Playing golf in the UK is never going to be year-round, therefore every now and then we all need to get away and play golf in the sun.
So where do we go year-round to play golf in temperates with an everage of around 23 Centigrade? The Simple answer is the Canary Islands and we feature in this blog the spectacular island of La Gomera.
Where is La Gomera?
Located to the south west of Tenerife, La Gomera is the second smallest island in the Canaries archipelago.
How do I get there?
The island is accessible either by Ferry or by Air. The first option which appears to be the most cost effective and most popular is the Fred Olsen Ferry which operates three times daily between Los Cristianos and San Sebastian, covering the 45 kilometre journey in a little over 50 minutes.
The alternative, would be to fly from Tenerife North Airport directly into Playa Santiago airport, a short hop of less than 30 minutes and one that should be considered if perhaps your stay on the island is short and perhaps time is a little tight for your trip.
A potted cultural history of the island
Like most islands it has an interesting history, the Berbers were the first inhabitants of the Canary Islands and on La Gomera survived on farming and agriculture and the breeding of livestock. The conquest of La Gomera took place at the beginning of the fifteenth century by Jean Bethencourt and after a period of peace time with the islanders and their invaders living in harmony.
The island also played a major role in the discovery of America, when on the 6th of September 1492 Christopher Columbus with his three caravels stopped to take on supplies and departed for the New World.
The Climate & Geology
The island has two micro-climates, completely different between the North and the South.
The North is a more stable climate with lower temperatures created through the trade winds passing through and promoting growth of a greater variety of vegetation. The South is downwind and consequently the temperatures are higher at around 22 degrees Centigrade with the best beaches on the island being located here.
La Gomera is the only island in the Archipelo not to be affected by Volcanic activity, therefore, over millions of years the island has developed into an island of steep mountain ranges with deep canyons and escarpments, the high point on the island is the Garajonay Peak at just under 4,878 feet (some four hundred feet higher than Ben Nevis) and has an area and National Park named after it.
Where to stay?
Situated overlooking the rugged coastline of Playa de Santiago, the crown in the jewel of La Gomera has to be the Hotel Jardin Tecina, this four star hotel the largest on the island was the venue for the 8th Fred Olsen Challenge de Espana 2016 and one of my many reasons for my visit.
On arrival at the hotel you could be forgiven for thinking that you had travelled back in time, the hotel is designed in typical Canaries architecture with beautiful white washed walls adorning a majority of the hotel.
The hotel is spread across a vast area with the golf course, banana plantation and clifftop surrounding it. There are numerous different types of rooms to choose from here, given a choice I would choose to pay a small supplement to stay in one of the numerous sea view rooms, the views are spectacular whichever one you choose.
The hotel is surrounded by extensive gardens that can only be described as impressive with numerous different types of flora and shrubs, small trees and a Banana plantation. All great hotels have their share of swimming pools, however, the Hotel Jardin Tecina can offer three very different pools to enjoy, the largest pool which is very much centralised to the hotel itself is quite big and has both a children’s area with inflatable platform and also an adult area.
The second pool is located in one of the quieter areas of gardens adjacent to the duplex rooms and is a smaller pool used mainly by adults looking for peace and tranquillity. The third pool is located at Club Laurel,which as its own bar and Italian Trattoria restaurant with chill-out area, located down at the beachfront.
Whist staying at the hotel there is a varied choice of restaurants, the main restaurant opens for breakfast and evening buffet dinner, with numerous hot and cold dishes. The international restaurant serves a wide selection of varied hot and cold buffet local dishes. Italian fare with pizza’s cooked in a wood stove oven and a numerous selection of pasta are on the menu at the Trattoria Club Laurel (adjacent to the beach). Lunch and dinner are also served here in the El Laurel with grilled meats and fish & fresh locals salads overlooking the beach. The Gara Restaurant specialises in Canarian cuisine and wines from the region in a cosy and intimate atmosphere, not to be missed.
What are the golf facilities?
The 18-hole championship golf course is just a few minutes walk away from the hotel, for those who wish to use it there is a with complimentary shuttle bus between the hotel and golf clubhouse. Once checking in for your tee-time you are then either taken by mini-bus to the first tee (high above the golf clubhouse) or alternatively in your own golf buggy, drive time back up the golf course to the first tee by buggy take around 10 minutes.
This 18-hole championship golf course plays from the 1st Tee downhill across the steep mountainside so keep to the right of most fairways to ensure there are no lost balls!
The par-3 4th hole is nothing short of spectacular with the green immediately in front of you, just a simple carry over the first banking of flora and scrubland of just over 120 or so yards and then another 120 yards to the front of the next area of scrubland, all-in all just under 300 yards carry from the tee. Going too far right gives a difficult chip shot over the green side bunker, go left and your ball will disappear down into the abyss of space rocks and huge ravine, so a simple straight shot, not too long, not too short will be perfect.
The golf course is by far one of the greenest and prettiest on offer anywhere in the Canaries and one that should be added to your bucket list of must-play golf courses in this group of islands.
Staying here at the hotel is an experience one for those who wish to relax, play a little golf on a great golf course amongst some beautiful natural surroundings.
What’s Here & What Should I See?
San Sebastian is the capital city on the island and is the arrival point for the majority of visitors to the island, arriving on the ferry from either Tenerife, El Hierro or La Palma, a stopping point for many cruise liners from all over Europe. San Sebastian also has a tourist harbour where many visitors moor their yachts whilst they discover what else the island has to offer.
Places of Interest on the island to visit are:
The Garajonay National Park located at the centre of the island which because of its height and elevation has an attractive forest called Laurisilva, which has developed and grown due to the high percentage of humidity and fog.
Valley Gran Rey located on the Western side of the island is a must with a major source of tourist, with great beaches on the coast and beautiful hamlets of Arure, Taguluche and Las Hayas in the interior of the region.
Vallehermoso is the largest region and stretches from the North to the South and consequently has a varied range of micro-climates and includes the fertile canyons of El Ingenio and Macayao.
Agulo is the smallest region on the island and is located on the West coast, the region is named after the town which is located in one of the two areas of the region, which is downtown and the other is high up above on the high hill of Las Rosas, where apart from a spectacular view of the town below, on a clear day the views across to Mount Teide some 50 kilometres away are breath-taking.