is open to all at a reasonable price is great. I’m hoping the course will fill with golfers quickly and be a showcase for links golf in southern Europe.”
Vanguard Properties took ownership of the spectacular Terras da Comporta development in 2019 and the site features two plots: Torre, comprising 365 hectares of land in the Alcácer do Sal municipality, and Dunas, which occupies around 1,011 hectares of land in the Grândola municipality.
Complementing The Dunas Course will be a new clubhouse and golf academy. Away from the fairways, an array of lifestyle activities will be available including horse-riding, wellness and sailing, with a wide range of plots for hotels, tourist and residential condominiums also on offer.