Gran Canaria is one of the top golf destinations in Europe. That’s not an opinion. It’s a fact.
The International Association of Golf Tour Operators (IAGTO) recognised the Canary Island at the ‘European Golf Destination of the Year’ at the 2013 edition of its prestigious golf tourism awards, held on the Algarve at the end of 2012.
As those who have visited will attest, such recognition is long overdue, the island comprising absolutely everything a sun-seeking golfer could want, and more.
Temperatures in the region of 24°C all year round; a selection of fantastic courses; no shortage of accommodation options; plenty of things to do away from the golf course; and, above all, superb value for money. Quite simply, Gran Canaria has got the lot.
Pleasingly, it is also easy to get to from the UK. Indeed, it is little more than a four-hour flight from most main airports, with flights most days, so you don’t have far to travel.
There are seven different courses for you to sample on this beautiful, sub-tropical island, with the Real Club de Golf de Las Palmas arguably the most famous. The oldest club in Spain, it dates back to 1891 and is where European Tour rising star Rafael Cabrera-Bello started out.
It sits in the shadow of an extinct volcano, providing an exhilarating backdrop to your round, and whilst it is not especially long, the Mackenzie Ross-designed layout is a robust test for all players.
Scottish architect Ross was also responsible for the terrific course at Maspalomas. Located in the south of the island and surrounded by natural sand dunes, it is mainly flat with wide fairways, making it the ideal place for a leisurely, holiday round.
The nearby Lopesan Meloneras is also worth a look. Beautifully manicured, some of its holes flank the sea, providing beautiful views as well as a welcome breeze.
The Salobre Golf & Resort has the distinction of being the only 36-hole golf complex in the Canaries - and what a complex it is. Offering the highest levels of service, good value and great golf, Salobre embodies everything that makes Gran Canaria great.
The Old Course (previously known as Salobre South) was the first of its two 18-hole courses to open and it poses a firm but fair challenge. The New Course (originally called Salobre North) followed in 2008 and, taking its inspiration from the desert courses in the USA, its American influences are obvious from start to finish.
The lush, green grass contrasts starkly with the surrounding brick-red landscape, creating a quite striking setting.
The Salobre golfing experience has recently been upgraded to include a new club fitting and performance centre. So, not only can you enjoy some sunshine golf, you can also return home a better player and perhaps even with some new clubs in tow!
Anfi Tauro is also tempting. Having opened for play in 2006, its course is positioned amongst sheer cliff faces, lakes and waterfalls, creating an exhilarating experience for all. Watch out for the bunkers, though. Deep and vast, they can turn a score worth boasting about into one you’ll want to forget in double-quick time.
And then there’s El Cortijo Club de Campo, home to a Blake Stirling and Marco Martin-designed course, which is situated on the on the outskirts of Las Palmas.
One of the longest courses in Spain, it is a former host of the Spanish Open. Don’t worry, though; you don’t necessarily need to be Sergio Garcia to take it on. With many different teeing options, it is suitable for all players and, even if you don’t succeed in posting an especially good score, you’ll still be able to appreciate this exceptional course.
With packages to suit all kinds of visiting parties - from golf groups, to families, to couples, and so on - Gran Canaria has something for everyone. Experience it for yourself this year and you’ll return home in no doubt as to why it struck gold at the 2013 IAGTO awards.