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


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

Write a review

Reviews for Oitavos Dunes

Average 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: 7 out of 10 Reviews: 43
TaylorMade
Nicolas

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
10 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
1 person found this review helpful

Tim Harding
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 14, 2015
10 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
2 people found this review helpful

Peter Bjerkeseth
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 23, 2015
4 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
4 people found this review helpful

Gustav
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?
March 31, 2014
8 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful

Philip Hutchinson
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
2 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
2 people found this review helpful

David Oliver
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 25, 2013
10 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful

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.

Garreth Woods
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 30, 2013
8 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful

Gustav
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
8 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful

HB
Oitavos Dunes is by far the best course I have played in Portugal. I have never played Monte Rei but did play many others in various regions of the country. The lay out is really good and the views are magnificent. Challenging but always fair and not too difficult for a mid handicapper like myself (hcp 14). When we played the course in November it was in perfect condition. And the drainage must be excellent given the fact that we have had a lot of rain during the night without any influence on the playing conditions. The holes that stand out are 5, 8, 10 and 14. Aren't there any weak points? Yes there are. The difference between the two levels of the green of hole 11 is just too much and the weakest point in our opinion is hole 18. This hole is a mistake from Arthur Hills, the course designer. If you go and play in the Lisbon area, Oitavos Dunes should not be missed!
November 24, 2012
8 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful

Response
Cedric
November 24, 2012
18th a weak hole? Not in my opinion, it's actually a great and tough finishing hole. Why do you think 18 is weak? 
Maarten
I played Oitavos the 13th of August, returning after 3 years and had a blast from begin to end. The opening hole is very good, giving you many options with the approach to a bowl green. The fourth hole surely is a cracker of a par 4 from the tips having about 10 bunkers. From the 7th hole on you're starting to get the 'links feeling', especially on the back nine where you're closest to the see and the fairways widen and the amount of trees get scarcer. The par 3 9th and the 14th are among the best and most beautiful par 3's in the world. Although I really enjoyed myself this time, the problem with this course seems to be that people have too high expectations of it; and that is due to Golf Magazine ranking it way too high at no.68 in the world. In and outside the clubhouse the first things you see are all sorts of billboards that state: No 68th in the world, which sets the expectations even higher. But can you blame the staff for being proud of their course? Ofcourse not. The green fee is steep and the ranking high and when people don't quite get what they expected they are disappointed and can't see what a gem Oitavos in fact is; in terms of sheer design quality, conditions and the beautiful surroundings. Oitavos is a very tough test, a great golfcourse and a guarantee for a very well spent day of golf. 19th in Europe is a well deserved ranking for this course (may even be a bit harsh) and if you bear that in mind you will have a great experience playing here,because without doubt this is a very special course. MO
August 17, 2012
8 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful