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.
Date: March 29, 2020