The Old (South) course at Salobre Golf Resort comprises 18 holes of a 36-hole golf complex within a residential estate near Maspalomas on the south coast of Gran Canaria. Ron Kirby added additional holes to the property in 2008, creating an 18-hole New course (formerly the North) which complements the original South layout.
Designed by Roland Favret and opened for play in 2000, the South course measures just over 5,800 metres from the back tees, playing to a par of 71. Palm-lined fairways weave in and out of old lava outcrops, leading to tiered greens that demand accurate approach play – though thankfully, only two holes, the 8th and the 12th, have water hazards protecting the putting surfaces.
There are five par threes on the scorecard and they vary enormously in length, from 106 to 200 metres. The best short hole of the three on the front nine is the 8th ("The Mill"), played sharply downhill to a shallow green that sits behind a lovely little pond. The "signature hole" on the course is regarded as the 200-metre 11th, where the tee shot is again played downhill, this time to an offset green with a large bunker on the front right edge of the putting surface.
The golfing complex at Salobre was owned by a large hotel chain and is in 2 vast inland valleys with golf in the middle (see photo of the Old), and significant development including a large hotel with many apartments down one side. There are two resort courses, the Old and the New, one in each valley, but the latter was not in play. We were told this was because it was not economical to open both courses in the year of Covid. After our round we went to look at The New in the far valley. It looked unloved and barren in its parched-brown unwatered state with many areas bereft of grass.
The Old was a curious patchwork of good and average-to-poor holes in no particular order or sequence of logical flow which made it difficult to settle into the round. This was not helped by not starting from the normal place and having no GPS on the buggies, or easy way of relating to where we were on our Garmin watches. Calculating accurate distances to the pin was therefore very hit-and-miss. Despite the hefty green fee, we also played behind golfers who had little idea of how to play the game, the minimum etiquette required and the concept of time.
Having said this, the par3s were all good as were the two par5s which concluded our front and back nine. However a number of the other holes, particularly the shorter par4s, looked squeezed in and were just plain ordinary.
This was, in our opinion, the weakest of the 5 golf courses we played in Gran Canaria, although the welcome was very friendly and helpful. I would give it the 3 ball (average) rating, the other courses were just better and a lot more memorable.
Salobre's Old Course is certainly the tamer of the two at the resort - but still demands good control of the golf ball to keep your score low.
Playing a different routing at the moment due to the COVID pandemic, yet anyone unfamiliar with the course wouldn't know as the current routing works well, starting at the low point of the course, rather than the high point.
Highlights for me were the short par-3, which is just a pitch from a raised tee across a pond to a small green. The downhill par-4 at the top of the course which is a very birdie-able hole, but which I imagine leads to many lost balls as people go for the green rather than lay up (guilty). Also the big dog-leg par-4 that starts from a tee which you need to walk over a bridge to get to is a nice touch.
Overall it's a solid golf course in interesting terrain and worth playing if you're on the island. It was in good condition when I played too. The resort in general looks fantastic - so not a bad place to base yourself if coming specifically for a golf trip. Having played most of the courses on the island now, I'd place in in 4th position behind Anfi, Meloneras and the New Course at Salobre.
My wife and I fancied some winter sun and having been to Tenerife last year decided to visit Gran Canaria for a week. Salobre seemed the natural place to stay with its 5 star badge and 36 holes on site. Sadly, the hotel was not up to 5 star standard and the golf was equally poor.
The Old course is the better of the two at Salobre, but when we played was in very poor condition. The greens were OK, but the fairways were very rough with several species of grass invading the course. We were told that they had had problems with drought (but what would you expect next to the Sahara dessert?) and the restrictions on fertiliser just introduced.
The course itself had some interesting holes, but sadly most enjoyment of the course was ruined by the standard of golfer being allowed to play. We have no problem being paired up with any nationality, but to watch as your playing companions regularly took double figures hole after hole and insisted on putting out for a five hour round sucks most of the enjoyment out of the game. The hotel had the cheek to request our handicaps before arrival!!
If the course were in better condition and we could have played at 4 hour pace then I may have awarded 3.5 balls, but 3 is the most that I can award it.
Having stayed at Salobre the last 2 years running, I would agree on the standard of golfer, mainly from Continental Europe. Only solution is to be the 1st out each day which we made sure we were. It's an early start but worth it.
An interesting course with some beautiful tee shots through or nearby palm trees. Never boring, always some elements that catch your attention and that need you to ponder your next shot. Some scenic tee shot (notably the 8th). Being in a valley most of time time wind is mild and not so important in play. Well maintained, often full, book in advance.
I agree with Jim. This course is better than it's 14/14 rating. I have rated 4 1/2 on basis that a stop in the hotel and playing both golf courses is definitely worth doing. The course as a whole on its own would be a 4.
I love the Old Course. whilst the New is more fun (and quirky) this is a proper resort course nestled on the canyon hillside and valley bottom. The course is meticulously maintained and the greens were quick when i played it.
I have walked the course when I have played so it's a 5 minute walk from the hotel to the 1st tee.
The opening hole is easy enough and should set your round up with an opening par. the 1st green offers some wonderful views across the course and to the sea. I played early morning and watching the sun come up casting shadows initially across the course was a wonderful sight.
My favourite holes are the par 3 8th across the pond, the par 4 downhill 10th where even for a short hitter you can drive the green and a birdie opportunity awaits and the 11th which is a strong par 3
The course isn't long which is good for scoring, but the ball doesn't run very far when on landing on the fairways given the type of grass, so in that respect it plays a little longer than you expect.
I have stayed 2 years running at Salobre and played both courses 3 times. The Old is the 'proper' golf course and is great fun to play. Pace of play is slow despite buggies so I played early morning to get out ahead of the other players and have the course to myself. Follow that with afternoon golf on the New and a great day is in prospect for you.
Currently listed 14 out of 14 in the Canary Islands regional chart on this site, the Old course at Salobre – formerly known as the South course – deserves a far better ranking position! I was told that Dave Thomas was involved here when the original three Swiss investors were developing the property in the 1990s before the design was eventually awarded to Roland Favrat, an architect I’d never heard of before. I’m really surprised he’s not better known if this is a typical example of his work.
The on-site hotel was operated by the Sheraton hotel group until a few years ago. Following the withdrawal of the hotel, the clubhouse was closed and holes re-sequenced to start and finish closer to the hotel, which is now operated in-house. This unfortunately means there’s quite a buggy ride to and from the 1st and 18th, holes, though this is a minor inconvenience.
It’s resort golf all the way on the Old course, where the holes are set out in a couple of valleys with fairways largely routed along the sides of these big canyons. There’s nothing flat or uninteresting here as every hole rises or falls according to the gradient of the ever-changing terrain. Residential elements overlook the golfing action but they’re located at higher elevation levels so they never interfere with play.
Because of the recent hole re-sequencing, there are strong back-to-back par fives played on the front nine at the 5th and 6th (the old 9th and 10th) and the steep uphill 9th (the old 4th) now concludes the front nine. All four of the par fours on the outward half measure less than 320 metres so there’s really no excuse for not being on the green in regulation at these holes.
The longer back nine features water to the left of the green on the par four 12th and because the fairway slopes right to left on this hole extra care must be taken to ensure your golf ball doesn’t get wet. The downhill par three 11th is regarded as the “signature hole” on the card but I liked the drop shot par three 8th even more, with the tee shot played to a cracking Biarritz green that sits at an angle behind a very attractive pond.
Salobre is the only Canarian resort with thirty-six holes in play and it would be foolish to come here and just play the Old course. I suggest doing what our group did which was play “proper” golf on the Old in the morning, have some lunch, then head out for a fun round on the New in the afternoon – just remember to keep an open mind as you tee it up on the 1st…
Some nice holiday golf to be found at Salobre. When I played a couple of years ago this course was called the South course and was the more established of the two 18's.
The resort style course is set on hilly terrain about a kilometre inland from the sea, giving some glimpses from the higher holes, but mostly it's view of the surrounding hills and mostly unobtrusive houses.
This course wasn't as spectacular as Anfi Tauro, but was in the better half of courses on Gran Cranaria and with warm, dry weather, was a nice enough to play whilst on holidays.
A couple of gripes though. It is expensive particularly if you're not staying at the adjacent Sheraton hotel,. The tees were pushed forward when we were there with no chance to play off the back pegs, and finally there is an internal out of bounds beteween 2 holes which is a personal pet hate. All the more so as this OB does nothing to prevent either hole from becoming easier. Also a brief word about the New (North) course- unless you particularly enjoy crazy golf give it a miss. All it needs is a windmill in the middle of the fairway and you're there! A couple of quirky holes is fine, but 18 of them? No thanks.