The Algarve's first golf course, and in many ways the layout that set the tone for what was to follow, Peninsula was designed by Sir Henry Cotton and is a low quality resort track with plenty of water and green grass. The round starts with a string of extremely dull holes, coming to life somewhat at the good par five 5th hole, which presents legitimate strategic options for golfers on the second shot - either carry the pond and head to the green or play safe and then carry the hazard on your third. The next is a well built par three and the 7th a decent short par four, spoiled a little by a creek short of the green that reduces options for most players. The 9th is interesting and features the most dramatic green here, a steep back-to-front raised target with three distinct levels.
On the back nine the golf is pretty average, save for the famous par three 13th which from the back tee is played across a murky pond. This hole was once rated among the world's best 500.
The problem with Penina is there is very little original or high quality, and the good bits are diminished because of how tired and run down the layout has become. The greens and bunkers have become ragged over time, and the upkeep required to maintain the water areas is lacking. Mostly the water in use here is a series of creeks, which in front of the 5th, 12th and 13th have been expanded into ponds. Viewed in isolation these hazards seem well utilized, especially the diagonal creek on the 5th, but the concepts here are a little overdone and Penina is a fairly one-dimensional test of golf.