The second course we played on a trip to Portugal last week was Oitavos Dunes. Having seen the European Tour stop here for the Portuguese Open, I was really looking forward to playing the course. It was a beautiful day and we arrived at the course early so could spend a bit of time at the ultra modern, glass and steel clubhouse. It was fantastic with everything you could need and a great balcony that gave you lovely views of the coast. Things unravelled a little as we paid for our buggies in the pro shop as I was shocked at the cost - €70 for a buggy for 18 holes! Ouch! Twice the price of the other courses we played and a bit steep. I was also slightly taken aback at having to fork out €21 for a sleeve of 3 ProV1’s too.Anyway, off to the first tee and we set off to play the course. 5 hours later and I walked off with a real sense of disappointment. The first and 18th are good and the 14th is a decent par 3 but the rest were pretty forgettable. The condition was lovely though and it is in a nice spot but in general terms, my opinion is that Oitavos is massively overrated. Not only that but the staff are constantly banging on about how great it is. I was told by 3 people that the course was ranked 88 in the world and the best in Portugal and so on. This is frankly ridiculous. We played three courses in the week and the other two were better than this one.In summary, this is a reasonable track in a nice part of the world but it is hugely overrated, overpriced and has an overblown opinion of itself. The saving grace was the cold beer, great clubhouse, excellent club sandwich and the superb level of service from Vanda – our waitress in the bar. Worth going if you don’t mind spending plenty of cash for a day’s golf that you will enjoy but is not the best value for money.
Date: April 14, 2011