Pinheiros Altos opened in 1992 and it’s a course in two parts. The front nine called “Pines” is routed across an umbrella pine clad sandy hillside and the back nine – called “Olives” – in complete contrast, is routed across comparatively open flatter parkland bordering the Ria Formosa nature reserve, where vast expanses of water wait to catch the wayward shot.
Designed by Californian architect Ronald Fream, Pinheiros Altos underwent a back-nine makeover by Peter McEvoy and Howard Swan shortly after opening.
“Visitors will remember the par three 17th, with its island green, set invitingly within a lake, a mere 136 yards away.” Wrote Michael Gedye in his Golfer’s Guide Portugal. “With sloping edges and one deep, magnetic sand trap, it requires good club selection in any breeze and a positive shot.”
Pinheiros Altos opened an additional 9-hole loop in 2007, named “Corks”, designed by Portuguese architect George Santana da Silva.
Played today and yesterday, lovely sunny days and surprisingly empty, 3.5 hour round despite some typical green to tee trips. Our feeling was that Pines and Cork are the best nines, Olive was a bit boring including a dull 600 yard par five that made one question golf as a pleasurable pursuit. Nice terrace for post round analysis and refreshments. Definitely worth playing but lacking the wow factor of some local peers.
This course should be a lot higher in the rankings. Played as second course of a three course trip. Club house was great. Practise facilities were excellent. Played pines and olives. Greens very firm but true. But also very large. Round was quite long which wasn't ideal. But as a group we decided this was the best overall course we played on this trip. It's not as good as San Lorenzo or the old course. But would certainly recommend this course. Star holes are the 7th and 8th. Short par 4 with green over water then short 8th island par 3. Par 3 18th is also a great hole. I would rank this course alongside VdL courses. Highly recommend