Past President of the European Institute of Golf Course Architects (EIGCA) David Williams has been appointed by the oldest club in Spain, Real Club de Golf de Las Palmas (1891) to undertake a course review and prepare a masterplan for the long-term development of the historic course, situated on the island of Gran Canaria.
Commenting on the appointment, David Williams stated “It is a great privilege to be appointed to assist RCG Las Palmas, one of Spain’s best and historic clubs, as well as one of the small number of Royal (Real) courses in the country. I look forward to the challenge of producing the masterplan and working in very close collaboration with the club members and officials.”
Although the original club was founded in 1891 adjacent to the city of Las Palmas, the growth of the city ultimately took over that original course, and the club took the decision in 1953 to re-locate to the present site at Bandama, outside the city and adjacent to a large but extinct volcano, the crater of which can be seen from the course and clubhouse.
Philip Mackenzie Ross, creator of Southerness and remodeller of Turnberry, was selected to design the new course, which opened in 1957. As Williams comments, “Mackenzie Ross did a magnificent job in routing the course on a small but undulating site, and the fact that the course continues to be such an excellent test of golf is testament to his original design work”
He continued, “Originally, the course was fairly open, but the planting of thousands of trees in the intervening years has totally changed the appearance, character and challenge of the course.”
Williams commenced his appointment with a three-day visit in early May 2018, initially walking the course in the company of Salvador Cuyás Morales, President, Mark Hammond, Captain, and Javier Suárez Fuentes, General Manager. As very low handicap players, the President and Captain played the course, in front of the watching Manager and Architect, who were very appreciative of the excellent golf played by both men, with many birdies. As David explained, “It was very useful seeing good players playing the course, which gave me an initial strong impression of the course and its challenge”.
Further course walks were undertaken during the other two days, accompanied by other members and officials, as well as a series of meetings, including with older members of the club, who could remember the early days of the current course. The club have also recently re-discovered the original Mackenzie Ross plans of the course and all 18 greens, which gave an interesting background to many of those discussions.
Further visits are planned for later this year to create and develop the masterplan, in full co-operation with club officials and all the members.
Pictured top: The club is very proud of its heritage as the oldest club in Spain
Real Club de Golf de Las Palmas www.realclubdegolfdelaspalmas.com
David Williams Golf Design www.williamsgolf.co.uk