I’ve had a taste of Tenerife and I’m going back next year - most likely with a group of fellow female golfing addicts.
For me it really stacks up as a golf destination having recently enjoyed a familiarisation trip, courtesy of the Tenerife Tourist Board.
The courses are great, the climate is exceptional – especially for a trip during our horrid British winter – the local welcome is extraordinary and there’s tip-top shopping opportunities for shoes and handbags!
However, the trans-island travel can be a little scary for a first-timer. Narrow mountain roads on board a coach can lead to palpitations if you’re perched in the seats ‘exposed’ to the stunning views and sheer drops from roads hacked out of the rock face.
I joined a group of travel-writers and tour operators to check out the island’s golf facilities during the recent Tenerife Ladies Open – part of the European Ladies Tour. I played on four of the island’s courses and after what seemed a very long winter in the UK, it took no time at all to get used to playing in beautiful 23-degree temperatures.
Within hours, it seemed, I had gone from playing in four layers of clothing in the UK to swinging freely in shorts and a polo shirt. Never having been to Tenerife before, I was impressed to hear that this is typical of the climate almost year round.
It’s part of a luxury complex in the south-west of the island and also features a hotel and Spa. This Dave Thomas-designed course has excellent facilities with spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean and La Gomera Island.
It’s a winding, tactical, 18-hole course with 22 lakes, bunkers of marble sand and frighteningly quick greens. At its highest point its just over 300 metres above sea level with a clubhouse built in the same style as the hotel and surrounding villas, with a restaurant, bar, golf shop and conference rooms, three-hole practice course and golf academy.
The nearest course to the busiest holiday destination is Golf Las Americas, designed in 1998 by the doyen of British coaches, John Jacobs, and just 10 minutes from the centre of town.
Surrounded by hotels and villas, it nestles within a gently sloping amphitheatre and looks mature beyond its years. Though at times you feel a little hemmed in by the buildings, it’s a good test of golf with an excellent clubhouse and attentive, enthusiastic staff.
Tecina is on the island of La Gomera and is reached via a ferry from Playa De Los Cristianos followed by a mountainous coach ride. Eventually we arrived at the spectacular Donald Steel-designed course, which has great views of Mount Teide and the southern coastline of Tenerife.
It’s an 18-hole, par 71 course and is part of the Hotel Jardin Tecina complex. I was struck by its peace and tranquillity, especially around holes 10 and 12, which had elevated tees, sweeping down to small greens barely yards from the rocky edge of the ocean. Breath-taking golf at it’s best though, sadly, we only had time for nine holes!
A further journey was demanded towards the close of my visit – a two-hour drive to the north east and the Seve Ballesterous-designed Buena Vista course.
My paltry 32-stableford points was enough to lead the scoring in my fourball, which said much for its degree of difficulty. The glass-fronted clubhouse and its terraces contribute to making this a ‘must visit’ for those contemplating Tenerife as a destination.
Of the four courses we played, Abama was the most luxurious and if money was no object it would be the place to stay.
For those on a budget Playa Las Americas was none too shabby and having enjoyed probably the best meal of the week here, I’d be inclined to make this my base if staying with a group of fellow golfers.
Asked to identify the benefits of Tenerife as both a golf destination and for relaxing, I’d put the weather for golf at the top of any list. The average year-round temperature of 23 degrees is ideal.
There are also endless opportunities for pampering with limitless numbers of treatments to be enjoyed at most hotels, while a little shoe and handbag shopping and sightseeing is always at hand. For sun-worshippers there always the chance to catch a few rays before or after the golf.
So what are the pitfalls?
With courses on the island widely spread, the ideal scenario is to stay and play at different locations perhaps staying at either end of the island.
Most journeys demand a trip across mountains on narrow roads, which can become tedious and not a little scary at times.
As for security, I was always in a group so didn't feel ill at ease at any time but like most places, women would have to be sensible about staying in a group, especially at night.
As a golf destination I’d score Tenerife highly – including full marks of 10 for its weather and nine for course conditions, playability and facilities. I’d give eight for accommodation and only seven for off-course entertainment. One area I would mark down (5) would be airport efficiency. One of our group’s clubs failed to arrive and it was three days before they were delivered.
If you're interested in golf abroad then take a look at our Travel Partners who specialise in golfing breaks to European and Worldwide destinations.
Low cost airline Monarch Scheduled flies to Tenerife five times per week from Luton during the winter and four times a week in the summer. There are also daily flights from Birmingham from May to September and year-round daily flights from Manchester. Call 08700 40 63 00.
Taste of Tenerife - and I like it!