Gramacho Golf Course
Name of course
Type of course
Number of holes
5532m (from whites)
Ronald Fream and Nick Price
Type of golf club
Non members are able to play Gramacho for a fee. There is a handicap limit of 27 for men and 35 for ladies, although I wasn't asked for my handicap certificate when I played.
I would highly recommend pre-booking if you intend to play in the morning, since a lot of the local residents appear to prefer this time of day. During peak times you are likely to be made into a four ball by the starter. You must report to the starter at least 5 minutes before your tee time.
Normal golfing attire.
A golf academy at the adjacent vale da Pinta course, buggies and golf clubs available to hire. On site there is a putting green but no range.
Why do you love it?
What isn't there to like about this course? Although not very long, it is very cleverly designed, weaving in and out the hillside with numerous doglegs. Many of my favourite golf holes in the Algarve can be found on the Gramacho course.
What could be improved?
Very little. The course has 28 different greens which enables them to rotate, and offer a different golfing experience to the player every time they play. While this is fine however, it does make the indicated yardages to the greens from the fairways somewhat confusing.
Hard to pick just one, but probably the 11th. This scenic par four (374 metres) hole with a dogleg left over water requires an accurate drive and a difficult approach to one of the trickiest greens on the course.
The 10th is a downhill par 3 with water left and behind the green. A beautiful view from the tee is soon forgotten as you struggle to convince yourself you have the right club!
Level of challenge
This is a moderately difficult challenge for all levels of ability. It could be argued that hitting the ball a long way can be a disadvantage as you try and negotiate the cunning doglegs.
Who plays there?
Pestana have built and sold many properties around the two golf courses (Gramacho and Vale da Pinta) they have there. So a lot of "locals" play in the morning. The course has also hosted the Portuguese Ladies Open in the past.
When to go
The course is busier in the traditional Portugal high season (February to April and September to November) and the prices do change over the year. The locals tend to flood to the course in the morning, but you can enjoy a somewhat deserted round of golf in the afternoon.
There is a restaurant next door to the clubhouse with impressive views of the course, which caters for everything you'd want to drink and eat. They regularly have barbeques in the evening and offer Sunday roast deals.
There is a restaurant, swimming pool and bowls pitch all within 100 metres of the clubhouse.
You are at a significant advantage if you have played the course before. It is easy to be regularly deceived by many of the holes the first time you play.
Pestana Golf & Resorts
Membership is now available for Pestana courses for the first time, without the need to be a property owner.
Green fees are between €60 and €90 depending on the season.
The course is open 7 days a week and tends to only shut for bad weather and maintenance.