The pretty 9-hole Pine Cliffs hotel course opened in 1991 and it’s one of Portugal’s most original golfing layouts, with fairways routed through a delightful pine forest that sits on cliff tops along the Algarve coastline.
At 2,450 yards from the back tees, Pine Trees is not long – only a couple of its par four holes measure more than 350 yards – yet it presents an engaging round for the many holiday golfers who play here. One of its early members was Nigel Mansell, the 1992 F1 motor racing world champion, who was president of the golf club in its formative years.The 434-yard 5th is a tough proposition to play here when the wind is up along the edge of the cliffs and it’s followed by the feature hole on the card, the par three “Devil’s Parlour,” where the tee shot must fly all the way to a green that lies 200 yards across an intimidating jagged precipice that drops down sharply to the beach below.
Pine Cliffs is great fun. It's nine holes of casual, scenic golf in good weather (most of the time). It is famous for it's 6th hole over the cliffs, but the other holes are good too. My only problem is the price, it's ridiculous. You're better off taking your money elsewhere to a full 18 hole course
In March 2018 we played the nine hole par 32 course at Pine Cliffs as a cheeky warm-up for a few days of golf at Villamoura. This course is perfect to get you into the rhythm if you are on a golf tour in these parts.
Bish, Bosh, Boom, Bonk, was the noise on the tee of the 295-yard downhill par four 1st hole as we all took out driver and went for it. There is some bunker trouble around and a false fronted green, but really if you don't leave yourself a birdie putt here you should be at home hammering a nail into something. If the 2nd is a bit more tricky, a 160 yard downhill par three with bunkers everywhere, the 3rd is an absolute brute. Whilst it measures just 350 yards on the card, it is an uphill sharp dogleg left requiring the tee shot to be thread through a narrow avenue of trees and to somehow avoid the bunker on the right. Find the fairway here with a clear line to the green and you have done very well. The work is not done though because the approach is guarded by more bunkers and no-go vegetation zones around the green.
The par three 4th plays about 145 yards slightly uphill with bunkers again the main defence around what is quite a long green. The 435 yard 5th is indexed as harder than the 3rd on the card, but I thought the tee shot on the 3rd was more uncomfortable. Still, it does appear narrow off the tee and anything wide of the fairway runs the risk of being blocked out by trees for the approach or even finding the beach if far enough left. The green is is a very nice setting, tightly packed near the cliff edge and ocean to the left and canopies to the right with a couple of bunkers short. The par three 6th is the signature hole, almost 220 yards over the cliffs from the spectacular back tee, although it seems that this tee is rarely in play.
The 7th was my favourite hole on the course, a par four of 390 yards with the approach shot played downhill to a wide and receptive green with the umbrella pines all around. The 8th is another short downhill par four, this one requiring a strategic decision - lay up far enough back of the tree on the middle of the fairway to leave a full shot to the tricky green or take out driver and go for it, which could either be very rewarding or leave an awkward chip / bunker shot. The final hole is a par three that can play quite long if the pin is on the back tier of the large bunker surrounded green. Overall a decent little runaround that we found in reasonable condition, albeit a little rough around the edges.