Head West from the coast of Morocco and before you start breaching the vast blue of the Atlantic Ocean, you’ll come across a group of islands that have become universally popular holiday spots and for good reason too.
The Canary Islands boast a remarkable climate due to their southern location, so it’s no surprise that this Spanish outcrop is a favourite among golfing sun-seekers.
These sun-kissed islands are now within the scope of the major low-cost airlines, making the escape even more attractive and in Tenerife, golf holidaymakers will find the perfect combination of sun, sand and championship golf.
In fact, the majority of the best golf courses in the Canaries are found in Tenerife and with nine golf courses in all servicing visiting golfers throughout the year, golfers of all abilities are sure to find something to suit their eye.
Pick your dates and pack your bags; here are five reasons why Tenerife should be on your holiday hit-list this winter.
Firstly (and perhaps most importantly for you and I), Tenerife is home to an inordinate amount of top-class golf courses. No less than nine layouts grace the island and every one of them boasts stunning views and year-round perfect playing conditions.
Golf Costa Adeje
The original 18 holes – now known as The Old Course and perhaps most memorable for its views of the coastline and La Gomera Island – opened for play in 1998 and have since been joined by an additional 9 holes called Los Lagos. Generous fairways are common throughout both courses with more emphasis placed on accurate approach play and the short game. Elevation changes and sweeping undulations, as well as a handful of gorges and lakes provide much of the challenge and with the courses in excellent condition for much of the year, putting is a joy.
Golf del Sur
With a good mixture of generous and tight fairways, the challenge off the tee at Costa del Sur is a dynamic one which must be carefully considered on each hole. Palm trees and prickly cacti add an interesting element to the challenge but it’s on the greens where your score will be made or broken. Slick and true, the greens reward solid strokes but tricky slopes make reading putts difficult. Being a costal course, Golf del Sur is also exposed to the wind which can add a real degree of difficulty on windy days and with black volcanic sand in the bunkers contrasting with the lush green fairways and greens, the course is visually striking and unlike other Spanish golf courses.
Amarilla Golf & Country Club
Amarilla Golf & Country Club sits perched atop the cliff tops which plunge spectacularly into the Atlantic Ocean, and with amazing views of Mount Teide, this is a truly memorable place to enjoy a round of golf. Amarilla isn’t the longest golf course by modern standards but, as with most Donald Steel layouts, placement is key, particularly when the water comes into play. There are no more spectacular places where this happens as on the famous par 3 5th where golfers are forced to carry their ball over the crashing waves in order to reach the green.
Golf Las Americas
Situated at the heart of Playa de Las Américas, one of the most famous holiday resorts in the south of the island, Golf Las Américas is a delightful resort course, where the luscious green is in perfect contrast to the woodland and mountain backdrop. Measuring 6,607 yards from the tips, the course can certainly test more talented golfers while forward tee positions make the course accessible for less experience players as well. Gentle undulations add to the character of the course and to a small degree the overall challenge, with numerous water hazards in play throughout the course, making good course management and accurate ball striking all important.
Situated in the North-Western corner of Tenerife, within view of the spectacular Teno mountain range, Buenavista offers one of the most picturesque golfing experiences going in Tenerife. Laid out on cliff tops overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, Buenavista comprises of six par threes, six par fours and six par five holes which is not uncommon on Ballesteros designs. Generous fairways may be explained by Seve’s tendency to go a little off-piste with the driver but an intelligent design and a spectacular setting, with many holes inching their way right up to the cliff’s edge, add to the overall challenge. Buenavista might be a little off the beaten track when compared to other courses on the island but the drive to the north-west is enjoyably spectacular and well worth the effort.
Real Club de Golf de Tenerife
Real Club de Golf de Tenerife is the second oldest golf club in the Canaries, having been founded in 1932. Situated at 600m above sea level, the course offers amazing scenic backdrops including stunning views of a snow covered Mount Teide from a handful of holes. Tree-lined fairways place emphasis on accuracy from the tee on many holes and with dry stream beds and out of bounds lurking, course management is also important. As its name suggests, the history and heritage that surrounds this club make it rather exclusive and it is certainly the course of choice for Santa Cruz’s well-heeled.
Tecina is one of the most visually impressive courses in the Canary Islands, occupying a dramatic cliff top setting on the south side of the magical island of La Gomera, just a 40 minute ferry ride from Tenerife. Rather uniquely, the course plays almost continuously downhill, descending a steep slope from the 1st tee to the 18th green, which offers endless spectacular sea views that only a handful of courses in world golf can match. These inspiring vistas are ably backed up by an amazingly creative layout that will be enjoyed by all golfers, highlighted by a trio of signature holes. On the par 3 4th, you must play your tee shot over the Tapahuga ravine, while on the 10th, where the tee is a full 45 meters above the level of the green, and the 12th, approach shots are played to greens seemingly on the edge of the world.
With views across to the island of La Gomera and out into the vast blue of the Atlantic Ocean, not to mention a masterful Dave Thomas (he of The Brabazon at The Belfry fame) design, Abama is one of the best courses to have been built in Europe in recent years and viewed by many as the best in the Canary Islands. 25,000 palm trees and no less than 22 lakes contribute much to the challenge here and with dramatic elevation changes as well as strategically placed bunkers that guard large putting surfaces also coming into play, golfers of all abilities will relish the challenge presented by Abama. A particular highlight comes in the form of the par 5 10th hole with plays from an elevated tee downhill, snaking past lakes and waterfalls on the left and bunkers on the right, to a beautifully framed green. Like the rest of the course, this gem of a hole will not be quickly forgotten.
Tenerife doesn’t just offer quality golf; it offers the type of golf where you’ll often stop and wonder whether you should be playing the course or painting it. Needless to say, make sure your camera battery is charged! Among the highlights on offer include the Amarilla Golf & Country Club, which peers out across cliff tops towards the Atlantic Ocean and provides you with amazing views of Mount Teide. Or for arguably the most visually impressive golf experience in the area, take the 40 minute ferry ride to Tecina Golf – located on the south side of the nearby La Gomera island. Here you’ll be constantly greeted by the most amazing ocean panoramas in what is a truly unbelievable golfing experience.
When it comes to moonlight action, Tenerife has something to suit all moods and tastes. The buzzing clubbing scene attracts partygoers from across the globe, many to watch international DJs drop bass heavy anthems long into the morning. Most of the wild party action occurs in the south of the island around the lively resort of Playa de las Americas. Here you’ll find countless late night bars and top nightclubs, many of which offer cheap drink promotions. If you’re after something at a bit slower pace, do as the locals do and head to one of the laid-back open bars. Here you can enjoy a more authentic Spanish experience, with a few relaxed drinks and some tapas while listening to local music.
For a guaranteed wild night, head to Tramps – the most popular nightclub in the whole of the Canaries. Seasoned clubbers travel from all corners of Europe to party in an electric atmosphere supplied by big-name DJs. Voted the best club outside of Ibiza by Radio One in 2007 and 2008. Needless to say that if you choose to visit Tramps, a late tee time the following day is strongly advised!
PAPAGAYO BEACH CLUB
If you’re after something a little classier than your average Wetherspoons, the Papagayo Beach Club comes highly recommended. Grab an upstairs suite and sip expertly-made cocktails while taking in the stunning sea views, or sample top-class cuisine as you watch the sun’s rays disappear over the horizon. On the weekends, DJs supply techno and house beats to a packed dance floor.
Situated on the hugely popular Veronicas Strip, O’Neill’s Bar is arguably the most happening bar in all of Las Americas. Step through the doors and you’ll find a huge party-centric atmosphere, with popular DJs, cage dancers, “shot girls”, drinking games, and if you pick the right night, perhaps even a Wet T-shirt competition. And to top it all off, you can expect reasonable drinks prices. All the ingredients for a (perhaps not so) memorable night out!
Famed for its links to former England footballer Gary (it’s owned by his brother), Lineker’s is the most well-known bar in Playa de las Americas. It’s the perfect spot to enjoy a few pints and catch the football, as the 26 screens situated around the bar create a real stadium-like atmosphere. The bar staff are known to be quite generous with their pouring of spirits… so be prepared that the evening may quickly escalate.
FARO CHILL ART BAR
A seriously cool bar, perched in a seriously cool spot overlooking the ocean. Faro Chill Art attracts a big crowd of mixed with both locals and tourists, as revelers come to ‘chill’ and drink beverages by sunset then dance the night away on one of the three chic terraces. Billed as providing “some of the best music in the south”, this a must check-out spot for visitors to Costa Adeje.
Perfect Golfing Climate
If there is one thing that living in the UK does for a golfer, it’s make you appreciate those rare few months when you can leave the waterproofs at home and work on the classic golfer’s tan. But I doubt the word “waterproof” even exists in the vocabulary of a Tenerife native; not when the average daily temperature hovers between 17-27°C year-round and rainy days per month can be counted on one hand!
This remarkable climate can be attributed to Tenerife’s southern location, and unlike some of its mainland neighbours, comfortable humidity levels make for ideal golfing conditions regardless of the season.
Tenerife is home to a mix of amazing natural and man-made beaches, from pure volcanic rock to golden sands imported from the Sahara! Sun-seekers flock to the island’s shores to wade in the warm tranquil waters of the Atlantic. El Médano, “the sand dune” in Spanish, is one of the longest and most beautiful natural beaches on the island. Strong winds make it ideal for a variety of water sports, including wind-surfing, jet-skiing and kite-surfing. The pristine beaches of Costa Adeje and Playa del Duque are among the best on the island, while the six beaches scattered around Playa de Las Americas are firm favourites among young British travellers. Tenerife offers a myriad of other sandy coves and beaches, many of which are almost deserted, giving you the feel of your own island paradise!