James Mason visits the largest of the Canary Islands and comes away mighty impressed by the beauty of its courses
Golf in Tenerife – Costa Adeje, Le Tecina, Abama and Buenavista
After flying from the UK, where it’s so cold I have to chip ice off my windscreen, I find myself in shorts just a little while later, covered in SPF 50 and indulging in a buffet lunch. What a difference a four-hour flight makes!
I have a preference for courses that open with a par 5, as Costa Adeje does, especially when you’re playing holiday golf.
As I pick my ball out of the hole and replace the flag on the 1st, I look back down the fairway and am stunned by the view. The Atlantic shimmers in the background beyond the terracotta clubhouse, and it’s such a glorious sight that it takes a moment to soak it all in.
From the fairways, the infinity greens on the 3rd and 4th holes appear to float on the Atlantic beyond. Spanish course designer Pepe Gancedo has certainly made the very most of this wonderful parcel of land.
Black sandy waste areas, reddish-pink rocks and barrancas, wild flowers, cacti and palm trees surround the course, enhancing its visual allure – it really is a beautiful setting.
After a 40-minute ferry trip from Tenerife to La Gomera and a stunning half-hour drive to Tecina Golf, which takes you up the mountain and back down the other side, I’m staring out to sea from the clubhouse in awe of yet more spectacular views. It’s not only the Atlantic Ocean below me once more here, but also the rocks and hills all around me, plus the sheer variety of colours and flowers that assault your senses in the best possible way.
The 4th is the course’s most iconic hole and as I make my way to the tee I can see why – it’s 186 yards downhill and all carry too, with the Atlantic glistening away in the background. But this course is no one-trick pony and Donald Steel has made a wonderful job of creating a challenging layout that takes full advantage of its location.
It’s an early start next day but I am excited as I have heard a lot about the course at Abama. I jump in my buggy and head to the 1st, pull out my driver and climb up to the tee.
I’m certainly impressed by what I see! Tall pines, lush green fairways and white sand bunkers greet me, and, like all the courses in Tenerife, there’s the Atlantic as a backdrop. With the early morning golden sun casting shadows across the course, Abama looks stunning.
The first par 3 comes at the 4th, which is all you could ever want in a golf hole – elevated tees, water to play over, palm trees, white sand bunkers and that ever-present ocean backdrop. The green nestles down left of a hill covered in rocks and cacti.
Abama really is a course designer’s dream piece of land and just keeps on serving up one great hole after another, and stunning view upon stunning view. From the fairway, as I look down to the 6th green surrounded by seven palm trees, it just seems to sit in the sea – an illusion, of course, as we are actually well above the ocean up in the hills.
Water features on every hole on the back nine, with a semi-island green at the par-3 14th hole, but as another birdie putt slips by on the 18th I’m not overly worried.
I take a deep breath and savour the moment – it has been a privilege to play this wonderful course.
Next up is a glorious drive over the mountains to Buenavista on the island’s north coast.
I’ve read a few articles that have mentioned this course, but nothing that has jumped out to make me think it’s a must-play. Standing on the 10th tee – my first of the day – I wonder why.
The course was designed by one of my all-time favourite golfers, Severiano Ballesteros, and as I look down from the elevated tee towards the ocean, with the green perched on the rocks and the Teno Mountains to my left, it’s a fantastic sight.
I can see some of the other holes from this spot and suddenly feel like a little kid in a sweet shop.
As I place my putter back in my bag on the final green, I wonder why no one has been raving about this course. Are they just trying to keep it a secret? Who knows!
What I do know is that you need to play here, for Seve has created a real gem of a course and I’m sure that you will love every minute of it.
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