Inaugurated in 1989, and just one year later host to the European PGA Tour, Tenerife Open. Amarilla Golf and Country Club was designed by Donald Steel. This magnificent 5,846m par-71 course is, in my opinion, the most challenging golf course in Tenerife. High winds make club selection an art form.
How to successfully play this magnificent course from a pro’s and amateur’s point of view.
PGA of America
1st hole: Straightforward – par 4
380m from the whites; 356m from the yellows
Pro: your tee shot should be 285m to the centre of the fairway leaving a short, 95m wedge to a small green sloping from back to front.
Am: hit a 225m drive to the centre of the fairway. Then hit a 131m shot to the centre of the green. Two-putt and run away with the par.
2nd: Downhill – par 3
132m from the whites; 115m from the yellows
Pro: use at least one less club and charge the flagstick.
Am: hit one less club and go for the middle of the green. Take your par now. There’s lots of work left to do.
3rd: Straightforward but narrow – par 5
537m from the whites; 490m from the yellows
Pro: use an iron off the tee and hit the ball 195m to the centre of the fairway. A long, 225m second shot to the centre of the fairway will leave a short, 117m third to a sloping l-r green.
Am: hit a 3- or 5-wood 195m to the centre of the fairway. A long second shot of the same distance would be required for a 100m third to the green. Aim left on your second shot to get a good angle on your third shot to the green.
4th: A short uphill then downhill – par 4
346m from the whites; 334m from the yellows
Pro: hit a 3-wood 235m towards the centre. A 111m second shot downhill towards the sea will then be needed to reach the small green.
Am: hit a 225m to the centre, or centre-right of the fairway, leaving a short, 109m pitch shot to the downhill green. Take your time on club selection as it plays shorter than the yardage says due to the elevation of the fairway. Play the second as though it was 10m shorter than the yardage unless the wind picks up.
I hope you enjoyed the last four holes because this is where it starts getting interesting.
5th: Short – par 3
115m from the whites; 105m from the yellows
This par 3 is no push over even though it’s short. Take your time with club selection as the wind will most definitely play a factor. If you miss your shot off the tee, try to miss left of the green. The right side or short is reserved for double and triple bogeys. A par is as good as a birdie.
Pro: hit a right-to-left shot to the green. The green slopes left-to-right.
6th: Uphill, slight r-to-l dogleg – par 4
331m from the whites; 322m from the yellows
Pro: hit an uphill drive down the middle stopping 100m from the green. Then a short iron second shot to the right side of the green. Keep away from the right.
Am: hit a driver 215m to the centre of the fairway for a short second shot of 107m to the centre of the green. Wind, wind, and more wind is all you get from here on in. Club selection is the key, try to play low shots.
7th: Straightforward – par 4
360m from the whites; 348m from the yellows
Pro: hit a 250m drive leaving a relatively easy 110m second shot to the green. Again, keep it low, out of the wind.
Am: hit a 215m drive to the centre of the fairway and a second 133m shot to a medium sized green. Wind, wind and more wind.
8th: Long downhill – par 4
410m from the whites; 401m from the yellows
Pro: aim right and hit a 275m r-l drive; the fairway slopes left to right. This leaves 135m to an easy green.
Am: play this hole as a par five and hit a 200m drive, a second 101m and a third 100m to the green. Two-putt and accept the bogey.
9th: Slight downhill – par 3
140m from the whites; 130m from the yellows
Not a difficult little hole. Par shouldn’t be a problem here. Because of the tail wind you might want to take your time with club selection.
10th: Uphill – par 4
342m from the whites; 329m from the yellows
You’re still a long way away from the clubhouse.
Pro: hit a 242m drive aiming slightly centre-left of the fairway. This would leave a short 100m iron to a well-protected green.
Am: hit a 229m drive to the centre of the fairway leaving a short second shot to the green.
11th: Tricky – par 3
146m from the whites; 140m from the yellows
Club selection is the key. Go one or two clubs higher than normal. This is a tricky hole; if you’re going to miss the green make sure it’s to the left as the right is well protected. Par is great, bogey is good.
There are some fairly easy holes coming up.
12th: Slight dogleg l-r – par 5
478m from the whites; 465m from the yellows
Pro: aim to the centre of the fairway and work the ball left to right for 260m, leaving a 218m second shot to a slightly downhill green.
Am: it would be wise to stay centre-left of the fairway, or miss and hit a 210m drive down the middle. Lay up a 150m second shot down the middle for an easy 105m third shot to the middle of the green.
Check out the gorgeous pitch and putt on the right.
13th: Dogleg r-l – par 4
322m from the whites; 305m from the yellows
Pro: hit a long iron low, right to left for about 200m leaving a 122m second to the green.
Am: hit a 190m drive for a 115m second to the green.
I say low because the wind will send your ball in the hazard to the right if not.
14th: Dogleg l-r – par 4
340m from the whites; 328m from the yellows
Pro: aim centre-left of the fairway and work the ball 265m l-r for a short, 75m second shot at an elevated green.
Am: hit a 225m drive centre-right of the fairway, leaving a short, 103m second shot to the elevated green. Birdie is your objective but remember par is your friend
15th: Slight dogleg l-r – par 5
453m from the whites; 438m from the yellows
Pro: launch a 295m drive centre-right of the fairway to be left with a short, 158m second to the centre of the green; a possible eagle or a definite birdie awaits.
Am: a 240m drive to the middle of the fairway taking the right waste out of play. Then a long, 198m second shot to the centre of the green. The amateur should consider playing this hole aggressively as there’s usually a tail wind. Birdie is a definite possibility, but par is again your best friend.
16th: Straightforward but long – par 5
512m from the whites; 468m from the yellows
Pro: hit a 250m drive to the centre-left of the fairway leaving a long, 195m second shot into the wind. Then a 67m shot to a large uphill green sloping back to front.
Am: hit a 200m drive to the centre-left of the fairway, followed by a 150m second shot and a 118m third to the green. If you miss your drive, play this hole as a par-6. Limit the damage. The next hole will give you the opportunity to get that stroke back.
17th: Downhill, short dogleg r-l – par 4
327m from the whites; 306m from the yellows
Pro: hit a long iron to the 100m stake or, if you’re feeling lucky, go for it all the way.
Am: hit a 225m drive to the left of the fairway and let the ball roll down the hill. A short pitch is then required to onto a large green.
Stay left from the tee box. Danger awaits you on the right.
18th: Long – par 3
175m from the whites; 157m from the yellows
This hole is no pushover. Wind plays a big factor. Miss left as everything slopes left to right.
Amarilla Golf – The wind
I mentioned that this was probably the most difficult golf course on Tenerife. This is not because of the layout but because the wind plays a huge factor. A difference of two to three clubs won’t be rare so be patient and make sure you make the right club selection. Par is your friend and bogey can make a great acquaintance.