Jamie O’Doherty talks with Christophe Rindlisbacher – Golf Director, Pinheiros Altos

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What have you managed to do to keep the course in good condition?
We have maintained all the staff during the lock-down and continued with the normal operations on the course. We have cleaned many Pine trees around the Clubhouse which were dangerous, so we took the opportunity while it was safest to do it without anyone around.

When do you think the main golf season will return to the Algarve?
Hopefully, some business in October 2020 but my belief is that it will not get back to a normal flow until March 2021 and even that will depend on a possible second wave of the virus.

Has PA/JJW offered any incentives to attract golfers back to the area?
We are offering special rates to members of other Golf Clubs in the area as, at the moment it is the only business around. We may be doing other special offers when the borders open for tourism.

Has the empty course helped the condition of it?
It is amazing how 7 weeks of closure improves the course and, in our case, especially the fairways and greens there isn’t a single pitch-mark. The fact that there is no traffic on the course, especially buggies, shows just how the course should look. The Green-Keeper loves it but it will not last long as all members are desperate to get back on the course. However, it has surely shown the necessity to give the course a rest.

What safety measures has PA/JJW got in place to welcome back golfers after the lockdown is over?
We are only running 18 holes in a one tee start to avoid having too many people at the same time, we also have a 10-minute intervals and not allowing more than 1 group at the same time on the tee.

Can’t you tell our readers something about yourself that they may not already know?
Not much that everyone does not know already, I have been in Pinheiros Altos for 25 years. I was born in Switzerland and moved to Portugal when I was 14 years old. I was always connected to Golf as my dad was a Caddy Master in Lausanne for over 30 years where my brother is now the Director of Golf. I’ve always been working in the Golf industry and to be honest and I do not know how to do anything else.

How did you and your family deal with Lockdown?
Six of us at home, my sons 22 & 14 years old, daughters 13 & 11 and my wife Vania. We kept pretty busy and never felt lonely. My eldest son never stopped working in IKEA while the other 3 did their studies online. To be honest we had some really nice days as a family altogether at home. Time seemed to fly as we all kept working even if it was only online most of the time. However, I think my wife Vania is happy to see me out of the house back at work now!

What equipment/brands are in your Golf bag?
Taylor Made (old irons) Ping Driver (even older) Scotty Cameron putter won as a result of a bet to Vitor Pinto when he was Titleist rep!

What’s your greatest golfing achievement?
Surely not on the Golf course! However, off the golf course, it must be organizing the last Algarvian Charity Pro Am with 248 players!

Have you got any tips for golfers visiting the Algarve? Eg beaches, activities, restaurants etc
The tip is to stay in the golden triangle, lovely restaurant down in Quinta do Lago, nice beach with GIGIs restaurant, play the top courses in the area. QDL, San Lorenzo, Pinheiros Altos & Vale do Lobo. Great atmosphere as well in the Cheeky Pup or have a nice lunch after golf on Pinheiros Altos Clubhouse’s lovely terrace. cannot wait to see all those places busy again!

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