Canary Islands – A Golfers Paradise 

From 22nd of April to 9th of May, the focus of the world’s golfing community was on the Canary Islands. The Spanish Archipelago has been chosen as the destination for three consecutive PGA European Tour scoring tournaments, the Gran Canaria Lopesan Open (22 – 25 April), the Tenerife Open (29 April – 2 May) and the Canary Islands Championship (6 – 9 May).

These three events, known as the Canary Islands Swing, were milestones in the Canary Islands’ golfing scene, as it is the first time that the archipelago hosted more than one tournament of the European circuit in the same season.

Yaiza Castilla, Minister of Tourism, Industry and Trade of the Canary Islands Government, was thrilled the island was chosen to host the prestigious golfing tournaments and believes it will be hugely beneficial to the islands as a sporting destination.

Castilla says “hosting the European Tour definitely positions the Canary Islands as a place ready and open to host all kinds of professional sporting events and places the Islands in the centre of golf tourism destinations. The golf industry is one of the important pillars of tourism recovery in the Canary Islands. The Islands can attract that type of premium traveller who usually chooses their vacation spot based on the opportunities they have to do their sport and who ensures highly relevant tourist expenditure at the destination, which is also strongly linked to the local economy.”

More than 150 of the world’s top golfers, from over 15 countries, are participating in this three-race stretch, with a total prize purse of €1.5 million. Viewing numbers for these tournaments were upwards of 300 million in over 150 countries, with channels such as The Golf Channel, Sky Sports and Movistar Golf broadcasting the events.

Keith Pelley, CEO of the European Tour, assures that “we are very grateful to return to the Canary Islands, where they have welcomed us in an extraordinary way.

José Juan Lorenzo, Managing Director of Canary Islands Tourism, says “an event like this provides us with an ideal communication ecosystem to develop surgical marketing actions in crucial segments for our recovery.”

First Class Golf Courses

The Canary Islands have some of the best professional golf courses in Europe, some of which are designed by world champions such as Severiano Ballesteros and José María Olazábal or renowned architects such as Juan Cartineu, Blake Stirling and Marco Martín, specialists in making climatic conditions part of the design.

Winner of the Tenerife Open 2021, South African, Dean Burmester, played at Golf Costa Adeje and thoroughly enjoyed his time in the Canaries, both on and off the golf course.

Burmester says, “It’s been incredible. We’re at the 25th, it doesn’t get any better than this. The golf courses are very good, the hotel offer is very wide-ranging, the beaches are great, the people are very friendly, the food is world class. I have no complaints. It’s great to be able to play on courses like these. We don’t get many opportunities like this. These courses have features that you don’t see anywhere else in the world, so people should come here to play”.

The prestigious golf architect José Gancedo, the creator of Golf Costa Adeje, took advantage of the natural features of the terrain and old banana plantations to integrate them into the course. Having paspalum grass on the fairways and tifEagle on the greens allow the course to be irrigated with purified water.

German, Nicolai von Dellingshausen, participated in all three PGA European Tour tournaments, and loved playing at Golf Costa Adeje. He explains, “It’s a very nice course to play, I love the stone walls and the sea views. The biggest difficulty of the course is its small Bermuda greens, which require great precision putting the ball on the green on each hole,”.

The first of these three events kicked off at Meloneras Golf with the Gran Canaria Lopesan Open, organized by Rafa Cabrera Bello, Canary Islands player, Ryder Cup Team Member and four-time winner of the European Tour.

Rafa Cabrera Bello explains, “When I was little, the Tour landed in Gran Canaria, on the Maspalomas Golf Course. I remember watching Severiano Ballesteros and José María Olazábal play against Lee Westwood. It was a blast. I am passionate about the growth of golf in the Canary Islands,” explains Cabrera Bello.

With a par 70 of 6,715 yards, Meloneras Golf was designed by Ron Kirby and inaugurated in 2006. It was the sixth course to be built in Gran Canaria, of the 24 that currently exist on the islands. “It’s very nice, built for tourism, with generous fairways and designed to accommodate many players in a single day. The views are incredible,” says Rafa Cabrera Bello.

International Recognition

Tenerife was recognisedas one of the 15 best golf destinations in the world for 2020 in the IAGTO awards, granted during the last edition of the International Golf Travel Market (IGTM), which is the largest professional fair for destinations, agencies, tour operators and golf-related companies.

To date, 11 tournaments of the European circuit had been played in the Canary Islands, home to the Real Club de golf de Las Palmas, the oldest course in Spain. Of the tournaments, seven were held in Tenerife, three in Gran Canaria and one in Fuerteventura. The last one was played in Tenerife, in 2005, when John Bickerton won the Abama Open de Canarias. The Tenerife Open was also held five times on the island between 1989 and 1994.

Canary Islands, Top Sports Destination

The Canary Islands has become well-known within the global fitness community as a training and competing destination for elite sportsmen and women. The archipelago’s low number of Covid cases, great weather and diverse landscape make for perfect conditions for top-level training and preparation for athletes from all specialties.

In addition to the best sailors in the world, who have chosen Lanzarote to prepare for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, surfers, triathletes, swimmers, paragliders, beach volleyball players and cyclists from all over the world choose the Canary Islands as their training base. There are also national and top-level teams, such as Jumbo-Visma or INEOS Grenadiers in cycling, preparing for the major competitions of the season on the slopes of the Archipelago.

The natural landscape of the Canary Islands, together with its specialised infrastructure for high-level training, make the archipelago a paradise for professional training and active sports for both professional athletes and different kinds of amateur travellers.

With average temperatures of 23º in summer, 19º in winter and 4,800 hours of daylight per year, the archipelago’s climate is also a great benefit for athletes coming to the Canaries for training. Athletes of all disciplines travel to the Canary Islands, especially during the winter months, to escape the cold European weather and continue their training.

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For more information on the Canary Islands, please contact Niamh Waters