Seve's Tenerife creation

We visit the spectacular coastal course designed by the five-time major champion.

Dylan Dronfield
Mon, 1 Dec 2003

Buenavista – ponds and palms

Even the great man himself would have admitted that mine was an adventurous round. Escapes from cliff edges, lakes and rocks - meat and drink for Seve Ballesteros - all featured on my journey around his newest course in Tenerife.

And what's the point of going to a Ballesteros course and playing for fairways and greens? Surely there can be no greater tribute to the golf's own Houdini than to explore all corners of his layout?

The Buenavista course, which opened in October, is beautifully sandwiched into a narrow coastal strip known locally as Isla Baja, between Tenerife's northern Teno mountains and the pounding Atlantic Ocean. Unusually, it is made up of equal numbers of six par-3s, par-4s and par-5s and promised to be fun right from the start especially with the stiff sea breeze.

Clifftop venue.

It wasn't long before I got my chance to create a piece of my own Spanish magic in the great man's backyard. My wedge approach to the par-5 first hole failed to make the green rolling down a steep bank stopping perilously close to a lake.

Everyone can hit the ball off line, it's whether you've got the skill and style to recover that distinguishes Spain golfing matador from us mortals. But style was not a word to describe my first recovery. Edging my heels over the lake to try and flop my chip onto the green, I lost my balance and fell backwards. I stuck out my right foot as I fell and fortunately it dug in as I sunk knee deep into the lake avoiding an embarrassing Paul McGinley-style swim. Undeterred by the sniggers of my playing partners I chipped to six feet but failed to make the par save. Not exactly vintage Seve.

My round resumed a squelching normality for the next few holes until a big drive at the dogleg 393-metre sixth hole found my ball stuck behind an outcrop of rocks. Ideally, a well struck 9-iron would sail clear of the trouble and make the green. However, my thinned effort instead nearly took my head off as it cannoned off the rocks and ricocheted 100 yards behind me! There was no miraculous recovery and the six scribbled on my card carried no accompanying illustration.

Greens and blues.

It wasn't until the glorious back nine that the course flourished. The 10th hole - Seve's signature hole on account of its large 'S' shaped greenside bunker - is merely 468 metres long off the yellow tees. From a massively elevated tee you aim at the Atlantic and let rip. With a strong following wind we were hitting short irons into the green.

You get a similar sensation at the 13th, a 444-metre par-5 demanded a downwind smash with the driver and a short iron. Seve recreates the feeling of hitting into the sea two holes later with a testing 185-metre par-3. Breathtaking golf.

But the five time-major champion saves his best for the 16th - a 304-metre dogleg par-4 following the line of cliffs on your left with the sea crashing in, 100ft below. The tiger line is with a driver over the corner allowing the raging crosswind to blow your ball back on to the fairway. My natural draw kept the ball straight but it clawed over the cliff edge and a career sand wedge sent the ball spinning to with four feet of the hole and a resultant birdie putt.

Another short downwind par-5 to a tricky water-surrounded green under the nose of the glass-fronted clubhouse finished the round off in dramatic fashion.


Seve has crafted a marvellous holiday golf course, which provides a test for all levels without ever being anything less than great fun. The back nine, which is the closer of the nines to the sea, is particularly memorable. It would need some alterations if it wanted to become a Tour venue because the par-5s are too short. But for now it is a welcome addition to Tenerife's other eight courses.

Fact File

How to get there: Buenavista is reached from TF-142, off the autovia Icod de los Vinos- Buenavista del Norte.

Green fees: 18 holes from October to April – Euro80. From May to September E50.

Facilities: 18 hole course (Par 72), two putting green and practice chipping area. Ballesteros Natural Golf School with individual programmes, clubhouse with terraces, bar & restaurant, pro shop with equipment and buggy rental.

*For further information on golf in Tenerife, email or visit

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