There are culturally significant anniversaries aplenty in 2017. The iconic Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band turned 50 earlier this year; Star Wars was released in cinemas 40 years ago; and, 20 years ago, we all shed a tear as Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet’s doomed love affair was sunk along with Titanic.
And, in 1987, 30 years ago, on the beautiful island of Tenerife, a second golf course opened – one that would, in the following years, host European Tour events and challenge and delight both professionals and holiday golfers alike.
That golf course was – and still is – Golf del Sur, originally designed by the prolific Pepe Gancedo and remodelled, in 2005, by Manuel Piñero. The only 27-hole facility on the island, Golf del Sur has seen some of the biggest names of golf’s modern era compete at the venue: José Maria Olazábal won the Tenerife Open there in 1989 and 1992, and Ernie Els and Phil Mickelson faced off in the 1995 Shell Wonderful World of Golf Tournament.
In 1999, it was the venue for two golfing world records with Briton Karl Woodward twice setting new highs for long driving. First he established a new record of 398 yards, before returning later in the year to break the 400-yard barrier with an effort of 408.
In the 21st century it was the turn of the lady professionals to tread the fairways in search of a prize pot, with the first Tenerife Ladies Open – part of the Ladies European Tour (LET) – taking place in 2002. And it returned to Golf del Sur in 2007.
The three nine-hole courses at Golf del Sur – the Links Course, North Course and South Course – afford an interesting and challenging round in whichever order they are played. The facility is renowned for its volcanic, black-sand bunkers, huge greens and wide fairways, surrounded by a great variety of native flora. Palms trees and giant cacti are all around on a course where conservation of flora and fauna has attained TÜV certified environmental status.
The water hazards, on holes three to five on the Links, have been known to ensnare even the best of players, while, on the North Course, the par-five, 480m third is flanked on the right by an impressive ochre rock canyon and on the left by wide sand rough, providing aesthetics and challenge in equal measure.
The South Course is no pushover either, with the green of the 196m, par-three second, for example, surrounded by a huge black-sand bunker ensuring accuracy is a prerequisite and Golf World magazine included the hole in its ‘100 classic holes’ listing.
Recent investment has seen a new fleet of buggies, new maintenance equipment and the construction of new bridges to improve access and security. In addition, the reception area and shop have been redesigned in a contemporary style.
Golf del Sur’s president, Zacarías Miguel Galindo González, said: “We are incredibly proud of the history of Golf del Sur and that we were the first golf club to be built in the south of the island. But golf is a competitive market, so while our history remains important to us, we have to ensure we are providing a 21st-century service and course to our members and visitors. And, with the recent investments we’ve made, we feel we’re well on the way to another successful 30 years.”
Average summer temperatures of 23°c on Tenerife provide the ideal climate to enjoy a relaxing golf break thanks to cooling trade winds; while – in contrast to almost everywhere else – golf and hotel rates are generally 20 per cent cheaper than in winter time.
Tenerife features nine different and varied layouts: Buenavista, Real Club de Golf de Tenerife in the north, and Golf Costa Adeje, Abama, Las Americas, Golf del Sur, Amarilla, and Los Palos in the south. Tecina Golf is a 40-minute ferry ride from the mainland on the beautiful island of La Gomera.
The island also offers 70km of beaches and a wide range of cultural highlights and activities both on and off the water, making it the ideal location for a golf break. Tenerife is served by two airports – Tenerife North and Tenerife South – with flight times of around four-and-a-half hours from the UK.