If you like to leave your “best till last” and sample the piece de la resistance as a climax, then Anfi Tauro Golf Club is where it’s at on Gran Canaria. Twenty-five minutes from Maspalomas town centre, and near the small town of Puerto Rico, Anfi Tauro has quickly established itself as the major test of serious golfing ability on Gran Canaria.
Perhaps the most notable work of the Texan architect, Robert van Hagge, is displayed at Les Bordes and Senigosse in France, but here, he has worked a near miracle. Sculpted out of the sides of sheer mountain rock faces, some might ask: “Why?” Well, I guess the developers’ answer was: “Because we can.” The amount of dynamite used to shift the sides of these mountains would do Butch Cassidy proud.
However, the resultant landscaping is amazing. In parts it resembles something from the Arizona-style desert courses, and in parts reminds one of an arid ski slope. There are certainly more good holes than tricked-up ones, and the double green finishing both nines is horseshoed around a lake. It’s an impressive finish.
Naturally any hole with a stroke index of one will command respect and the 7th does just that with water plaguing your second shot all down the left. At 445 yards this is not a particularly long hole, but boy does it put a premium on getting a good, long, accurate drive away. The next hole though, is as bizarre as they come in course design.
The drive on the 8th is pretty straightforward, as long as you miss the traps on the slight angle of a dog-leg. But it’s the second shot that amazes. You are left looking at a three-tiered green tucked into a U-shaped sheer cliff face. Your immediate urge is to have fun and bang one into the rocks behind and see where it finishes up! These architects really do have Salvador Dali-esque imaginations from time to time.
On the back nine, the spectacular advances more into the realms of impossible. A valley has been carved out to house five of the early holes, all of which are great tests of your game. None more so than a downhill par 3 covering 221 yards on the side of a precipice – that’s the 13th – and yes it could easily be “unlucky” for some if you’re not long, and not accurate!
Arriving on the 18th tee, you will be presented with two options: safe and blind horror! Safe is easily seen, the horror show is to take on the dog-leg over trees on the left and be sufficiently long to miss a trap behind them. A brilliant piece of classic risk-and-reward design. We, of course, had to try it on and were suitably rewarded with a birdie – if only after a “Seve-esque” 3-wood out of the said trap!
Whilst a lot of the course is surrounded by homes and a large fractional ownership property, it all sits very nicely in the context of a holiday golf resort. Another Van Hagge masterpiece.
If you do tire of your efforts on the links, then the famous sand of the dunes near Maspalomas – opposite the art deco Palm Beach Hotel – will embrace a good spot of sunbathing and even surfing. Climbers and hikers will get more for their Euro inland up in the Palmitos Park, botanical garden or the Barranco de Guayadeque high up in the mountains near Aguimes. Everything about Gran Canaria is indeed grand, and this includes the welcome you get from the locals – always a real treat!
How to get there:
Iberia Airlines (www.iberia.com fly out of Heathrow, both direct and via Madrid.
Where to Stay:
Salobre Sheraton Golf Resort & Spa
T: 00 34 928 943 000
Lopesan Costa Meloneras Resort, Spa & Casino
T: 00 34 928 128 100
Grand Hotel Residencia, Maspalomas
T: 00 34 928 723 100
Palm Beach Hotel, Maspalomas
T: 00 34 928 721 032
Where to play:
T: 00 34 928 010 103
Anfi Tauro Golf Club:
T: 00 34 928 560 462