Critics, of whom there are many, who regard my fairly frequent forays into foreign parts as shallow, self-indulgent and hedonistic, will be shocked to learn that I undertook a fair bit of historical research during my gruelling assignment in Gran Canaria last week.

First of all there is the name ?Canaries,? which I naively imagined might have something to do with the bird of that name. But visitors hoping to see flocks of little yellow birds singing merrily from the clubhouse roofs will be disappointed as the name is derived from the Latin ?Insular Canaria? meaning Island of the Dogs. It is believed that the dense population of an endemic breed of large and fierce dogs was the characteristic that most struck the few ancient Romans who landed there back in the BC days. Although these nasty dogs are no longer around, it might nevertheless be as well not to climb over any fences to retrieve even a moderately new Titleist.

Possibly kept awake by constant barking, the Romans never really settled in the Canaries and left colonisation to the Spanish, who took control in the 15th century. They encountered several indigenous populations living at what has been described as a Neolithic level of technology ? hickory shafts and all that sort of thing.

Horatio Nelson, no less, launched an attack on the islands on 25 July 1797 but was hit by a musket ball. He had his badly broken right arm amputated, sustained his only ever naval defeat and suffered the indignity of having his handicap adjusted upwards.

You see, golf travel broadens the mind as well as the fairway and reading this blog is genuinely educational. Next week I shall be looking at ?The Renaissance Movement in Western Europe and its Influence on Architecture with Particular Reference to Clubhouses in Surrey.?