Playing Golf in Portugal

Information on the Golf Federation, the requirements to play (the handicap system, medical certificates) and who to contact locally...

Portugal's mild climate and low rainfall mean it is possible to play golf all year round. The country has over 100 clubs and 70 Portuguese Golf Federation (Federação Portuguesa de Golfe, FPG) accredited golf courses. More are in development. There are over 1,600 registered players in Portugal.

Most of the golf clubs in Portugal are open to both members and non-members, and offer tuition in English and German. Many also have a resident Portuguese Golf Federation (FPG)-approved Pro able to provide advice and lessons, either in a group or privately. Many golf courses also have a pro shop and a club house with a restaurant and bar.

At the moment there is no public, non-commercial golf courses in Portugal, although the FPG runs a public Golf Academy at Jamor near Lisbon, and there are plans to develop a public golf course.

Portuguese Golf Federation (FPG)

The Portuguese Golf Federation exists to promote, organise and control golf activities in Portugal. The federation organises national competitions, courses and training schemes, coordinates the various activities and also ensures that the rules set by the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews are respected.

  • For the golf rules from the R&A
  • Federação Portuguesa de Golfe (in Portuguese)
    At: Rua Santa Teresa do Menino Jesus Nº6, 17th floor Miraflores, 1495-048 Algés 
    Tel: 214 123 780
    Fax: 214 107 972  
  • FPG Algarve Delegation
    Sítio dos Pinheiros Altos, Quinta do Lago, 135 – 863 Almancil 
    Tel: 289 391 415

National Centre for the Training and Development of Golf

The National Centre for the Training and Development of Golf (Centro Nacional de Formação de Golfe) at the sports stadium complex of Jamor near Lisbon is open to clubs affiliated with the FPG. It includes a practice range (Campo de Prática), golf academy (Academia Campo de Golfe), a nine-hole golf course (Campo de Golfe de Nove Buracos), golf trainers (Treinadores de Golfe) as well a golf shop (Loja de Golfe) and cafés, bars and restaurants.

Requirements to Play

Amateurs wishing to compete in competitions must be affiliated to the FPG, a golf club and have a golf licence (handicap card) which is valid on an annual basis from 1 January to 31 December.

FPG membership also provides insurance which covers players in Portugal and abroad, either for accidents to the player or a third party while on the golf course. A player who spends more than three consecutive months away from Portugal is no longer insured by the FPG.

A European Golf Association golf licence can be applied for from the following in Portugal:

People wishing to get their first golf licence/handicap card or play in a competition do not need a medical certificate from a doctor.

Obtaining a handicap

In order to compete in competitions a golfer must have a handicap. Portugal does not follow the green card system (cartão verde) for logging a handicap, although after some initial training the player's trainer or golf Pro may sign a "certificate of ability" to assess their game. The player may then undergo a variety of tests depending on the club.

Portugal follows the handicap system set by the European Golf Association (EGA). If a golfer's home country is a member of the EGA the handicap can be transferred to Portugal. If from elsewhere, the Portuguese club will reassess the handicap and assign an equivalent.

Portugal follows the procedures specified by the EGA Handicap System. In order to obtain the first handicap the player has to submit three Stableford Scores, one of which equates to not more than the maximum Exact Handicap of 36. The player's affiliated club is then responsible for assigning the first handicap.

Any player who has a handicap and becomes a member of a Portuguese club will have a Portuguese handicap. Handicap records from the EGA and CONGU systems are accepted for obtaining that handicap.

Useful Golfing Vocabulary

English Portuguese
Backswing Backswing
Driving range Driving range
Golf Director Directores de Campo
Golf ball Bola de Golfe
Golf course Campo de Golfe
Golf Range Campo de Prática
Green fee Green Fee
Green Keepers Green Keepers
Hole Buracos
Iron Ferro
Practice Prática
Score card Cartão de Jogo
Trainer Treinadore de Golfe
Water hazard Obstáculos de Água
Wood Bosco

Note: Many English terms are the same in Portuguese, for example, bunker, green, divot, handicap, fairway, putter, driver.

Further Information