Opened for play in 2006, the Lopesan Meloneras course is located on the southern coast of Gran Canaria, less than three kilometres as the crow flies from the nearby 18-hole layout at Maspalomas Golf.
The famous Maspalomas Dunes don’t quite come into play here as the course lies a little further to the west of their sandy splendor. Instead, the fairways are set out on the clifftops overlooking the Pasito Blanco marina and La Punta Yacht Club.
Owned and operated by the Lopesan Hotel Group, the course occupies two distinct tracts; the more compact front nine lies further inland, with the back nine routed in a large loop around a future development site.
Water comes into play at several holes on the outward half, most notably at two of the three short holes. On the second nine, there’s a thrilling stretch between the par three 12th and the short par four 16th, where these holes run along the edge of the cliffs.
I played this course at the beginning of April and when coming to write a review for Top 100 Courses, I was surprised that it didn’t feature. Having played both Salobre Old and New, this was right up there with them, if not better. I contacted Keith Baxter and he advised he had a course reviewer playing all Gran Canaria courses in the near future and that Meloneras would be played. I am delighted that Jim McGann has now played it and reviewed it.
This course is an excellent golf course and better than Salobre Old and New in my opinion. As you sweep down the long drive way to the clubhouse the course is laid out on both sides and you can see the quality of course on offer. This is not a cheap round of golf at EUR140 so it had better be special. I was not disappointed. I had booked on by myself but club policy is not to let solo players out on busy days so I was paired up with a couple of Austrian Golfers.
The first hole is an easier enough hole to get you into your round. Too big a drive will see you on the 2nd fairway but you can recover from there. The course is heavily tree lined so whilst you won’t lose your golf ball, you could find you lose a shot getting back onto the fairway.
There is plenty of water on the course, with a delightful par 3 hitting over 160 yards of water, all carry with severe run off to the back if you are too long and shortly after a beautiful short par 3 110 yards again over water.
The first 10 holes play out and back to the clubhouse away from the sea. Hole 11 which is a nice hole in itself starts the really exciting and spectacular part of your round. The 12th is a par 3 hitting out alongside the coast and when on the 12th green there are beautiful views back towards Meloneras town and beaches. The 13th - 16th then play along side the cliff tops with the 14th a standout as you tee across a ravine and the short par 3 15th also offering the same experience. 17th and 18th offer good strong finishing holes to your round.
All in all I loved this golf course. Like a lot of European courses there is some distance between greens and tees so a buggy is probably wise. The conditioning is excellent, the greens were quick but true and the heavily tree lined fairways made sure you didn’t get that up and down same feeling. The ocean part of the course was stunning and worth the green fee alone.
This course is one to be played when visiting the area.
I played Meloneras last week during a visit to all the golf facilities on Gran Canaria. For some strange reason, this course isn’t currently listed in the Top 100 Canary Islands rankings but that will be rectified when the regional Spanish charts are updated at the end of this year – and Meloneras should figure prominently when it happens as it’s a very good track. How it’s been overlooked until now is a bit of a mystery but I suppose there’s always the chance of one or two courses slipping through the net.
It’s very much a game of two halves here as the front nine holes are laid out to the north of the property, with fairways occupying a relatively small parcel of land containing several small irrigation lakes, whilst the back nine holes are routed closer to the cliffs, surrounding a big area which is presumably zoned for future residential use. I don’t think I’ve ever played a course with as many palm trees lining the fairways – they must have planted many thousands when the place was built – and they certainly present a formidable obstacle if you stray too far offline.
I liked the short holes at the 3rd and 5th, where the greens lie behind water, and the putting surfaces at the par five 4th and par four 8th are cleverly set at a 45 degree angle to the fairway, placing an extra degree of difficulty on the approach shot. I also noticed a really nice horseshoe-shaped bunker that curls round the left side and back of the green on the par four 6th and this sand hazard goes a long way towards the hole attracting its stroke index 1 rating.
The holes on the back nine step up a notch or two, starting at the par three 12th which is played to a triangular infinity green. The following four holes are then strung out along the edge of the cliffs, towards the Pasito Blanco marina, requiring three tee shots in succession to be played across wide barrancas that cut across the fairways. It’s an exhilarating sequence of holes to get the pulse racing, especially if the wind gets up!
I'm glad I made the suggestion to Keith and you have now played it. :) It's a superb track nd as you rightly point out the holes 12 through 16 are exceptional. I am going to be interested where you place it in the rankings when you update.