Saturday, May 04, 2019

Golf in Lanzarote, Canary Islands

Golf in Lanzarote
by Alan Gall

Lanzarote is one of the Canary Islands off the coast of North Africa.  For golf enthusiasts, the fact that it boasts at least 300 days of sunshine with temperatures varying between 20 and 30 degrees Celsius all year round, it has to be considered some sort of paradise.

The island currently has two courses.  Lanzarote Golf is situated in the main tourist centre of Puerto del Carmen, a mere 10 minutes from the airport. The course is around 10 years old and was designed by American course architect Ron Kirby who has retained the land’s natural undulations to create a most interesting layout which can be enjoyed by golfers of all levels.  Ron’s philosophy was to develop a course that was “fun and enjoyable for all players but never regarded as easy”.  

I believe that his wish has been delivered and golfers of all abilities will enjoy the experience.  The stunning views may well be distracting for some but surely a price worth paying!

Lanzarote is a volcanic island and some golfers may think of courses with “black sand” bunkers.  Lanzarote Golf has sand bunkers of which they are very proud!  However, shots that miss the generous fairways will find themselves not in rough grass but in volcanic lava which requires a unique approach to recovery.  

Greens are of Bermuda grass which may challenge those golfers with less experience of such surfaces but they are very consistent and respond to the correct technique.

The second and more mature course is Costa Teguise Golf which has been established since 1978 and designed by British architect John Harris. The most striking feature of the course is more than 3500 imported palm trees that line the fairways and are an alternative to grass rough for those who deviate from the middle of the fairways.  
The only way to lose a ball on the course is to hit it into the welcoming folds of an enormous palm tree.  As I did with my tee shot on the first hole!

The greens are quite different from the Bermuda grass of Lanzarote Golf, preferring the Poa annua variety with which British golfers may be more familiar.  

With very little rainfall annually, greenkeepers must find it very challenging to maintain an even growth throughout their courses, but based on my visit in April, they seem to have mastered the technique of using desalinated water delivered to the course.

At the moment, Lanzarote does not provide a “resort” type golf experience for groups of golfers in the way that its neighbour Tenerife does.  However, for the group or family looking for a variety of activities including golf, there are many really interesting destinations.  Despite a lack of water, vineyard managers have devised unique methods of growing vines within lava fields using semi circular walled “shelters” that protect the plants from wind and evaporation while gathering as much moisture as possible.

It is fascinating to see the process in practice and certainly worth testing the end product in both white and red varieties. Excellent!

Lanzarote is a volcanic island and at first sight may appear a little bleak.  That’s what I thought when I first visited in the early 1980’s.  Thanks to my amazingly knowledgeable guides this time round, I realise what I had missed. 

Too much to cover here but the island’s history from the 1700's is both scary and fascinating.  The national park of Timanfaya is a must destination for visitors.  From my favourite book on the area by Lazaro Santana, I read

 “Timanfaya’s beauty is the terrible beauty of desolation.  
There is, however, no room for drama on that black page, bristled by fire.”  

If you decide to visit Lanzarote, missing out on Timanfaya would be a tragedy!  Not only the present is interesting, but the history of arriving at the present is something to behold.

Brewdog may have to watch out based on my visit to NAO Lanzarote, in the capital of the island of Arrecife!  The name comes from the fishing district of Naos.  The base of this microbrewery used to be a fishing nets workshop at the end of the 19th century. 
In the words of the charming entrepreneur owner, “Now it is the place of seafaring refuge style”.

 I was presented with a very detailed and interesting review of microbrewing on the premises and left with a taste of a number of beers of varying types and strengths.  All of which were exceptional, I may say.  It was also clearly a “local” where the delights of the brewery were being enjoyed by all.  A really fascinating and enjoyable experience.  Highly recommended.

Key Facts
British Airways flies up to 6 times per week to Lanzarote from London Gatwick. Flights start from £36 each-way, based on a return fare in Euro Traveller (economy) from Jan 2020.

CTA: or

For more information on the destination please visit: or e-mail

Key destinations during the trip include:
-          Grand Teguise Playa Hotel****
-          Lanzarote Golf Resort
-          Princesa Yaiza Hotel *****L
-          Lava Beach Hotel
-          Bodegas Rubicón
-          Cervecería Nao
-          Art, Culture and Tourism Centres
-          Costa Teguise Golf
-          Aequora Lanzarote Suites
-          Centro Comercial Biosfera
-          Lanzaloe

Alan Gall, freelance journalist and amateur golfer, was a guest of the Spanish Tourist Office, transported by British Airways to Lanzarote from Glasgow via London Gatwick and return.  A special experience in the Spanish sunshine.



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