As the Ryder Cup encourages golfers to dust off their clubs again, STEVE WILSON visits Sheraton
Salobre in Maspalomas where the weather and welcome are more reliable than his swing.
The Ryder Cup may have tempted you to dust off the golf clubs – until you look out of the window.
September has been unseasonably pleasant so far this year, but we all know it won’t last as we roll into October and beyond.
You just can’t trust our weather in these parts.
But there’s a lovely island where you can. And just a few hours away, it’s within easy reach.
Flying with Monarch, the island of Gran Canaria has become an increasingly popular holiday destination in recent times and it’s easy to understand why.
It’s a diverse landscape but the sunshine and temperature is about as constant as you can find.
For those of us who start to wilt when the thermometer hits the red zone but want to feel the warmth of the sun on our face, there are few better places to suit our needs.
The temperature remains constant in the mid-20s throughout the entire year, the sunshine is almost guaranteed and Sheraton Salobre Golf Resort & Spa provides the kind of relaxing welcome that will restore your sense of tranquility - if that’s your thing.
If you fancy a week away in the quiet autumnal months or when the kids are back at school, you will struggle to find somewhere that caters for so many needs in a fine hotel in a spectacular location.
Some will happily take their books, soak up the sun, use the spa facilities and enjoy themselves at any of the four restaurants and two bars on the resort.
But for us occasional golfers who want to combine their hobby around some relaxation time, this is an ideal place to test your skills on some fantastic courses.
There are two to choose from at Salobre – both very different – and one of them, the New Course, requests you to hit some tee shots that are straight from a Tiger Woods computer game as you fire over gaping ravines or from huge elevated tees to the lush fairways below.
It opened in 2008, it’s great fun but it will not be everyone’s cup of tea.
It’s certainly unusual but it’s worth the experience as long as you don’t take it too seriously, even if you’ll often see one of your wayward shots plummeting towards oblivion if your skills are as erratic as mine.
My playing handicap of 15 is no longer official, but it still just about holds up under scrutiny.
The Old Course, opened in 2000, is the more sensible older brother but it’s a more traditional test with some fabulous holes and views of the sea and mountains.
The par-three 11th is jaw-dropping as you tee off from an elevated position halfway up a cliff before you hit a long iron to the green seemingly miles below.
There are two other great courses also within easy reach from Sheraton Salobre with Anfi Tauro and Meloneras both offering different tests.
But even if your golf is not up to standard, the hotel is a stunner with an intimate and relaxed atmosphere in an extraordinary design that is effectively built into a mountain.
With 313 rooms and seven different swimming pools – one of which is the sunset poole with incredible panoramic views – there is also one of those buffets that keeps asking you to go back again.
Just 10 minutes on the free hotel shuttle bus is a beautiful beach at Maspalomas.
At the end of your stay, it’s so hard to leave it all behind.
A week golf’s on a half-board basis with four rounds (Salobre Old, Salobre New, Anfi Tauro, Meloneras) from November is 1093.75 euros pp / week
Monarch operates year-round flights to Gran Canaria from Birmingham and Manchester airports with fares, including taxes, starting from £79.99 one way (£115.98 return). For further information or to book Monarch flights, Monarch Holidays or Monarch Hotels, please visit monarch.co.uk