Amarilla Golf Club Feature Review
Amarilla Golf Club comprises a Donald Steel designed 18 holes as well as a 9-hole pitch and putt course on the sunny southern shore of Tenerife. The main course, which has hosted tour events, meanders down towards the spectacular Atlantic Ocean before heading North towards Mount Teide in the distance.
Having attained the coveted Highly Recommended status from independent Golfshake reviewers, Ambassador Rob Treanor set sail to report on the course as part of a trip to Tenerife.
A Quick Guide To Tenerife
The beautiful island of Tenerife delivers on year round sunshine and has an ideal climate for golf. The island’s volcanic heritage provides spectacular scenery to enjoy, interesting terrain to navigate and, with temperatures in the mid-twenties in December, it is one of the best destinations for a short haul winter sunshine break.
Though closer to Africa than mainland Europe, peak temperatures in the summer months are perhaps surprisingly capped at around 29°C; meaning golf can be enjoyed in warm but not stifling conditions throughout the year. The island boasts plenty of other activities including world-class water parks, zoos, trekking and canoeing. This means that golf at one of the island’s seven clubs can either take centre stage, or be one of a range of activities for visitors.
Intro To Amarilla Golf
There are a handful of holes I have played in my life which have truly stayed with me; and one of these is at Amarilla. The course is typical of those on the beautiful island of Tenerife’s south coast; with stunning views, resort style architecture framing the holes and wind which adds an extra dimension of challenge to the round. What sets Amarilla apart is it’s use of the ocean and other natural features to sculpt the holes. Renowned architect Donald Steel designed the course to make maximum use of the natural features of the land and the ocean. Since opening in 1989 he stays in regular contact with the club to advise on modifications and future plans, of which the owners have many.
The club shares its border with the nature reserve of the Amarilla (Yellow) Mountain to the West and the club’s proximity to the natural landscape has fuelled its passion for sustainability. This is evidenced by the recently upgraded irrigation system, which is powered entirely by gravity as opposed to electric pumps. Water is a scarce resource in Tenerife, particularly in the South where it rains only a handful of days a year.
Front Nine Overview
The fifth is one of the greatest golf holes I have ever played. A short par 3, it is played over the Atlantic Ocean often into a strong breeze to a double tiered green which appears small but is actually deceptively large. From the tee you can see all the way down to where the craggy cliff is buffeted and bashed by the waves of the ocean. This high drama makes shot selection extremely important as anything short will end up with the fish. Overshooting and landing on the top tier of the green when the flag is down below results in a frighteningly fast putt which will inevitably finish in the rough (or even worse- beyond!) given the severity of the green’s slope. There is immense danger present here but ultimate bragging rights for nailing it!
The ninth is a great driving hole; playing downhill all the way from an elevated tee box to a generous fairway. The sculpting of the fairway’s left hand side can offer a generous bump forward for balls played to this side which also affords the best line into the green. A bunker filled with dreamy white powdery sand will catch anything short and right of the green is further framed by attractive palm trees. The green slopes from front to back and has with multiple undulations and borrows to account for. A lovely hole, it is also very scoreable.
Back Nine Overview
The commanding sixteenth is a brutal par 5 that plays uphill to a imperious viewpoint. The first of three recently remodelled holes, it features barrancas (Spanish for canyon) on either side of the fairway, which have been beautifully planted with native species of shrubs and trees. Whilst beginning generously, the fairway narrows as it progresses; a hallmark of intelligent course design designed to make the golfer think. A true three shotter, it has certainly taken others four shots to climb the summit towards the beautiful green under the watchful eye of Mount Teide!
The final hole is also a recent addition and is the longest of the par 3s. Played over a familiar but unforgiving barranca, the green is a very good size but due to the length of the hole it will take a great strike to reach. This is a very pretty hole which really crowns an exhilarating and exciting round!
Post Round Thoughts
The club has a lovely colonial style clubhouse with a gorgeous terrace to enjoy a post round cerveza and admire the views down towards the Atlantic. The adjacent glass walled restaurant allows guests to stay long into the night enjoying excellent local food. The popular par 3 course allows golfers of all standards to enjoy the scenery, making it an ideal venue for a first time golfer or more relaxed family outing before progressing to the full course.
The club has big plans for the future, with the opening of further holes (perhaps up to a total of 36, though this is still under discussion) plus a full golf academy with improved driving range, purpose built professional shop and a pitch and putt course. The potential highlight is the proposed new clubhouse which will be built near the marina, offering spectacular ocean views.
The course played beautifully and offered an excellent mix of different holes, both long and short. The sun hangs ever present in the Tenerifian sky, though the wind is a little less predictable, providing an interesting links style challenge.
I had tremendous fun playing at Amarilla and was very impressed with the management team and their exciting plans for the future. Few holes in world golf could rival the dramatic 5th hole played over the Atlantic Ocean. If you take the trouble to visit you are guaranteed an amazing experience and with a bit of luck, you may even join the list of names to have achieved a hole in one.
- There are five par 3s, which means that the club often celebrates a hole in one with guests; so practice your short irons at the range pre-round.
- Sunrise and sunset are both stunning times to play given the positioning on the Southern tip of the island.
- Golf in Tenerife is excellent value and with further investment on the horizon now is a great time to experience the great quality golf and the island’s other offerings!
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