Portugal’s Blue Coast to see another opening in 2024

  • Pinheirinho
    Ricardo Oliveria Alves

    The island-green seventeenth on the Jorge Santana da Silva-designed course at Herdade do Pinheirinho in Portugal, which will officially open in 2024

  • Pinheirinho

    Santana da Silva also hopes to restore nine additional holes alongside the eighteen-hole course

  • Pinheirinho

    The closing hole plays over water to a wide but shallow green

  • Pinheirinho

    The par-three fifteenth can play to almost 250 yards

  • Pinheirinho

    Large bunkers are a feature on the approach to the par-four thirteenth

Richard Humphreys
By Richard Humphreys

A golf course completed in 2012 by Jorge Santana da Silva will finally open at the Herdade do Pinheirinho development on Portugal’s Costa Azul (Blue Coast) in 2024.

The layout is located between two other new courses in the area, David McLay Kidd’s Terras da Comporta and Fazio Design’s CostaTerra, which is set to become Discovery Land Company’s first opening in Europe.

The golf at Herdade do Pinheirinho was ready to open in 2012, with 18 holes having already hosted some private play and another nine in an advanced state of grow-in. But, similarly to Kidd’s layout at Comporta, the financial crisis and eventual collapse of Banco Espírito Santo in 2014 placed the project on long-term hold.

Herdade do Pinheirinho was left in the hands of Novo Banco, the bank created by the Portuguese government to rescue assets and liabilities of Banco Espírito Santo. In 2020, real estate developer VIC Properties acquired the project and announced plans to invest around €500 million to develop a resort and real estate. In 2021, the new owners hired original designer Santana da Silva to restore the layout.

The golf course is set on a 90-hectare parcel in a protected area a few hundred yards from the coast.

“The soil all over the site is sandy,” said Santana da Silva. “This allowed us to design large bunkers and waste areas without excessive costs. They are integrated into the strategy and beauty of the course, as well as with the natural landscape.

“We preserved as much natural vegetation as we could, and even in areas where we had to shape, we capped it with existing topsoil full of native seeds.”

Several lakes were built, four of which come into play on the 18 holes that will open in 2024.

When Santana da Silva returned in 2022, he was met with a more mature and natural course. Its tees, for example, had become surrounded by dune vegetation.

“The course, in general, is the same as I initially designed it,” he said. Nevertheless, some minor changes were required. A new forward tee was added on the par-five fourth. And, he explained: “At the eleventh, one of the most charismatic holes on the course, we lost two big pine trees inside the green complex and we added a new bunker to complement the strategy and aesthetics.

“The hole is one of the most strategic I have ever designed. Long and courageous players will have to carefully measure their drive to make sure their ball stops before, but close to, the lake. If the ball is well placed, it will be a long iron to a very large and severely undulating green, which will have multiple pin positions that dictate the shot required. Other players can go around the lake from left to right, while some trees by the lake will create some difficult angles of approach. It is a true risk-reward hole!”

Santana da Silva also highlighted the expansive and undulating greens, the short par-four tenth, with its two fairways and a narrow green, the island-green seventeenth and the eighteenth, which requires an approach over water.

Once the completed 18 holes are open, Santana da Silva hopes to restore the remaining nine.