Situated on the volcanic south eastern slopes of Lanzarote, between the small town of Tahiche and the coastal area of El Jablillo, the course at Costa Teguise Golf Club is a John Harris design that dates back to the late 1970s, making it one of the noted architect’s final projects before he passed away in 1977.
The holes fan out from the clubhouse in two distinct nines and, with more than three thousand palm trees lining the fairways, there’s a real feeling of seclusion when playing here, with the next hole only ever revealed after leaving the green and walking to the following tee box area.
The layout can play as long as 6,476 metres from the rear tees so it’s a championship-length course with a slope rating of 147 from the back tee positions. With that in mind, holidaymaking golfers needn’t necessarily expect a stroll in the sun on a resort-style course as Costa Teguise isn’t exactly set up for that sort of game.
Highlight holes include the par five 3rd (starting from a magnificent elevated driving position), the uphill par three 6th (played across a massive black volcanic waste area), and the par four 14th (rated stroke index 2) which features an enormous bunker at the bend in the fairway as it rises up and veers right to the green.
You can often tell what a club’s going to be like within moments of walking up to the front door and entering the clubhouse. Noticeboards on either side of the hallway announcing competitions and displaying results tell you that this is a “proper” member-based club that doesn’t seem to overly rely on visitor green fee income to keep it afloat.
In truth, you can also pretty much gauge how good the club’s course is likely to be as you make your way to the first tee, surveying how the practice putting green is laid out, noting simple things like the quality of the signage and the look of the 1st hole from the tee – scale and proportion are everything and thankfully Costa Teguise turned out to be the pleasant surprise I hoped it would be on arrival in the car park.
It’s a John Harris design from the 1970s that has matured over the last forty years (thanks especially to the many hundreds of palm trees lining the fairways) into one of the better layouts in the Canaries – quite a few courses have been constructed on the islands in the new millennium but there aren’t many that have been set out as well as this one.
I loved a lot about this place: the use of offset tees with forced carries over volcanic waste areas; the way the fairways effortlessly hugged the contours as they doglegged across the hillside; the fabulous greenside bunkering on every hole and the magnificent way the palm trees frame the holes. The one negative point that I noted – and it’s significant – was the vanilla, domed design of just about every green, which was a big disappointment.
My favourite holes were the par five 3rd (what a driving hole!), the uphill par three 6th (playing long against the prevailing wind) and the severely left doglegged 8th (with a great right to left sloping green). On the back nine, some might find the par threes at #12 and #15 to be on the bland side but they really need to be a little more open because of their long length.
Truth be told, there wasn’t a weak hole on the card and I really liked each and every one of them, especially those on the stronger front nine. I think the high slope rating for the course tells its own story about its competitive nature and I’m only surprised the course hasn’t been used (as far as I’m aware) by the Spanish federation for a big national event before now.