AN ISLAND OF YEAR ROUND GOLF
-By Dermot Synnott
Gran Canaria is a fantastic family destination with almost 230 kilometers of coastline, 128 beaches and a UNESCO protected Biosphere Reserve. It is often described as being a miniature continent with its own mini microclimate and a variety of landscapes, breathtaking beaches, dunes of white sand, green valleys and picturesque Spanish villages.
You will find things to do that will make every day special on your holiday – be it a family vacation, golf getaway or eco escape. Sail out to watch whales, walk in the Canary pine forests, have fun at a water park, wander its shopping streets, go golfing, visit museums, or... just relax one of the islands beautiful beaches. An Island with over 60km of beaches, warm waters, gentle breezes and spring-like temperatures that make it ideal for nautical enthusiasts throughout the year.
Gran Canaria is the ideal setting for golfers with fine weather throughout the year and seven superb golf courses, each with their own characteristics and all within a 50 km radius of one another!
Playing golf in Gran Canaria is a tradition that goes back to 1891, the year in which the Real Club de Golf de Las Palmas was founded, the first Golf Club in Spain. Since that time, Gran Canaria has been well known as the ideal place to play golf, every single day of the year. Six generations on, Gran Canaria remains a firm choice as a golf destination for thousands of Europeans.
Gran Canaria’s golf experience is not only just tradition, a modern infrastructure has been developed around the sport over the last couple of years with it being host to a myriad of tournaments in the last decade, and its relevance as golf destination grows by the day. Gran Canaria boasts eight magnificent golf courses that are spread evenly out around its territory. These courses were designed by professionals and experts do not hesitate in affirming that they are some of the best in Spain. Here, you will find golf courses that are a veritable oasis of tranquility, where you can enjoy the calm and peacefulness that you need to improve your game, or simply just to play your favourite sport.
Salobre Golf (South/Old): Just a few minutes from Maspalomas, is an area of outstanding natural beauty characteristic of the island of Gran Canaria, with ravines, volcanic rock and spectacular mountain and ocean views. Manicured green gardens contrast with the rugged desert landscape, creating a tranquil oasis in which to enjoy a round of golf. The Old Course was inaugurated in 1999 and is one of the oldest commercial courses on the island. It was designed by Roland Favré in close collaboration with Robert Trent Jones, has 18 holes and is a PAR 71 course. The course design has been sympathetic to the local surrounds and blends in with the topography of the area and local vegetation flawlessly, where some 600 different native species of plants and trees have been planted. It has been the venue for very important championships such as the 2006 Spanish PGA and the Senior and Women’s Championships in Spain in 2001. The course, has a wide variety of holes and is very enjoyable for all levels of golfer.
Salobre Golf (North/new course): The New Course (North Course), was constructed in 2008 and was designed by Ron Kirby. This 18-hole course with PAR 70, has a style which also reflects the influence of North American courses. Winding through the hills and valleys of the resort, this course offers an authentic challenge to players who enjoy top quality golf whilst admiring impressive views and scenery. The resort is not only unique that is houses two eighteen hole courses, it also houses a five star Sheraton Hotel.!
Sheraton Gran Canaria Salobre Golf Resort: We stayed at the fantastic Sheraton Gran Canaria Salobre Golf Resort, which is an outstanding five-star resort where you can enjoy a true, authentic and incomparable holiday experience. Set in the countryside in the south of Gran Canaria, the hotel is set amidst two 18-hole golf courses, with views of the mountains and the sea. The hotel has several swimming pools on different levels which seem to float over the landscape, 313 rooms of timeless design with chaise-longues on the balconies, and bars and restaurants offering a varied range of tasty cuisine. The fitness centre provides views over the dunes of Maspalomas, and the welcoming Aloe Spa with its spectacular open-air pool guarantees a complete wellness experience using local natural products for treatments, including aloe plants grown on the island. The hotel has created 7 magical points around the resort, which make it fun to uncover and explore throughout your stay.
Salobre Golf Resort offers plenty for family holidays too, starting from choice in accommodations; connected bedrooms in the hotel or the resort Villas that offers single beds for the kids. The little ones of the family will be entertained in the Panchurro Kids Club, while the teenagers can spend a good time playing table tennis or receiving specialized golf classes.
There are several dining options available in the 19th hole, the brasserie, the Italian inspired restaurant, Camaleon Trattoria or the Buffet dining where you get the best of regional and international cuisine. Each morning breakfast or evening meal, you can enjoy an extensive selection of top buffet food, dining al fresco with panoramic views over the golf course towards the mountain range.
Anfi Tauro Golf: Anfi Tauro Golf is famously known for being designed by Von Hagge, Smelek and Baril who have created over 400 courses across five continents. Their world renowned work is apparent in Anfi Tauro Golf as the golfer can enjoy incredible views of the Ocean and the spectacular mountains of Valle de Tauro, creating an unforgettable round of golf. The 18-hole Arizona style course is located in an area of lush green vegetation, with lakes and waterfalls, set against a dramatic volcanic mountain backdrop. This extraordinary setting makes the Anfi Tauro golf experience unique. Feature holes at Anfi Tauro is the 8th hole, surrounded by a bed of red rock or any one of the amazing holes from the 14th to the 17th, which provide sensational view of the Tauro Valley. Real Club de Golf de Las Palmas: There are two separate courses in and around Las Palmas city, the most famous of which is Spain’s oldest golf club, the Real Club de Golf de Las Palmas, founded in 1891 which is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year. The eighteen hole par 71 course, designed by Mackenzie Ross in 1956, is in Bandama. Alongside it is an extinct volcanic crater 800 metres in diameter and 200 metres deep, testimony to the volcanic origins of the Canary Islands, some 14 million years ago. The course enjoys spectacular views of the top of the crater and of the sea, as well as striking ravines. It’s a relatively short course with narrow fairways, small greens and hazards throughout the course. Next to the first tee is the Villa Bandama Golf for those who wish to spend the night near the course, in which the facilities and service are first class.!
El Cortijo Club de Campo: El Cortijo Club de Campo was the venue for the 2002 Spanish Open, and for many other international championships such as the Peugeot Oki Tours, the Spanish Professional Seniors’ Championship, and the Spanish Professional Women’s Championship. This eighteen hole par 72 course, designed by Blake Stirling and Marco Martin, is one of the longest courses in Spain, with up to six tee-offs per hole, allowing for a range of difficulty and diversity. The greens are fast, the course has six lakes and has more than 600 palm trees, and has spectacular views of the sea that surround the island. It is strongly committed to a sustainable management and focus on the eco environment of the course with quality has been recognised with a TUV certificate, and the ISO14001 for environmental management. Maspalomas Golf: The majority of Gran Canaria’s golf courses are in the south of the island, which is one of the sunniest areas in the world. Here we can find the breath-taking Maspalomas Golf, surrounded by a nature park of sand dunes, a protected area of more than 400 hectares, with views of the Atlantic Ocean, palm trees and fine golden sandy beaches on the horizon. The dunes which surround the course are a feature incorporated into the design by Mackenzie Ross. Long and flat, with wide fairways, the proximity of the sea and its gentle breezes make this course a pleasant experience, thanks to the alizé winds.
Lopesan Meloneras Golf: Near to Maspalomas Golf Course is Meloneras Golf, an eighteen hole par 71 course which is celebrating its 10th anniversary and is in one of the most important resorts of Gran Canaria, next to the Maspalomas Congress Centre, and near to a number of four and five star hotels. The difficulty of the course, which begins with a gentle par 4, is gradual, so that the player can build confidence progressively to face the remaining holes. Lopesan Meloneras Golf Course boasts two fantastic sets of 9-holes – one with magnificent mountain views and the other 9-holes of amazing ocean views, three of which run directly along the coastline. The course has four tee-off points per hole which makes it interesting for amateurs as well as professionals.
Exploring Gran Canaria is easy with accessible easy to follow roads and with so much on offer, it is worth it – with towns and villages with over 500 years of history, colonial architecture, along with centuries old traditions with their uniquely Atlantic identity. The local markets are a must see-must do with so many farm to fork produce available, such as: olives, tropical fruits, oranges, sweet bananas, cheeses and a huge array of. And with so many restaurants on the island with the freshest of produce from the surrounding farms and sea, it’s hard not to find something to suit everyone’s tastes.
It is easy to see why Gran Canaria is an island that people return to year on year – easy access with daily flights from most European cities, value for money , array of accommodation for all budgets, 8 fantastic golf courses, golden beaches – this list goes on, so we made our Top Ten to help you plan your next trip.
TOP 10 SEE’S & DO’S:
- Church of San Juan Bautista de Arucas
- Las Palmas City
- Puerto de Mogan
- Barranco de Guayadeque
- Maspalomas’ famous dunes
- The Painted Cave
- Nublo Rural Park
- Teror Town Centre
- Each of the 7 golf courses