Image: Golf Las Americas
This month I was lucky enough to compete on tour in Tenerife. Perhaps you missed the recent coverage on Sky Sports Golf. So did Sky and just as well. What goes on tour stays on tour.
The annual ‘Cheshire Nomads’ claret jug trophy was up for grabs during a golfing break on foreign turf. Our long-standing society of golfing mates had played some amazing courses in Spain, Turkey and Morocco in previous years but COVID had caused a three-year break.
However, this year the wait was over. We were off to the sun-drenched courses of Morocco and a few refreshing liveners in a variety of shady 19th holes. Or so we thought.
Our jet wasn’t easy
And then, with three weeks to go, our airline cancelled our flights. At least we had some notice, unlike many travellers this half-term.
So what do we do now? Years of planning plunged into chaos. At this point, playing anywhere in any weather was a bonus as long as it was warm, sunny and not within UK jurisdiction.
Image: Golf del Sur
We catch a break
Our golf holiday company came to the rescue. They were great and rebooked us to the internationally famous golfing island of Tenerife. None of us had ever considered the option of a Canary Island for a golf break let alone played there. It was going to be a brand new golfing experience, but mostly for Tenerifians who may not have had been made aware of our previous golfing reputation.
The big day finally arrived. Surprisingly for a bunch of grumpy mature men, we all passed the Manchester Airport pre-flight patience test of long queues at check-in and security, only to learn our flight had been delayed. Not happy.
There’s only one cure for a delayed flight. We found the bar and eventually the correct gate. A few hours later we stepped off the plane into a wall of heat and bright sunshine that brought a smile to our faces and a new sense of optimism.
We were booked on three courses, Golf Las Americas, Golf del Sur, and Golf Costa Adeje, and with no experience of golf in Tenerife, we weren’t sure what to expect. We needn’t have worried. Beautiful views of volcanos and fairways flowing down to the sea, palm trees lining pristine fairways, and superb quality courses. Millionaire golf without the worry of all that cash.
Image: Golf Costa Adeje
Tour golf for rank amateurs
Costa Adeje staged the Tenerife Open European Tour event last year and now they were hosting the Nomads Claret Jug. They were ready. The practice putting area provided clues to the challenges we would face on the greens – incredible slopes combined with a stimpmeter reading in the mid-teens. Freshly felted snooker tables are a lot slower.
It was a tough test but incredibly enjoyable golf. As a keen amateur it provided a clear demonstration of how good the tour players really are.
A good round punished
The Cheshire Nomads tour competition takes the form of three stableford rounds of golf and hinges around a handicapping system that would baffle any algorithm.
After every round shots are deducted for winning performances (punishment) or added for poorer scores (encouragement) to keep players in the hunt for the claret jug. Official handicaps have no bearing on tour and a high-point-scoring winning round will attract a big shot deduction. Only fair for showing off.
The Nomads have handicaps ranging from 8 to 28, and bar a couple of exemptions, our handicaps went up after Tenerife. The overall Nomads Champion Golfer of 2022 started round one playing off 11 and finished round three playing off 2. Golfing justice.
It takes a couple of years to get back to a competitive handicap again but that’s the way it works on tour. Let’s see how good he is playing off 2 next year. That’ll teach him.
Image: Golf Las Americas
To sum up, Tenerife is absolutely Tenerrific for golf. We had a brilliant time. I will surely go back someday. I’m looking forward to playing at whichever venue our newly elected tour organiser might choose, subject to being allowed entry into that country. There’s a reason they call us Nomads but that will stay on tour.
Play well on tour
Neil Hart is a co-inventor of the PuttBANDIT ball marker and a new fan of golf in tenerife.
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