This is a short course with nine holes, all of them par 3, designed by David Thomas. His most famous project is the Brabazon Course at The Belfry, near Birmingham, England.
Many golfers will be surprised that a course just 970 meters long could be so complete and challenging – a real test for champions. In order to play this course to par (27), you will be faced with a series of obstacles from the first hole right through to the final one. The distance and the difficulties posed by these par 3 holes vary, but number 11 is the longest at 161 meters. The shortest is hole number 3, covering just 70 meters.
In addition, Vale de Milho, situated near Carvoeiro, is visually a very attractive course, with waterfalls and wonderful views over the sea. So, if you want to enjoy yourself, practice your short iron shots and at the same time take in the beautiful and relaxing landscape, Vale de Milho will not disappoint you.
The course is the result of a conversion from Ronald Fream’s original, double nine layout. The four opening holes remain much the same as before, with the latest new nine holes played from hole five to thirteen, with the last five holes as the original layout.
The diversity of playing length to test golfers of every calibre.A memorable hole is the long demanding 2nd . It is a par-5 where a lengthy straight drive along the extreme right hand side of the fairway will stay clear of two majestic pine trees and set up the ideal line towards the green. It is normally advisable to lay up the second shot in front of the myriad of bunkers which defend the front of the green. The 15th is an attractive long par-3 hole from elevated tees, played over a water hazard to the green down in a valley.
The distance is deceptive, making club selection important. Next we have the tough par-4 16th where one requires length and accuracy to reach the green, tightly guarded by bunkers. This followed by a genuine thinking golfer’s hole, the short par-4 17th.
Accuracy is important, the fairway being extremely narrow, with a lake to the left and difficult rough to the right. The 17th green is out to the left, cut into a terrace just over the bank of the deep lake, but it is usually reachable with a short iron second shot.
Situated near Carvoeiro in an old olive grove, Vale da Pinta is a championship course that is, nonetheless, adaptable to any kind of game. Designed by the North American Ronald Fream, currently one of the most respected architects and whose style involves the preservation of nature in his projects, Vale da Pinta is the twin of Quinta do Gramacho, but with a full eighteen-hole course.
The course runs through an old olive grove, where some of the trees are more than 700 years old. True to North American golfing concepts, Fream has created wide, deep greens protected by a total of 59 similarly sized bunkers. The challenges posed by the course are adaptable to differing levels of skill. This is achieved by the presence of five sets of tees for each of its holes. So those players with handicaps ranging from scratch to 12 can play off the black marks placed further back. White marks are for those handicapped between 13 and 20. For ladies there are red marks (from scratch to 28 handicap), and blue marks for lady beginners.