August Newsletter – Escaping the Rain – Gran Canaria
Escaping the Rain Volume III – Gran Canaria
Gran Canaria is one of those places that everyone has heard of and many people have visited on their annual holidays. It is not, however, somewhere people think of as a golf holiday destination. We had heard many good things about golf in Gran Canaria so when we were invited to attend the IAGTO Mid-Year Convention which was being held on the island we thought it was a great opportunity to see the island and find out just what it was like. Rachel (who is attempting to match our MD Neil at air mile collecting this year) attended the convention and here are her thoughts.
I had visited Gran Canaria on my summer holidays about 20 years ago but couldn’t really remember much about the place so I was looking forward to rediscovering this Spanish holiday island. I arrived on Saturday evening having flown from Manchester, there are direct flights 4 times a week so getting there is no problem. It was pleasantly warm with a gentle breeze blowing. The journey from the airport on took about 30 minutes and the roads were very good. I stayed at the Lopesan Costa Meloneras Hotel which is located in the south of the island close to the dunes of Maspalomas. The hotel is very well equipped with 4 restaurants and 4 swimming pools. My room was bright and airy and had a balcony overlooking the spa swimming pool.
There are 7 golf courses on the island and on the Sunday we played the oldest of them. Real Club de Golf Las Palmas or Bandama as it is also know is a Mackenzie Ross designed course which was built in 1957 although the club was formed in 1891. The club house has the feel of an old British golf club, not surprising as many of the club founders were British ex pats, and the course is very interesting. It is an old design with many tight drives and small greens with lots of undulations. It is not a particularly long course but it does not need to be. The challenge is finding the fairway in the right place to give you a chance of hitting the green. I really enjoyed playing here; the course was great and the welcome very warm.
Sunday evening was the final of the European Championships with Spain playing Italy. We were invited to spend the evening at Maspalomas Golf Club who had erected a big screen for the football and kept us all supplied with food and drink. After the game had finished and all the locals were celebrating we went off to play 4 holes of night golf. If you ever have the opportunity you really must try it. Flashing balls, miners’ lamps, glow sticks to mark the fairways and luminous flag poles. What brilliant fun if not the highest standard of golf! The facilities at Maspalomas Golf Club are great and although I couldn’t really see the course as it was very dark it comes highly recommended.
On Monday I attended a couple of seminars and had some meetings with the golf courses and hotels before we headed off to play Anfi Tauro Golf course. It was great. It is a course unlike any you have played before. It was built into the cliffs with the rock being blown away in some places to make room for the greens and the result is amazing. The fairways are generous but if you miss them you are in trouble. There is some water on the course but not too much and there are many very interesting holes. On the back 9 you have some lovely views of the sea. The greens are in excellent condition and the course is very enjoyable. Certainly one to add to your list of must play courses.
Our next course was the Lopesan Melonoras course which is only about 10 minutes from our hotel. It is owned by the same group and they provide complimentary transfers throughout the day. The course is lined with Palm trees and there are a couple of lakes and water hazards. The practise facilities are excellent so if you need a quick lesson or just too warm up before your round it is all there for you. The front 9 holes are a little inland but the back 9 play along the cliff with stunning views over the sea, this means it can be a little breezy but the views are worth it. There are some great holes with generous fairways but well placed bunkers mean you still need to think about where you are going. After golf we were treated to a BBQ on the patio outside the club house. It is a great place to enjoy a drink after your round.
My final game was at the Sheraton Salobre Golf. There are 2 courses at the Sheraton and we played the South course which is very nice. The course is in very good condition with plenty of bunkers and rather tricky greens. As with all the courses I visited the clubs are all very welcoming and everywhere we went was in very good condition. Salobre was no exception, nothing was too much trouble and the round was very enjoyable.
Overall I was very impressed with golf in Gran Canaria. All the courses are in excellent condition and everybody is welcoming. Gran Canaria is only a small island and the furthest away course we played was only about 40 minutes away and most of the courses were about 15 minutes from my hotel in Maspalomas. The roads are very good and the traffic light so getting around the island is very easy. The climate in Gran Canaria is perfect for golf. In the summer it is usually around 28-30 degrees Celsius but there is always a bit of breeze off the Atlantic so it does not get too hot while playing. In the winter the temperatures are around 18 degrees Celsius which is a very pleasant temperature for golf. There are lots of very good hotels to suit all budgets and with direct flights from all of the UK’s main airports it is very accessible. It was not somewhere I would have thought of as a golf destination, but I have certainly changed my mind and it is now firmly added to my list of quality year round golf destinations.
For more information on the hotel Rachel stayed in follow the link above