Spanish Islands – Where To Play On The Canaries And Mallorca

Michael Weston heads to the Spanish Islands to highlight the best courses off the mainland

Son Gual Mallorca
(Image credit: Buenavista Golf)

Canary Islands

If you are a regular visitor to the Canaries, you will know it is somewhere that is well worth taking the clubs.

Anfi Tauro, on Gran Canaria’s south-west coast, might just claim the number one spot.

Set with a contrasting backdrop of dramatic volcanic mountains and the glimmering Atlantic, it provides a stern test.

Although you will need to be fairly precise from both the tee and with your approach play, you can’t fail to enjoy the experience.

For example, the par-3 13th, which plays down over the rocky landscape, is a real heart-stopper.

Tenerife also features a wonderful collection of courses, with Golf del Sur one of the most revered.

The former Tenerife Open venue has an engaging ruggedness, its bunkers made from black, volcanic sand.

Costa Adeje, meanwhile, which hosted back-to-back European Tour events in April and May, is no less stunning.

With wild flowers, cacti, reddish-pink rocks and deep gullies, it is impossible not to wonder at the colourful surroundings.

You cannot tick Tenerife off the list without playing Buenavista – holiday golf at its best.

Part of its charm is that it is a little off the beaten track, but Seve Ballesteros’ layout – which opened in 2003 – is a joy, no matter what level you play at.

Comprising six par threes, six par fours and six par fives, the cliff-top location makes for a rollercoaster ride, and offers spectacular views of the Atlantic that will live long in the memory.

To win the bragging rights within your golfing circle, it is well worth taking a 45-minute ferry trip from Tenerife to Gomera, which is where you will find Tecina. Somehow the views here crank up a notch, with the volcanic landscape in one direction and the sea the other.

All the while, it has the feel of playing through a botanical garden. Island golf doesn’t get much better.

Where to play

Anfi Tauro Golf

Stats: par 72, 6,917 yards

Golf del Sur

Stats: par 72, 6,365 yards

Golf Costa Adeje 

Stats: par 72, 7090 yards 

Buenavista Golf

Stats: par 72, 6,676 yards

Tecina

Stats: par 71, 6,937 yards 

Mallorca

If you are looking to take a golfing trip to Mallorca, the largest of the four main islands is home to a cluster of top courses, many of which are in close proximity to its beautiful and vibrant capital, Palma.

Many would have Son Gual at number one. Set in 156 acres of glorious Mediterranean landscape, the championship layout is fit to host tournament golf of the highest level, so don’t expect an easy ride.

Water is a constant danger throughout, as are its sweeping bunkers, and it offers a technical challenge like nowhere else on the island.

There are many memorable holes, but the 18th might top the lot – a thrilling par 5 to bring your round to a close.

There are some 20 courses to choose from in Mallorca, but you should make time to visit the island’s oldest layout – Golf Son Vida, a charming spot where many of the game’s greats have battled it out, including Seve Ballesteros, who triumphed here in 1990.

The course falls under Arabella Golf Mallorca’s umbrella, along with Son Muntaner and Son Quint.

It is a fine trio, and while Son Vida gets a little tight in places, golfers of all abilities have a playable 54-hole option here, and one that is easy to put together.

Venture to the other side of the island from Palma – which can be done in approximately an hour – and there are a number of other courses well worth playing.

From the five-star Carrossa Resort, not far from the charming town of Arta in the north-east, you are a short drive from Alcanada, which certainly vies for top spot.

Its lush fairways are manicured to perfection, as are the greens, and the view across the bay to Alcudia is a photo opportunity you won’t want to miss.

Pula Golf is another terrific venue. Two-time Masters champion Jose Maria Olazabal may have redesigned the layout here, but the Spaniard is very much a fan of making courses playable for pros as well as mid-handicappers, and it is a place that attracts many a celebrity, including one of the island’s most famous residents, Rafael Nadal.

Where to play

Son Gual

Stats: par 72, 6,842 yards

Golf Son Vida

Stats: par 71, 6,125 yards 

Son Muntaner

Stats: par 72, 6,895 yards 

Son Quint

Stats: par 71, 6,785 yards

Pula Golf

Stats: par 72, 6,886 yards 

Alcanada Golf Club

Stats: par 72, 7107 yards 

Son Gual Mallorca

Son Gual - one of Mallorca's best courses

(Image credit: Azalea)