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 North course 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.
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.