Which is the best destination to play golf without having to check the thermometer or app the weather on your mobile phone? Head to the Canary Islands: lush volcanic gems of endless summer surrounded by the lapping blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean, over 15 golf courses, and the most exquisite spa treatments to rejuvenate the body, mind, and soul.
AN OPENING MARKET
Long past are the days where golf was primarily the exclusive domain of men and spas were the Mount Olympus of pampering for women. In fact, 30 million women participated in the World Golf Foundation by 2017, according to Golf Week magazine. And those numbers are growing. Women represent the fastest growing segment of new golfers. Similarly, the number of men visiting spas has spiked to nearly half of spa patrons (47%), according to the International Spa Association. Translated, golf vacations are no longer “guys” trips and spa vacations are equally attended my women and men. Imagine the delight of joining the two together in the warm and sunny Canary Islands, with five-star and four-star resort accommodations, world-class golf courses and delectable spa treatments. Should you happen to be a couple where one plays golf and the other prefers a day in the spa, these resorts have you covered, too. Whether traveling solo, as a family or as a couple, combining championship golf courses and exquisite spas are sure to provide an unforgettable luxury vacation for all.
WHAT GOLFERS DREAM ABOUT
As any golfer will tell you, there’s nothing quite like swinging a golf club to get the kinks out of the nooks and crannies of a body after sitting for hours on an airplane. Ah, that perfect stretch at the peak of the upswing with foot pivoted, body coiled, lead arm straight and stretching to the sky, and, the spring releases. That smooth pendulum down, arms straight, as the club makes contact with the ball, ending at that equally beautiful stretch and twist on the opposite side of the body after the follow-through. Then, there’s that heavenly “ping” when the face of the club hits the ball. Combine that experience with the exotic surroundings of a volcanic island next to the coast of Africa, and you have yourself the beginning of a fine vacation.
TEE OFF IN TENERIFE
The island of Tenerife is a golfer’s paradise, with several unique courses providing ample diversity of play for the expert, weekend warrior or holiday golfer. A prime example is the Real Club de Golf de Tenerife. Founded in 1932, the course is one of the oldest in Spain. The lush greenery and a particularly British atmosphere make for a fine round of golf with some challenging terrain and gorgeous views.
Other notable courses on the island include Golf Del Sur (ranked 29th in Spain) near Playa de La Tejita and Amarilla Golf & Country Club, with its quality golf academy and 18 holes right by the sea. For novices to the game, the island provides beginner-friendly courses like Los Palos Golf Center and Golf La Rosaleda in the north of the Island, near Puerto de La Cruz. Here, golfers can hone their skills surrounded by views of the dormant volcano El Teide, the Atlantic Ocean and the Orotava Valley.
DRIVING ON THE ISLE OF SOLITUDE
Fuerteventura offers at least two outstanding courses for all levels of play: Fuerteventura Golf Club, once host to the Spain Open tournament, and Salinas de Antigua Golf Club, which pays special attention to seamless integration into the beautiful local environment. Fuerteventura Golf Club is a great course to practice your game with manicured fairways and large greens. Salinas de Antigua Golf Club, recipient of the 2017 “Golfers Choice” award from LeadingCourses.com, has an excellent driving range, and is a unique course in design and detail with incorporated volcanic lava landscaping and local vegetation, making for some memorable holes. In the golf shop, merchandise and equipment caters to both the experienced golfer and the newcomer looking to build up on gear.
AN OTHERWORLDLY GREEN
Lanzarote is perhaps the most unique of the seven Canary Islands. Declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1993, the island provides a true golfer’s paradise with its spectacular surroundings and two championship courses running along the sides of old volcanoes, lush with vegetation, palm trees, and lava rock, and stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean. Costa Teguise Golf Course, designed by John Harris, is a championship course placed at the foot of an inactive volcano which is not only demanding, but stunning with its green grass, red earth and ocean views. The newer Lanzarote Golf Resort, designed by Ron Kirby, is a more forgiving course with wide fairways, and can be played by most golfers at varying levels of play.
All the courses in Lanzarote are remarkably well kept and conditioned. Facilities boast driving ranges, chipping and putting greens, clubhouses with lockers, private golf lessons, full service pro shops, and other amenities.
NEXT DESTINATION: THE SPA
Ah… the luxury of coming off a golf course, fatigued and ready for a long soak in a whirlpool, jacuzzi, or Turkish or Roman bath. With all-inclusive resorts, you just can’t beat it, with both golf and pampering. In fact, one nearly demands the other. A yin and yang of exertion, concentration, and practiced skill balanced with the release of tension, for mind and body, in the serene receptive atmosphere of soothing and healing modalities. Many are pleasantly surprised to learn that the golf courses mentioned above enjoy quality spa services nearby, often on the same property.
The moment you walk through the door in one of Iberostar’s Grand Hotel Salomé, for example, an elegant oasis of serenity, you feel your breath slow and deepen, inhaling the scents of calming aromatherapy. And I am not only talking about the gyms, although they have those too - fitness centers with every conceivable machine, contraption, weights, and classes galore. But for those who prefer some golf time, spa time, and to soak up the sun on the beach, in the water, or by a magnificent pool, the diverse SPA Sensations facilities boasts 1,000 square meters of space and on top of that, nearby the golfer has seven of the highest quality golf courses in the area to choose from. With options like these, the Canary Islands are your dream destination.
On Lanzarote, one of the most unique of the Canary Islands, Iberostar again matches the magic of the surroundings, offering the full range of SpaSensation services. You may just find yourself blissed out in a whirlpool hammock after an hour on the massage table to soothe your happy golf-tired muscles from a day out on the Lanzarote Golf Course. Or perhaps negotiating the technical challenges of the Costa Teguise course calls for a thermal bath at the Lanzarote Park family hotel in Yaiza.
AN IDEAL COMBINATION
Regardless of which island you choose, there’s no better way to end a vacation in the sun and sea than with a hydrating facial treatment to leave your skin glowing as bright as your spirit, or a steam bath that incorporates special herbs from southeast Asia. Whether a massage, thalassotherapy in a natural ocean water pool, or an exotic body wrap with facial, the skilled hands of the specialty-trained spa technicians at a luxury Canarian resorts are unparalleled. Each treatment is a delight, restoring your mind, body and spirt for yet another round of golf, another soak in a Turkish bath, and another dip in the endless blue waves, another day of putting practice. A golf and spa vacation? With the fabulous courses in the Canary Islands along with luxury resorts catering to elegance, service and rejuvenation, you truly can have it all. Believe me.
MARCIE WARRINGTON | 04/10/2017
Photography by Cordon Press