Only a short flight from the rest of Europe, Majorca (or Mallorca as it is spelt locally) is one of the most beautiful islands in the Mediterranean.
The climate in scenic Majorca is perfect for golf, with hot summer sun but refreshing sea breezes, little rain, mild winters and an average yearly temperature of 21 degrees. However, booking an early tee time and plenty of sun-screen is recommended if playing in summer!
There is a wide choice of accommodation in Majorca to suit all budgets and, with the opening of the prestigious Son Gual Golf Course in 2007 bringing the total number to 24, a wide choice of golf courses. All are set in scenic layouts amongst the colourful Mediterranean flora and offer a year round challenge, top class facilities and excellent customer care.
The prestigious Son Gual Golf Course
We were recently invited to sample three of these magnificent courses and can heartily recommend the layouts of scenic Alcanada in the North East of the island, of prestigious Son Gual and of the typically Spanish San Muntaner, both close to Palma and the airport.
Son Gual Golf Club
Located just off the main road from Palma to Manacor, near the delightful capital of Palma and the airport, Son Gual is laid out on beautiful Majorcan terrain overlooking the “Valley of 1000 Windmills” and the bay of Palma with the Tramuntana Mountains as a backdrop.
The majestic Thomas Himmel-designed course is the brainchild of Adam Pamer, a German industrialist whose dream is to leave as his legacy the best course on the island. No expense was spared to achieve this goal, and the project is rumoured to have cost a substantial €45m! The know-how of 26 green keepers has been called upon and only the best possible equipment is used.
The course which was completed in 2007 has already been praised by the world of golf and has quickly established itself as one of Europe's top quality golf venues. It has played host to the 2009 Mallorca Senior Open when former Ryder Cup captain Ian Woosnam compared its greens to those at Augusta National.
Son Gual is a private, family-run members' club, where guests receive a warm and friendly welcome as well as personal attention.
On arrival, you will be impressed by the well-appointed terracotta-coloured clubhouse, the top-quality facilities and the panoramic views over the course. At which point you may also notice the huge teeing off areas averaging 900 sqm, larger than many courses greens!
Son Gual - The well-appointed terracotta-coloured clubhouse
You will be offered the choice of a buggy or a Segway as your means of transport. If you feel tempted by the latter, which enables you to get right to your ball instead of sticking to the buggy paths, make sure you have a good practice beforehand, as the 1st tee is perched up at the highest point of the course, and you will be faced with a steep slope down to the green and may well regret not choosing the safer option.
The demanding championship course runs in two long loops around a remarkable old Grand Palacio. It is very scenic with hundreds of ancient olive trees and miniature vineyards.
There is plenty of water with seven lakes coming into play and a 1.2km artificial river with 28 separate cascades and a waterfall beneath the clubhouse on the 18th. There is also plenty of sand with 66 strategically placed bunkers, among which a massive sand trap measuring 240m X 84m, at the par-4 3rd hole.
To add to the challenge the undulating greens are huge with subtle breaks and run-off areas, three putts are not excluded… The pars 3s are particularly outstanding. Most memorable is the 5th where the dome-like green seems to be waiting to send your ball back to the water you’ve just carried or into the sand at the back.
Son Gual - The sea of sand at the 3rd
Testing Son Gual has been designed for championship golf but six tee boxes and a fifteen-minute tee time interval make sure every golfer enjoys his round.
Although it may seem expensive - a round here will cost you €150 - the overall experience is worth every cent. As one visitor put it: "Fantastic course design, magnificent greens, a great test of golf and what a club house!"
Situated in the north of Majorca, Club de Golf Alcanada enjoys a great location between the spectacular Bay of Alcudia and the mountains of the Sierra de Lavante, providing superb views in all directions. In fact, it boasts stunning sea views from seventeen of its holes and has a white lighthouse on a small island just offshore as a focal point. The day we played, the mountain across the bay was deep blue and truly spectacular.
Alcanada - Stunning views over the Bay of Alciuda and its lighthouse
The course sits right by the sea amongst pines and olives and hosts some rare species of birds. You are surrounded by nature here, no villas line the fairways, no noise at all, it is very peaceful and relaxing. Furthermore, to make your round even more enjoyable, the tee-time intervals have now been changed from 10 to 12 minutes so that you should never feel either pushed or held up.
You are guaranteed a good lie everywhere on the fairways. The whole course is immaculate yet has a very natural feel, as no earth was moved to build it and the gently undulating terrain naturally slopes down towards the bay.
The Trent Jones-designed course is testing with the wind coming into play most of the time, 58 well placed bunkers, some tough tee shots, creeks and its own Amen Corner (6-7-8), but above all its sculpted greens with hidden breaks.
You will nevertheless relish the challenge and you will not forget Alcanada’s undulating greens. Indeed the very tricky green of the innocuous-looking 4th hole or the 14th green, particularly challenging when the pin is on the top tier, may be the main topic of your conversation on the terrace of the old stone clubhouse.
Son Muntaner, one of three courses belonging to Arabella Golf, nestles between the hills of Son Vida and the island capital Palma.
features a great variety of beautiful holes, with large, difficult greens and pretty water hazards.
It boasts many ancient, native Mediterranean trees, among which the "Sa Capitana", the oldest olive tree on the island, 6.5 metres (about 21 feet) in diameter and said to be over 1,000 years old.
Son Muntaner - The beautiful clubhouse offers magnificent views over the course
Kurt Rossknecht, who designed San Muntaner in 2000, meant it to be in bloom all year round and this delightful course proudly holds two important environment-friendly certificates. Lakes, numerous different bird species and Mediterranean flora also add to the natural character of the course, while multiple tees allow golfers of all levels to enjoy their game here.
In a nutshell, a good testing golf course for all handicap golfers, an enjoyable round in pleasant surroundings, excellent facilities, excellent food and beer (or vino tinto) on the sunny clubhouse terrace.
The Castillo Hotel Son Vida, Majorca is a turreted 13th century building in a characteristic Majorcan country house style. Surrounded by Mediterranean gardens and the Son Vida Golf course, the hotel offers magnificent views over the bay of Palma.
Situated in the east of the island
in an area known for its tranquility and for being very close to Punta de N´Amer, a protected wildlife area, and only 70 kilometres from the Palma de Mallorca Airport.
The hotel is nestled in 12,000 m2 of gardens.
Its facilities include a bar/cafeteria and a lounge with a piano bar. It also has a fully renovated spa, an outside swimming pool,
tennis courts, a reading and games room, a television room and two conference rooms...
HOW TO GET THERE?
Leading leisure airline Monarch offers year-round flights to Majorca from Gatwick and Manchester airports and flights during the summer season from Birmingham and London Luton with fares, including taxes, starting from £47.50 one way (£78.99 return).
In addition to year-round low fares, Monarch also offers a range of hot and cold meals onboard with prices from £3.00. Seats can be pre-booked at £4.99 per one-way flight to avoid the last minute free-for-all experienced on some other airlines, or from only £9.99, extra-legroom seats are available, which offer up to six inches of extra space.
Passengers travelling on scheduled flights can also avoid the queues at the airport and take advantage of online check-in which is available between 18 days and 4.5 hours prior to departure.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Patricia Mandado Gil
Dpto. Eventos -Golf y Deportes Náuticos-
Agència de Turisme de les Illes Balears (ATB)
Tel: +34 971177210
Fax: +34 971177155
Carrer Rita Levi, s/n - Parc Bit
07121 Palma - Spain