Sitting at the ninth hole of Golf Las Américas, I feel like I’ve been teleported out of Las Américas and onto a private island of palm trees, tropical plantings and exotic birds. Not even visible from the roads that surround it, Golf Las Américas is an oasis of calm and beauty. As far as the eye can see, emerald greens undulate, fringed by palm trees and backed by the Adeje Mountains whose refection shimmers in the rippling surface of the lake. All the bars, visitors, touts and general buzz of Playa de Las Américas have faded and what’s left is a genteel and elegant world of green.
I’ve never understood the attraction of golf.
For years I watched the look of ecstasy on the faces of male work colleagues as they loaded their clubs into the back of their 4x4s and headed off to a Cheshire golf course, muttering some nonsense about it being a valid part of the business day.
Having jumped off that corporate executive ladder to move to an island in the Atlantic, I find it quite ironic that I should now be sitting here at the ninth hole surveying a landscape that would have those same colleagues salivating.
And I’m still wondering, apart from the idyllic location, what on earth the attraction is.
This weekend, Spring Hotels held their third annual golf tournament at the Golf Las Américas course and 120 golfers drove, putted and chipped their way around this 18 hole, par 72 championship course.
The weather is good for the event; a thin blanket of white cloud is sheilding us from the intensity of the sun and a gentle breeze is blowing across the course ““ not enough to interfere with play but just enough to help keep the day’s humidity at bay.
A small marquee at the ninth hole serves as refreshment stop for the players; fresh sandwiches, pastries, fruit, coffee, soft drinks and wine have been prepared by the Spring Arona Gran Hotel and are being served by two smiling catering staff who insist on loading a plate with chocolate cakes and sticky pastries for me.
I”M setting up my notebook, tucking into the cakes and beginning to see the attraction of golf when Sir Old Golfer rolls up having just finished his round after an 8am tee off. I congratulate him on his third place showing on the leader board, but he laughs and tells me that the board is only showing the front nine. Having revealed my golfing virginity beyond all reasonable doubt, I return to my notes none the wiser.
Behind me a group of four men are discussing their morning’s performance.
“A few pars, couple of bogeys, no birdies“; no-one seems to have had a good morning, or if they have, they’re keeping their score cards close to their chests.
John Beckley turns up, half way through his round and tries to apologize to someone for his mobile “˜phone going off just as the guy’s about to swing. The resultant shot was a disaster. John’s worried; it would seem that some nerves are frayed and tensions are running high.
I thought golf was supposed to be a relaxing game.
Behind me, the relaxation has definitely kicked in; cold beers are washing down the universally acclaimed sandwiches and pastries and talk alternates between excuses – “I only get to play every couple of months, not like him, he’s on the course twice a week” and resignation; “Your round John, I’m playing rubbish anyway so I might as well enjoy the last eight“.
I’m beginning to uncover the addictive nature of this sport; there’s camaraderie and rivalry in equal measure which fuels a desire to improve performance bordering on the insane.
Plus the prizes look pretty neat.
As I head back to the club house on foot, I’m passed by a buggy being driven, beer in hand, by one of the players whose conversation I’ve been eavesdropping for the past hour or so.
Two thoughts occur to me; no wonder my former colleagues were always so eager to exchange the boardroom for the greens and, can you be done for being drunk in charge of a golf buggy?
Results for the Spring Hotels III Golf Tournament
First category men
Winner: Guillermo Moreno Masia ““ 40 points
Second: Rodrigo Hernandez Diaz ““ 37 points
Second category men
Winner: Aurelio Ricardo Perea Gonzalez ““ 40 points
Second: Kevin Anthony Spence and Tomas Elias Delgado Davis ““ 38 points
Third category men
Winner: Andres Afonso Guerra ““ 39 points
Second: Epifanio Jesus Hernandez Delgado and Jose Manuel Martin ““ 38 points
First category women
Winner: Maria Dominguez Jerez ““ 32 points
Second: Ana Maria Gonzalez Rodriguez ““ 29 points
Second category women
Winner: Maria Candelaria Carrillo ““ 34 points
Second: Marilyn Pendleton ““ 32 points