The Canary Islands are on the same latitude as Florida but these delightful Spanish islands are only just beginning to realise their potential as a reputable golf destination.
El Cortijo was the first of the numerous Canarian courses to be featured on the Top 100 website, but it certainly wasn't the last. Measuring a healthy 6,308 metres from the tips, the challenging El Cortijo course was designed by Blake Stirling and Marco Martin. Despite its relative youth (opening for play in 1999), El Cortijo has already tested some of the world’s best golfers. Sergio Garcia claimed his national open here in 2002, winning the Canarias Open de España.
El Cortijo Club de Campo is laid out in a sequence of valleys. The land was once used for farming and there’s still a plethora of palm tree providing a wonderfully tropical backdrop. No expense has been spared, the manicured bent grass is cut for effect and the condition is exemplary. The front nine has a distinctly links-like feel to it and it’s also prone to the vagaries of the Atlantic winds (there are some great sea views too). The back nine is designed in a more traditional American-style with numerous lakes lurking to catch the wayward shot. A word about the greens... they are slick and deviously contoured. You will need to be wearing your best putting boots to avoid three putting here.
Finally, the course at El Cortijo is at the heart of a huge sports resort with excellent tennis and equestrian facilities. There’s even a great 9-hole par three course that’s great fun after a small bottle of San Miguel.
This is a good layout, basically in the suburbs of Las Palmas, unfortunately, finances have become too stretched to properly maintain the course. You can lose balls that went straight down the fairway as shrubbery around bunkers etc is so overgrown. However, they recognise the issues and I played a few rounds including buggy for €50 which by Gran Canaria standards is a bargain. The practise facilities are similar to the course, overgrown, but still effective enough. Overall though, the course is actually very good and I can see why is hosted a championship in its glory days. In addition, the staff are great as well and overall the place deserves the financial backing it needs to bring it back to standard.
El Cortijo was the first course I played last week during a visit to all the golf facilities on Gran Canaria. First impressions count for a lot when arriving at a club and the place looked rather run down as I parked up in front of the clubhouse. It was early on a Sunday morning so I didn’t expect it to be exactly heaving with golfers but there were only another couple of cars parked up ahead of me, which kind of set the alarm bells ringing a little.
What was also in the back of my mind were a couple of recent reviews from golfers who said much the same thing: El Cortijo was living on past glories – the Spanish Open was held here in 2002 – and the owners were not investing in the club. Of greater concern to me was the unhappiness of one reviewer that this website was featuring the course too highly in its Canary Island charts, which was posing a big credibility question.
Well, I didn’t play the full 18-hole course as I’d seen enough on the front nine. They obviously have the bones of a good course here as it was designed by the reputable design firm of Blake Stirling and Marco Martin but the course has been sadly neglected for a while now. The fairways and greens must be cut from time to time but that’s about it as far as I could see. There’s no bunker maintenance and the empty irrigation pond has vegetation pushing through the torn liner – it’s really a sad and sorry state of affairs, to be honest.
I wouldn’t be doing my job properly if I didn’t tell things as they are. I think I’ve only ever awarded a 1-ball mark once before but El Cortijo now becomes the second course with that rather dishonourable distinction. I don’t know what problems lie behind the situation the club finds itself in but they really must be addressed if El Cortijo is to continue on an equal footing to the other golf courses promoted by Gran Canaria Golf in its brochures and on its website.
2017 has been a bad year for El Cortijo, the economic crisis and problems among the owners of the Club had paid a great toll in the Club. Since few months , a new Manager is in charge of the sports part of El Cortijo, and the golf course has been improved a lot.
I hope during 2018 the golf course and its facilities wil continue to improve , and will be back in the best 100th golf course list in Spain.
El Cortijo is near Las Palmas, is a modern course with long holes. It´s better to be in the fairway, the rough is dense.
Good restaurant (new owners) and great people working there.
I played El Cortijo last night managing to get out for 18 holes during a family holiday to Gran Canaria. I played the course solely based on the high ranking on this website.
Let me start with the positives.
- Friendly honest staff, the young man in the pro shop offered to let me use his clubs to play my round.
- Potential for a great facility.
- Design of back 9 really solid, with a closing set up ideal for big tournament play.
- Close and easy access to Las Palmas, if you're staying there.
And now for the negatives.
- Condition of course was terrible, second to a course I played in Croatia about 10 years ago which was practically a farmers field.
- I lost a ball in a bunker due to the amount of weeds and plants growing in it. All bunkers were the same, i.e. no sand, just compact grit covered in weeds.
- A twilight round cost me €40 and the clubs were €28 but the pro shop assistant gave me a reduced rate of €20 after I protested about the ancient set of Wilsons and that the set was not worth €28... So €60 for one the worst condition courses I've ever played. It was disgraceful value for money.
- The rough at the side of he course was deep and easy to loose a ball in off the fairway. Basically the course had not been touched for months, except the greens which had recently been hollow tined - I have no idea why they did this when the rest of the course was in such a poor state.
- For the last several years, I have always used Top100golf as my bible for courses in areas I am unfamiliar with. Having been so let down by the second place position in Gran Canaria of El Cortijo I will be seeking alternate sources in future when looking for courses to play. Totally let down by this website and golf course.
Thanks Keith for contacting me regarding my review of El Cortijo - understood that you will re-rank soon given your two year cycle.