Majorca has quickly closed the gap on those perennial pacesetters, Costa del Sol and the Algarve, in the league table of Europe’s top golf destinations.
And it’s not hard to see why. The island is just over a two hour flight from the UK and golf can be played there throughout the year, thanks to hot summers and mild winters. And as the island is quite compact, it’s not far from one track to the next.
Majorca now boasts 24 courses. Though a lot of the courses still rely heavily on holiday-makers paying a green fee they now go for quality over quantity. And two of the best quality courses on the island are Son Gual and Alcanada – both were chosen as founding members of the Leading Golf Courses of Spain group.
The stunning Thomas Himmel-designed Son Gual course is less than 20 minutes from Palma airport and opened in 2007. It has already staged a European Tour event – won by former Ryder Cup captain Mark James. Son Gual is not cheap – it cost a reputed 30million euros to build - but the ethos is firmly on enjoyment and relaxation. Tee-times are at 15mins intervals and they are happy for you to break off after nine holes and have a quick snack and refreshing beer on the terrace.
You’ll relish the challenge of negotiating the 66 bunkers, an outstanding collection of par-3s and one of best closing holes in Europe – a 544-yards par-5 with two stretches of water and yet more bunkers.
Son Gual also features several impressive lakes, 800 olive trees and vineyards in many areas around the course – even the teeing areas are huge. The course is on also the flight path into Palma and although planes regularly appear from the clouds they’re not a big distraction. Alcanada, in the north of the island, was designed by Robert Trent Jones Jnr and is a gently undulating course with fiendishly large tricky greens harbouring hidden breaks and strategically-placed bunkers.
Opened in 2003, it boasts spectacular views across the Bay of Alcudia and the mountains of Sierra de Lavante. The par-72 course is embedded in the typical Majorcan landscape – pines, old olive and oak trees are all part of the landscape. There are also 58 bunkers dotted around the course which crosses many ravines and valleys.
Alcanada is the nearest thing to a links on the island: several other tracks are near the coastline but this is the only one to be alongside the shoreline. The 13th and 16th greens are virtually beside the Med. Yet, is a fairly open course from the tee but made challenging by those notoriously tricky greens and bunkering.
Son Vida quite literally set the island’s golf balling rolling back in 1964.
Originally designed by Fred Hawtree, it’s a mature, picturesque parkland layout and is the pride and joy of the classy Arabella Golf resort which also includes two other 18 hole layouts (Son Muntaner and Son Quint).
Other multi-course venues are Son Antem, only 20mins from Palma airport and boasting two challenging 18-hole courses (West and East), and Santa Ponsa with a pair of well established 18-hole courses plus a neat nine holer.
Another highlight is Pula, an impressive par-70 redesigned by Jose Maria Olazabal in 2006 and a one-time European Tour venue.
The island is rife with accommodation of all shapes, sizes and budget but a good base for golfers is the 118-room Lindner Golf & Wellness Resort Portals Nous which sits close to the marina at Puerto Portals.