A work conference in Cascais afforded me the opportunity to fly out a day earlier and play a course I had been recommended by friends, Oitavos Dunes.
It’s always a great feeling to wake up on an icy January morning and a few hours later be standing in the sun in my t-shirt.
My first impressions of Oitavos were not great! For a course boasting it’s ranking stature, the check in was lacklustre, the bar wasn’t open for us to have lunch beforehand (it was 1pm) and we weren’t able to buy water pre-round. We were told a food and drinks cart would be out on the course, it wasn’t. So service was poor to say the least.
The course sits on one of the most westerly parts of Europe, right on the Atlantic Ocean. When the wind gets up here it’s strong. That made for tough and challenging conditions on some of the more exposed holes, of which there are many. To score well here you need to be a good wind player. The fairways are generous, but greens are often small and contoured, so accuracy is key.
The course starts off like most typical Portuguese courses, playing the first 4 holes through Umbrella pines. They are lovely holes and very well laid out. Then the course opens up. For me, holes 5-7 were back and forth and very open, if not slightly boring. But the course from 8 onwards becomes very interesting. 8 is an excellent Par 5, very undulating and played into a Dunes valley at the end. 9 is arguably the best view on the course from an elevated tee position and 14 and 15 are great Par 3s, which 14 being the signature hole playing over a storm ravine.
The back 9 is definitely better than the front and it is a very fun course to play, with 17 and 18 being great finishing holes back through the pines. The other aspect of the course I like a lot is that it isn’t too manicured with rocks shaping a lot of the holes. It made the course feel earthy.
I would like to see the service and amenities match that of the course for this to be ranked any higher. This isn’t the best course I’ve played in Portugal, but it is one you should definitely visit if in the area.
For all photos of reviews, please follow Chris’ Instagram page: https://www.instagram.com/top.100.golf/
Date: February 27, 2020