Abama, Buenavista And Lots More…
With a wonderful year round climate, it is no surprise that Tenerife has become one of the most popular golf destinations for the golfers of Northern Europe. The opportunity to play golf in good weather, the average temperature is 23 degrees, on a superb collection of golf courses, is just four hours travel by air, and has a modern airport to receive visitors close at hand. The golfers from countries where golf is a non starter for part of the year have flocked to this island haven, with many purchasing properties that still seem to be shooting up in the south of the island, where the majority of the courses are located.
The Ritz Calrton Abama Golf Spa and Resort is situated on the road to Los Gigantes, it is impossible to miss, for the five star hotel and resort stands out like a beacon, a salmon pink structure that oozes quality as soon as you approach. The clubhouse is set on the hilltop overlooking the hotel, with spectacular vistas down to the sea, and there you will be welcomed and prepared for a golfing experience. State of the art electric buggies, with onboard GPS systems, fresh fruit and your own personal water cooler, and a well stocked golf shop to ensure there is nothing to detract from the round to be played. If your game needs a tweek, there is an academy with highly qualified coaches, a five hectare practice area and a three hole academy course. The eighteen hole course is the design of Dave Thomas, who has brought fifty years of golf experience to create a course that is one of his best. It rises up the south face of the foothills under the watchful eye of snow capped Mount Teide, rising to 315 metres at the highest point, and looks out over the distant island of La Gomera, a spectacular sight across the aquamarine sea, as you play down to the sixth green. It meanders over 160 hectares of lush sub tropical terrain, in stark contrast to the harsh volcanic landscape which surrounds the course. It features twenty two lakes, linked by impressive waterfalls, white sand bunkers, and over twenty five thousand palm trees, and Thomas has made marvellous
16 TEE TIMES | February 2018
use of the changes in elevation to create innovative and challenging holes. A fine example is the 9th, an approach from an elevated landing area to a green set down under a cliff and defended by a water hazard. There is a fascinating variety of par three’s. The 4th is over a lake, which contains an abundance of fish bubbling around the edge, providing an ample food locker for the two resident herons patrolling the banks, seemingly impervious to the passing golfers.
The back nine is set on the lower slopes, and starts with a par 5 to test the driving skills, under the lee of the hotel. There are six lakes on this hole, seven if you count the one adjacent to the tee, they are strung out on the left and the fairway swings around them to a green nestling alongside the largest, add several bunkers and that’s the challenge. Holes 11 to 16 are all subject to the threat of water, strategically placed lakes come into play on this mixture of par three’s and short par fours that test course management rather than length, even the last two holes have water crossing the fairways. In summary, a fine golf course in immaculate condition, with large fast true greens, which give a wide variety of pin locations, some of which are very testing indeed. It is no surprise that this course has already hosted a number of Tour events, and had visits from US Presidents and celebrities from around the world. Sergio Garcia has held a Pro Am Tournament at the resort in support of his foundation, which he set up in memory of his colleague Maria Garcia-Estrada, who died of a rare form of cancer in 2005. In stark contrast to the splendour of Abama, there is a charming little nine hole par three course near the town of Guaza, a fun place to sharpen the short game and very reasonably priced. It is not necessary to book a tee-time, but the Los Palos Golf Centre has the busiest practice ground I have seen, perhaps an indication that beginners can practice shots and then play a short course to test the results.
Buenavista Golf , which was designed by Seve Ballesteros, sits majestically on the rugged rocky coastline in the north west of the island, and is forty five kilometres from the resorts of Las Americas and Los Christianos. The name could not be more apt, for this is a truly beautiful location, and even tourists stop in the carpark to look out of the course and the sea crashing onto the rocks below. The course was opened in 2003, and within a year had hosted the Tenerife Open, a European Ladies Tour event. The Tour returned after the first sampling, further evidence of the quality of the venue. The isolated location had been a minor deterrent in the past, but the 115 bedroom hotel was opened close to the 3rd hole, it was acquired and operated by Melia Hacienda Del Conde, an adults only facility encompassing high quality swimming pools, spa and fitness facilities and a top quality restuarant, has solved the problem of accommodation for this island paradise.
The course is made up of two loops of nine holes with two lakes fed by a waterfall and containing fountains, sitting adjacent to the 9th and 18th greens, just below the imposing ultra modern clubhouse set atop the hill. It has an unusual combination of holes, six par three, six par fours and six par fives and at 6019 metres is not too long to be enjoyable, the elevated tees even providing a touch of encouragement to try for the green in two on the downhill par fives.
Published on Jan 23, 2018