Oitavos Dunes - Lisbon & Centre - Portugal

Oitavos Dunes,
Quinta da Marinha,
Casa da Quinta,
25 Quinta da Marinha,
2750-715 Cascais,
Portugal


  • +351 (0) 214 860600

  • Stephen Roughley

  • Arthur Hills

  • Luís Cameira


Visit Golfbreaks.com for a golf holiday at Oitavos Dunes

Travelling west along the northern banks of the Tagus River from Lisbon and passing through the pleasant and lively seaside towns of Estoril and Cascais will soon bring us to the resort of Quinta da Marinha. Located in the Sintra-Cascais National Park, sensitive development of the area has been underway now for a number of years and has already included a fine hotel and golf course.

Oitavos Dunes is a most recent addition in golfing terms to the area and was inaugurated in September 2001. The location of Oitavos Dunes is on land at the most westerly tip of Europe and the course mixes wondrous views of the Atlantic Ocean with the stunning backdrop of the Sintra Mountains. Designed by the renowned Arthur Hills, Oitavos Dunes is one of only two European courses that bear his name. Most of Hills’s courses are in the USA and as a consequence there was always the danger that he may have built a stereotypical US ‘target golf’ course. Thankfully, Oitavos Dunes has none of that feel and is a wonderful test that perfectly utilises the rich tapestries of this area of Portugal to create eighteen challenging but playable holes.

Oitavos Dunes is a par 71 course that measures just over 6,300 metres from the competition tees. The course is a lovely mix of woodland and links-type holes that have been expertly laid to make the most of the existing landscape. All the holes flow well and have testing hazards and excellent greens that are always firm and fast and full of slopes and borrows.

The first four holes will demonstrate to the golfer the quality to come without actually being too testing. Having said that they are all tree-lined, have careful bunkering and small, tricky greens that will require controlled tee shots and accurate approaches. The next twelve holes play with more of a links feel to them with lovely sandy ground, dunes and fewer trees with which to contend. For the final two holes it’s back into the trees and a tough finish to a great course.

The pick of the holes on the front nine are the 5th, 7th and 8th. The 5th is a par four measuring 434 metres and plays slightly uphill to a partly hidden green. The 7th and 8th are back to back long par fives, the second being the hardest hole on the course. Both require three long, controlled shots avoiding the trees, dunes and bunkers to achieve par.

On the back nine the pick of the holes are the 14th, 17th and 18th but none of the others can be said to let the course down. The 14th is probably the signature hole, and is a wonderful par three that can play much longer than its 153 metres suggests. The tee shot is played across a storm ravine that then runs all along the right hand side of the hole. The final two holes are wonderful tough tests to finish the round, as they are both par fours in excess of 430 metres. The 17th is slightly easier and has a downhill approach but the green is tricky and the bunker front left must be avoided. The 18th is a classic finishing hole, it is long, dogleg left with a narrow fairway and trees and dunes bordering the rough on both sides.

Host to four Portuguese Opens, the old fashioned “out-and-back” routed Oitavos was the first golf course in Europe to receive Audubon Gold Certification.

Head to Quinta da Marinha for your next golf break, enjoy the cooler temperatures, wonderful scenery and Oitavos Dunes.

If the above article is inaccurate, please let us know by clicking here

Reviews for Oitavos Dunes

Av. Reviewers Score:
Description: The golf course at Oitavos Dunes is a lovely mix of woodland and links-type holes that have been expertly laid to make the most of the existing landscape. Rating: 4.76 out of 6

The central area of Portugal is a very strong region for quality courses and Oitavos Dunes is one of them and a must play. Plenty of excitement, plenty of drama and a course that is so much fun to play.

It will take around a 40 minute to drive to the west of Lisbon to reach the course and what awaits is golf with the two biggest qualities Oitavos Dunes Golf Course - Photo by reviewer for me, namely great holes and a fun experience that you would have no problem in repeating several times.

A recent trip to the region included playing here are also to the south at Troia - what a trip, loved both courses with Oitavos just nicking it for me.

The opening four holes here have a tree lined feel but obviously on the sandy soil that is evident on the whole course - not a links course but if links-like is a recognised term, then it fits here...

It is from the 5th tee that I started to realise that this is a big course, much more open, some shared fairways but hole after hole that are treat to play. For those luckily to have played at Streamsong, Florida Oitavos Dunes Golf Course - Photo by reviewer there is a similar feel on at least half of the Oitavos holes.

The par-5 7th is a very good hole; drive needs to be centre/left side as waste-ground eats in from the right - there is a rise to the green for the second half of the hole meaning that reaching in two is doubtful. The very next hole is another par-5 and may split opinion but it is very exciting to play. The second shot is the big one and likely to be blind - a blind shot is difficult to commit to, so I would suggest a walk to check your line/landing spot first. Once in position, the approach is not too difficult to a bunker-less green.

The furthest point north on the course is at the 165 yard par-3 9th - a good looking downhill hole with stunning views to the left out across the ocean.

The 11th is fun and a style of hole rarely seen - a short par-4 from an elevated tee to a raised green and another without sand hazards, other than the natural ones. The hole plays along a small fence that separates the course from the land just before the beach - the fence Oitavos Dunes Golf Course - Photo by reviewer seems to move in pushing tee shots further left than ideal, if this happens expect a short approach but one than needs extra height to the green upon high.

Back to back par-3’s at 14 and 15 are very different. The 14th is not unlike the 5th at the wonderful West Cliffs a little further up the Silver Coast - all carry across a valley with not a lot of margin for error. The 15th is a little shorter and a delightful hole with a short-iron target feel with the green surrounded by trees.

The last three holes are strong and carry some distance; 540 yards for the 16th and then two par-4s both around 450 yards each, a really tough climax to a super course.

Oitavos Dunes exceeded expectations and is an absolute pleasure to play. Defiantly one of the top courses of Portugal and also as a highly rated European course too but not quite the world ranking that one publication awards the course.

December 07, 2017


See other reviews from this reviewer
Was this review helpful? Yes / No
1 person found this review helpful
Respond to above review

Links golf in Portugal? Could there really be such a thing? Well... Oitavos Dunes is not exactly like the real thing, but it's pretty close! Enjoyment at its finest. This beautiful course has many features of Links golf. You can see the ocean from many points on the course and its proximity to the Atlantic makes wind an important factor. The dunes are there, though they are not massive. The course plays fast and firm, where bump and runs, punch shots and roll-ups will be your friends. Conditioning is very good and the minimalist design philosophy really brings out the natural features of the land. There are no massive elevation changes, but the terrain has subtle mounds and features, making play all the more interesting.

It is not pure links, as many holes are lined by trees, but it sure is a lot of fun! The par 3s are excellent. The back nice is better, in my opinion, than the front nine. The 18th is a great finishing hole!

This course is best enjoyed by walking and makes for a great day! The clubhouse is great with good food and nice views of the area. The practice facility would benefit from an update, but it is not bad.

Oitavos Dunes is as enjoyable as golf can get! Just hope you catch it on a calm day...

November 05, 2016


See other reviews from this reviewer
Was this review helpful? Yes / No
0 people found this review helpful
Respond to above review

In terms of pure scenery, not many courses are as gorgeous as this one.

It’s fairly rare, but after 18 holes, I had so many intense pictures in my mind, that I had a hard time talking about the other elements of the course (strategy, architecture and shot making). I hope to be able to come back to play it for a couple days straight, in order to make a more educated opinion of the course.

The layout is somewhat unusual with a couple of par 5s in succession and later two par 3s. But that is forgiven as these holes are both gorgeous and great golf holes. The 14th is definitely one of the best par 3s you’ll ever see/play.

This is a 30-minute drive from Lisbon, roughly, and no golfer should leave the area without having played it. It hosted the Portuguese Open 4 times from 2005 to 2009.

The course is in a sublime natural reserve (forest & dunes), with very limited housing, though there are some million $ houses on the courses. The hotel seems incredible, and the beaches are great for surfing, windsurfing and kitesurfing… read “windy”.

Golfer info : enjoy the course by walking … it would be a shame to drive a cart !

Another thing, the staff are real pros. Congrats to the director and and his team!

In term of maintenance, Oitavos Dunes was the only course I played in the area, this week, that was not over-watered (I played in August). The fairways were nice and crispy, as they should be for a links course … these guys know what a great course is to be like.

October 11, 2016


See other reviews from this reviewer
Was this review helpful? Yes / No
0 people found this review helpful
Respond to above review
Another really enjoyable round at Oitavos. I love this course. First few holes are a bit tight, but eventually you get out onto the "Dunes" and then you can open your shoulders. Its a course you really need to play twice as the first time you can get into big trouble. Only criticism would be the condition of the bunkers, which are rarely raked, it appears. Also clubhouse bar was closed on a Monday, so we were buggied to the hotel for post golf drinks.
September 15, 2015


See other reviews from this reviewer
Was this review helpful? Yes / No
1 person found this review helpful
Respond to above review
It is insulting to a lot of other courses in Portugal to put Oitavos in front of them. It is a joke to put Oitavos among the 100 best courses in the world.This course is just an average course with not more than 6 good holes. They tell you it is linkslike, and it is nothing like links. After playing several rounds in April, I rate it as average and not a course you should have played. I am a low handicaper, playing 120 rounds a year all over the world and I have played about 500 courses. Among them several other in the world top 100 list courses. It is an insult to these courses to bring Oitavos among them. The fairways are not good, a lot of divots not filled in. Some are hard as cement. The tee boxes are worned down, the bunkers have bad sand are not raked every day, but the greens are good.
April 24, 2015


See other reviews from this reviewer
Was this review helpful? Yes / No
4 people found this review helpful and 5 did not
Respond to above review
Returned with a mixed group of golfers - all abilities - for a week of golf with our pro in March 2014. We had everything from a 3-4 club wind from the north to almost calm conditions and the scores varied accordingly. The wind or the absence of it really dictates how difficult this course is.The opinion about the course was unanimously positive, but three holes divided opinions among us:1) The short par 4 11th, easily reachable with the wind behind, but also dangerous for people on the 12th tee and the 13th fairway. I think it is a great risk-reward hole, others thought it was Mickey Mouse golf.2) The par 3 14th, anything from a flick with a short iron to a punched long-iron or hybrid into the wind. Some of the ladies just could not reach across the gully from the red tee with a strong wind against. Maybe reposition the red tee? Otherwise a beautiful hole.3) The par 4 18th. The second shot into the green is very difficult as it is not really possible to roll the ball in and you either have a high iron shot (to clear the trees) with the wind behind or a long iron/hybrid with the wind against into a raised green. I guess you just have to bounce it on the very top part of the steep upward slope to make it stop. Maybe mow down that slope and firm it up to make a rolling shot possible?
April 01, 2014


See other reviews from this reviewer
Was this review helpful? Yes / No
0 people found this review helpful and 1 did not
Respond to above review
Played the course last weekend, and it was supposed to be the highlight of our trip........it was far from it, and actually last of the five courses arround lisobon we played. 40 minute delay on the first tee box, 6hr 30min round of golf, 4 groups on the par three 12th at the same time, some of the fairways in a bad way with sandy lies everywhere, greens were very inconsistent with some of them bare and patchy, some really bad golf holes too. all in all a terrible experience........for 130 EURO!!!!!!!! how this place ever became so high on the world ranking is beyond me. Penha Longa, Royal Obidos, and Troia are far superior tracks and a much more enjoyable test of golf.
October 28, 2013


See other reviews from this reviewer
Was this review helpful? Yes / No
2 people found this review helpful
Respond to above review
I am a 6 handicap golfer. I have played Oitavos 4 times and every time I play it, it goes higher in my list of courses I have played. It is in my top 10 ever played along with Muirfield, Royal County Down, Pebble Beach, Chambers Bay, Sawgrass, Turnberry, Old Head, Bandon Dunes. I am being serious, Oitavos is just a brilliant design with great aesthetics. Comfortably the best course in Europe
June 26, 2013


See other reviews from this reviewer
Was this review helpful? Yes / No
0 people found this review helpful and 1 did not
Respond to above review
Response
Hugh
June 27, 2013
You can only say that it's comfortably the best course in Continental Europe if you've played at least the Top 100 of Europe, which I doubt. There are at least three courses in France better than Oitavos IMO and at least one in Portugal. Oitavos is a good course but it left me disappointed.
David Oliver
August 21, 2016

Hugh, not sue you have fully grasped the concept of opinion based websites. Every review provided is within the context and constraint of having played the course itself. Its all subjective, so the comment "the best golf course in continental europe" means, obviously, "the best course in continental europe ive played" Also, which top 100 list are you referring to ? See, its all opinion, there is no definitive list. So embrace the different opinions.

Played Oitavos Dunes on 29th May. It has a great clubhouse and you get a sense that you are heading out to experience something special. In all honesty, it is a very good golf course but the in your face displaying of the top 100 in the world ranking inevitably leads to a sense of disappointment as it is nowhere near this standard of course but it is a very, very good track.It was very windy when I played which gave the course some real teeth and i did really enjoy the challenge. The greens are the best that i have played on in years. Very fast and true. I love touch putting. There are some really good holes namely the 1st, the brute of an index 1 into the wind 5th, super back to back par 5 7th and 8th, par 3 9th, par 4 10th. 2 fantastic par 3's back to back at 14 and 15. The 14th is particularly scary. It was into a fierce wind, 122m to the pin with a valley of death ravine between tee and green. The finish is very strong with 2 solid par 4's 17 and 18. I saw some reviewers criticise 18 but i thought it a cracking hole. 433m downhill dogleg to the left which favours a draw as the fairway is slanted right to left. Long 2nd into an elevated green with a tree that needs to be cleared or avoided. All in all a very good course but they should dial down the histrionics about the top 100 rating. Golf in Portugal is overpriced but at €90, I felt that Oitavos Dunes just about offered value for money. However, the food prices have to be seen to be believed.
May 31, 2013


See other reviews from this reviewer
Was this review helpful? Yes / No
0 people found this review helpful
Respond to above review
Played here for the first time in March 2013 and it was in great condition, especially coming from Penha Longa which was wet as a rice-field! For me, the relevant comparison, however, is not Penha Longa or other parkland courses but other Southern European courses by the sea - you may call them links or not. Anyway, I believe this one is streets ahead in both layout and condition compared to Praia D'El Rey and Sperone, the two such ones I have played. Oitavos also allows links-style play, although you might get stuck in thick bermuda grass having to play a flop shot close to the green, which prevents this from getting the highest mark. One thing I must mention is the greens: They are true and fast, but Oitavos uses bent grass and grain is a real factor. The ex-tour pro with whom I played my round said he had not seen such grain outside the tropics before, so take this into consideration if you want to make many putts at Oitavos.
March 17, 2013


See other reviews from this reviewer
Was this review helpful? Yes / No
0 people found this review helpful
Respond to above review