Golf Course Architecture - Issue 68, April 2022

55 Whenever a club or course is especially venerable, there is an extra responsibility on the shoulders of those who steward it. Golfers are by nature relatively conservative: witness the difficulty in getting alternative forms of the game, whether they be courses of non-standard length, new formats for competition or whatever, accepted by the mass of players. As the oldest club in Spain, therefore, Real (Royal) Las Palmas on the island of Gran Canaria, is a precious artefact. Established in 1891 by British military and commercial gentlemen resident in the Canaries – the island was an important staging post for British maritime interests – the original course was located downtown in Las Palmas, next to the iconic Santa Catalina Hotel, which remains to this day the grandest address in the city – and whose founders were also instrumental in the foundation of the golf club. Exclusively a British club for the first forty years or so of its history, the club transitioned to being authentically Spanish over a twenty-year period. But the growth of Las Palmas made the course untenable after World War Two (as club member Alejandro Nagy of wrote in the October 2016 issue of GCA) and so, in the 1950s, the club upped sticks and moved out of the city to a spectacular site in the mountains, right next to the caldera of the extinct volcano that created the island. British golf architect Philip Mackenzie Ross, the man who recreated Turnberry after the war, was hired to design the new course, and the club has gone on very happily ever since. Photo: Real Las Palmas