Golf Course Architecture - Issue 73, July 2023

57 level; perhaps this is appropriate, as the hole that follows it is the most severely downhill on the course. The par threes are an excellent, and varied set. My favourite was the sixth, a fairly short hole to a green tucked into a saddle between two dunes, but the others are no slouches, and the picture postcard seventeenth, the shortest on the course, will be one of the most photographed. Truly, the only downside I could see was that the course will be a very difficult walk if anyone chooses to try: the routing is rather spread out, with some substantial gaps between holes, and the scale of undulation will not help here. At present, anyone trying to walk will have little choice but to follow the cart paths between holes. There is an attractive wooden walking path through the sand barren between the seventh and eighth holes; some more of these would help. Mention of carts, and knowing the course is mostly fescue inevitably makes one wonder how the grass will stand up to the traffic. “If fescue is maintained correctly, it can take cart traffic,” says Kidd. “What will help here is that there will be less cart traffic when the fescue is most stressed, in the heat of summer.” Kidd says that the Tróia peninsula sits on top of a large and well-filled aquifer, so water, which comes from boreholes, will not be in short supply, though the developer is working on a project to recycle the water used in the local rice fields for irrigation. Vanguard CEO Jose Cardoso Botelho says Comporta will be the most sustainable project of its kind in Europe. Every house will produce solar energy, and will be able to share it back with the rest of the development. Eighty per cent of Comporta’s energy requirements will be produced within the grounds. Every building, including the hotels, will be made of wood, there will be no concrete involved in the construction of the clubhouse, and all houses will be carbon neutral. Two five-star hotels are planned, though the brands of those hotels has not yet been announced. Kidd, for one, would like Vanguard to build a less fancy lodge for golfers, along the lines of the accommodation at Bandon Dunes and similar resorts. I share his view: I don’t believe that golfers are looking for super luxury and think that such a lodge could be the foundation of the ‘European Bandon’, something the continent lacks. The course, when it opens fully in October, will be priced at €175, inclusive of cart and range balls; in present market conditions a bargain. See it if you can. “ Assuming that the course is allowed to dry out and firm up as it matures, it will truly play like the links its architect says it is” Photo: James Hogg On the closing hole, the waste area juts into the fairway on both drive and approach COMPORTA