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.
Date: March 17, 2013