Santo da Serra - The experts' opinion

15/05/2013 12:03:00
Mikael Lundberg plays the spectacular fourth hole at Clube de Golf do Santo da Serra  (Getty Images)
Mikael Lundberg plays the spectacular fourth hole at Clube de Golf do Santo da Serra (Getty Images)

Ahead of this week’s Madeira Islands Open – Portugal – BPI we ask five former champions about their favourite hole at the stunning Clube de Golf do Santo da Serra, which has spectacular views to rival any course in the world.

Hole 3, par 5, 521 yards

Alastair Forsyth

“The best holes are probably three and four, it’s a tough choice between them. The third is a par five over the ravine but it’s fairly straight forward, get it in play for a long iron into the green because the lay-up area is not great so it’s two shots to the green all the time.

“You are over the moon if you come off with a four. Short is dead, left is dead and there is a trap long which doesn’t offer a very easy bunker shot. A good shot onto the green and you make your four and move onto the next, but if you miss the green you’re happy with a five."

Hole 4, par 3, 202 yards

Ricardo Santos

“The views here are just great, it’s a spectacular hole. Obviously you don’t want to miss long or short. When the pin is on the right you can attack it, but when it is to the left you just go to the middle of the green.

“It’s a tough green too with a lot of slopes but this year the ball is stopping a little more than last year so that could make it easier. It is never easy here though.

“Last year, I think I had four pars here. No birdies unfortunately but no bogeys, which is positive. You would take that at the beginning of the week any time. You’re happy with par here, you won’t lose too many shots to the field with pars.”

Daniel Vancsik

“Years ago my favourite hole was number six but the course has changed a little since then. Number four now is my favourite hole.

“You need to hit a really good iron into the green and the flag is on the left, you have to be smart on this hole. Depending on the wind you can hit a six iron or a pitching wedge.

“Everything is beautiful on this hole, you can see the mountains and the other views down to the sea and to be honest, it makes you a little bit nervous. The selection of the club is really tough, but crucial.”

Hole 10, par 4, 395 yards

Santiago Luna

“I love so many holes on this course. Four is fantastic but probably my favourite hole is the tenth. There is nothing special about the hole in terms of obvious danger but it really just depends on the weather.

“Usually the wind is pushing you to either side. It looks easy but when the wind blows it is so difficult. It is a tough hole to begin if you start there.

“If there is no wind you can hit a two iron from the tee or even try and reach the green with driver if it’s down wind. If you are hitting into the wind you will need a driver and it’s a much different hole, strategically.

“The problem is, it is a short hole so you think it is easy but you have to be careful. It’s a typical hole where you say, this will be an easy three, but sometimes it’s actually very difficult to make par.”

Hole 11, par 5, 572 yards 

Estanislao Goya

“This is the first time I have played Clube de Golf do Santo da Serra. There are a lot of interesting golf holes and the course is in good condition.

“The fourth hole is so interesting - the view from there is just spectacular.

“The 11th hole is really interesting too. You’re hitting the driver about 30 yards downhill. It’s not very long because it is downhill. I hit a five iron into it on the practice round. The green is very tricky so that makes it a very tricky hole, but a good hole.”