Great Golf in Gran Canaria
We were happy to accept an invitation earlier this year to participate in the 5th edition of the Anfi Golf Classic, a prestigious two-day golf tournament which took place at the end of May at Anfi Tauro Golf in Gran Canaria – come on, who wouldn’t say no to a break in the Canary Islands playing golf with the sun on their back at the end of May?
Twenty-five 4-man teams from eleven European countries participated in the event, including a team of European Golf and Travel Media Association journalists drawn from Scotland, France, The Netherlands and Sweden. The golf writers were there to play in the competition, of course, but we also took time to run the rule over the other golf facilities on the island.
Top 100 Golf Courses publishes a Spanish Top 100 chart, maintaining five regional listings below the national rankings – one of which covers the Canary Islands – so this was the ideal opportunity to have a good look at how all the Gran Canaria golf facilities stood up against those on the other islands in the archipelago.
Founded in Gran Canaria in 1988 by the Norwegian entrepreneur, Björn Lyng, the Anfi Group is a reputable Vacation Membership company with accommodation options located at Anfi del Mar and Anfi Tauro Golf & Luxury Resorts in the southwest municipality of Mogán.
Here, you’ll find luxurious apartments, a marina, shopping centre, beach club, wellness centre and a wide variety of restaurants. For the more energetic, there are aquatic activities such as fishing, diving and snorkelling but, for those with more of an onshore sporting interest, look no further than the Anfi Tauro championship golf course designed by the late Robert von Hagge.
We stayed at the Anfi Emerald Club, situated next to the Anfi Tauro course and these 119 air conditioned luxury apartments are the perfect place to stay on a golf trip, featuring airy bedrooms that lead out to large, tastefully furnished balconies; a fully equipped kitchen area with dining table and chairs; and a spacious lounge with flat screen TV, DVD player and music system.
The Anfi Classic was played over two days, preceded by a cocktail reception at the beach club on the evening of the practice day, with a barbeque dinner at the same venue for the prize-giving ceremony. Hubbelrath Golf Club from Germany edged out East Brighton Golf Club by three stableford points to lift the trophy whilst the media team finished well down the order, unfortunately.
There were probably a few eyebrows raised when Anfi Tauro entered both the Spanish Top 20 and Continental Europe Top 100 charts at the start of 2018. However, for golfers who have played the course and fully appreciate the quality of the design and the overall playing experience, they’ll be looking to see what chart progress it might make when those listings are updated at the end of this year.
Salobre Hotel Resort & Serenity lies less than a 20-minute drive from Anfi Tauro, located high in the foothills above La Playa de Arguineguin, and it’s the only 36-hole golf complex operating in the Canary Islands. Salobre (Old) course opened for business in 2000, with Salobre (New) arriving around ten years ago.
Salobre Old course
The Old course has hosted national events such as the Spanish Seniors in 2003 and the Spanish PGA Championship in 2006. The order of play was altered a few years ago when the hotel changed hands, moving the 1st tee to the old 5th tee, which now means there are three par three holes played on the front nine.
Salobre New course
The New course has also had a few recent changes made to the layout but these involve alterations to the par values on several holes, with new tees added to mix things up a little. Salobre has to be a contender for the European golf facility with the two most contrasting 18-hole courses at the one venue – the Old course isn’t short of contouring but the New course takes mountain golf to a higher level altogether.
Less than ten kilometres back towards the coastline, on the other side of the GC-1 highway, sits the Lopesan Meloneras golf course, laid out above the Pasito Blanco marina. Unveiled in 2006, it’s a Ron Kirby design with a compact front nine weaving around a few small water hazards before the back nine then edges along the cliffs overlooking the Atlantic. This course was probably the biggest surprise of the trip, such was the quality of the golf product encountered here.
It takes just under ten minutes to drive to the Maspalomas clubhouse from Meloneras, where you’ll come across one of the oldest golfing layouts in the Canary Islands, designed by Philip Mackenzie Ross in the late 1960s. The holes on the outward half occupy the most interesting portion of the property – alongside the 1,000-acre sandy stretch of Maspalomas Dunes – with the inward half winding its way around a couple of ponds.
Despite its very close proximity to the dunes, this course is entirely parkland in nature – even on the holes closest to the sand hills – with fairways routed across a pretty level playing field. You’ll more than likely have to contend with the wind when teeing it up here as it’s a fairly exposed tract, even with the protection of palm trees lining the fairways.
Sixty kilometres to the north of Maspalomas, after a journey of around forty-five minutes by car, you’ll reach the oldest golf club in Spain – even though the course is relatively new following a relocation to its current position in the late 1950s. Real Club de Golf de Las Palmas was founded in 1891 but expect to receive a warm new millennium welcome when you arrive here.
Real Las Palmas
There’s a boutique hotel on site, run by Leif Svensson, who started as bar manager in the clubhouse more than fifteen years ago, and it’s easy to see why this lovely 3-star hotel attracts so many repeat visitors to the slightly cooler climate in the north of the island as golfers have all that they need here; taking meals in the clubhouse, golfing all day on the course or relaxing by the pool.
And if the hotel doesn’t suit for some reason, Leif also manages the nearby 5-bedroomed Villa Bandama Golf Hotel, which is perched on top of a ridge that overlooks the course with stunning views of the surrounding landscape. Even if you’re based on the south side of the island its’s well worth the 90-minute round trip to play here on a golfing day out.
We extend our appreciation to the Anfi Tauro Group for the invitation to the Anfi Golf Classic and for providing accommodation at the Emerald Club during our week-long excursion to Gran Canaria.
Thanks also to Gran Canaria Golf, the promotional body created from a collaboration between the Gran Canaria Tourist Board and the golf course owners on the island. We’re grateful for their sponsorship of the visits to Salobre, Lopesan Meloneras, Maspalomas and Real Las Palmas.
You’ll find forty recommended accommodation options for golfers by clicking on their website link.
Top 100 Golf Courses