Son Gual - Balearic Islands - Spain

Golf Son Gual,
Finca Son Gual,
Ma 15 - Palma - Manacor,
Km 11,
5,
07199 Palma de Mallorca


  • +34 (0) 971 7858 88

  • Andreas Pamer

  • Thomas Himmel

  • Michel Monnard


Visit Golfbreaks.com for a golf holiday at Son Gual

Mallorca or Majorca as it’s known in the UK, is one of the most popular holiday destinations for tourists from Germany, Ireland and the UK and now with the recent opening of Son Gual, there’s a genuine reason for serious golfers to visit Spain’s largest Balearic Island.

With around 20 Mallorcan courses to choose from, there’s no shortage of layouts on the island, but there was no real tempting “must-play” course until three-time German Amateur Champion, Thomas Himmel, moulded the dramatic Son Gual into the landscape, thereby raising the bar to a significantly higher level. In doing so, Himmel has created a likely future venue for the Mallorcan Classic, a regular European Tour event, which is usually hosted at Pula Golf Club.

Son Gual is the realisation of Adam Pamer’s dream. After purchasing a holiday home on Majorca, Pamer, a golf mad double-glazing magnate, grew frustrated by the poor condition of the island’s courses and decided he’d remedy the problem by building his own. The earth definitely moved for Pamer – 1.4 million cubic metres to be precise – and soon afterwards a bland 175-acre slice of former agricultural land was transformed into an imaginative, sweeping golf course. Throw in a few acres of vibrant wild flowers, 800 mature olive trees, expansive bunkering, acres of water – including a waterfall – impeccable tee to green conditioning and two of the most dramatic closing holes in golf and voilà a cocktail of undiluted enjoyment.

The entire Son Gual project is reputed to have cost a cool €30m but given the challenges faced, especially those surrounding irrigation water supply, the budget has been spent wisely. Apart from the colourful wild flowers, on-course vineyards and those other points mentioned above, the overriding memories from Son Gual would certainly include, the size and quality of the tees, which are double the average tee size (averaging 900 square metres) and bigger than Son Gual’s greens. The greens themselves are pretty big, but the putting surfaces appear much larger as they incorporate massive elongated fringes and run-off areas. Naturally, such attention to detail only adds to what is surely a hefty annual course maintenance budget.

Measuring a substantial 7,250 yards from the back (black) markers, Son Gual is a challenging test, especially when the fickle Mediterranean breezes stiffen. The whole design is captivating and, with bent grass from tee to green, the whole experience is polished to absolute perfection. Numerous holes, including 7, 14 and 15 will stick in the memory but none more so than the closing hole which is a serious contender for Europe’s best par five and Spain’s most dramatic 18th.

Golf Son Gual hosted the Son Gual Mallorca Senior Open from May 8-10, 2009, underlining the club’s growing reputation as one of Europe’s finest golfing venues. Englishman Mark James defeated former Irish Ryder Cup teammate Eamonn Darcy in a play-off to claim the title.
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Reviews for Son Gual

Av. Reviewers Score:

First time I played Son Guál, all I saw was a course that was so much better in every aspect than virtually every other course on the island, except perhaps Alcanada, which occupies a much prettier site.

Having played the course five times, I still think it is the best on the island, but it is the strategic aspect of the design that makes me come back again and again.

Let us take an example: the hole most people talk about is the 18th, mostly because they fail to score well on it...and it is there in front of you when relaxing on the clubhouse terrace afterwards! At over 500 yards with water just in front of the green, the reflex is to try to get as far as possible in two so as to be able to hit a wedge into the green. Simple? Afterwards, you will appreciate that an easier way to make par is to place your second shot further back and as far left as you dare to have a lot of green to work with on your approach. Moreover, the penalty for a less than perfect contact is a longer putt or a straightforward chip or pitch rather than a penalty shot plus a reload or a nerve-wrecking recovery from rough into a green that slopes away from you towards the water.

On the (very slight) minus side: too few ground game options hitting into greens.

February 06, 2017


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My fourth round at Son Gual and as enjoyable and as immaculate as ever. We have a very technical course and one that is probably suited to the better player rather than the high handicap golfers – in saying that, choose the tee that reflects your standard and you will have an enjoyable game without getting beaten up by playing too far back. I played this time with two who had not seen the course before and it was interesting to get their first time opinions – some of which were, is there too much sand and monster size bunkers just for the sake of it? This is a very valid point and certainly the ‘desert’ between the 2nd and 3rd holes would be the obvious example of this. Maybe a little picky but definitely a talking point. The run of holes from the 4th to the 6th bring water into play in a big way; in play approaching the 4th and in play for both tee shots at the 5th and the 6th. The par-3 9th is a great hole; a mid to long iron to a very slim green with water on the left and sand to the right. Overall the back nine is stronger I think, with the par-5 12th a great hole with the main problem being water left and right that is a concern whether going for the green in two or laying up. The 15th is great looking short hole but another comment from my playing partners was, ‘Is an 80 yard bunker really necessary?’ – probably not but it’s there more for the look than as a hazard. The course ends on such a high with the closing hole being the best on the course for most. A par-5 crossing water at least twice to a beauty of a green just below the welcoming terrace. I gave the course a 5-ball ranking just after it opened and that remains in place – one thing I would like to ask is, could the trees and bushes around the course be enhanced to give the holes a more intimate feel? The course has been always been very open and you see many other holes at all times – tighten this up and just maybe the course could move higher into Europe’s elite modern courses.

May 18, 2016


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Played Son Gual in January with melting frost on the fairways, which must be an unusual feat. Despite this, the ground staff had managed to present a course in more than decent condition and we soon had a pleasant +15 degree playing temperature.Son Gual is a typical big American style course, with "collars" around the greens. This latter feature is something I personally strongly dislike and is a real shame on this course as the undulating green complexes could be so much more fun if more recovery options than the lob wedge would regularly be in play. As it is, you still have to think about the topography of the greens quite a bit if you have more than a wedge in hand. With the length from the tees further back that is also the case most of the time.Will comment again on this course once I have played it when the conditioning is nearer the top and when I can compare to more than a handful of the courses on the island. Still, it is probably a 5-ball in its category (American-style parkland) and that will be my provisional rating.
January 17, 2015


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I returned after nearly five years since my first visit and my view is very much the same. This is one of the best ‘new builds’ in Europe in recent years – great definition to the holes with various ‘cuts’ from the fairway to the rough which oozes quality. There is a warm welcome around the clubhouse and the air of understated quality is obvious. The teeing grounds are actually better than some course’s green. This is a very technical course with accuracy and ball positioning on each hole very crucial to give the best chance to score well. The final hole, a par-5 is an absolute beauty and a delight to play (it is included in the film embedded in the editorial above). As you walk off of the course, you will want to play again that is for sure.
May 25, 2013


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Beginning of September 2012 we had a 2012 an incomparable golf day on Son Gual.The course was in indescribably good condition. The fore green was better than the grenns on the other courses on Mallorca. And that, although the place was just opened after the extremely hot summer. The place layout is sensationell. The club restaurant is the best you can find on Majorca. Costumer is king on Son Gual. All employees are very friendly and completely focused on customer.Yes, the cost are higher on Son Gual, but better play one time Son Gual instead of two times on any other course.
September 09, 2012


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Eight of us played this course last week and all agreed it was magnificent. Yes the planes are a distraction but after a couple of holes, I didn't notice them. The course is in great condition. The staff were superb and the practice facilites 1st class. We'll definitely be back
October 04, 2011


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Bieberbach
February 15, 2013
played the course early February, 2013, 9 deg.Celsius , Wind 6 and still enjoyed every single hole. I can sign every word you wrote about this course. I thought, Mr. Himmel might have visited Arcos Gardens just before he began designing this course...
Located in a relatively flat part of the island Son Gual is only a 9 - iron from the airport on Mallorca making it an ideal first or last stop for your golf holiday. Any reviews you may have read stating aircraft noise as a distraction have clearly been made by golfers who had a bad day on the course as if your concentration is grabbed by anything else other than the sheer beauty of this place then you're doing something wrong. Every tee box, fairway and green has been manicured to within an inch of it's life and the result is quite staggering. Higher handicaps need not fear as although the course is very cleverly proportioned it's not too long although some of the carries may concern shorter hitters. I've read reviews comparing to Valderrama but to be honest there isn't one to be drawn here. Whilst on a par in terms of preparation and presentation the relatively open landscape doesn't quite match the meandering menace of Spains No.1 track but this does make it more playable (its also half the price). Weirdly there's not really a signature hole at Son Gual but thats more down to practically every hole being a great test rather than a lack of effort to impress.Water does play it's part but is not overdone and the rough is more than bearable. Think Arcos Gardens without the mountains and in better shape and you wont be too far off the mark. Definatley a must play (even at those prices) a deal can often be done for a day ticket but don't try to walk this course twice as what you save in buggy costs will be eaten up by the cost of some new shoes!
December 10, 2010


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We played Son Gual following rounds at Puntiro, Son Vida and Son Muntaner and this was head and shoulders above the others and a real quality course. That no money has been spared on the course is obvious from the moment you get there. The opulent clubhouse (with great staff) and good practice facilities are an excellent introduction but it is on the golf course that the quality really comes into its own.

The course is fantastically manicured with an amazing attention to detail. There are numerous features like sculpted waterfalls next to tees which add to the experience. The course was in great condition – when we played it on a Sunday in May there was hardly anyone on the golf course which makes you worry about the cashflow but only adds to the experience. We played off the second back tees (6900 yards) and it was probably a little too tough for my 13 handicap. Shots off the fairways led to real difficulties getting back in play sometimes and the par 3 9th at 220 yards over water was a hole I was delighted to get a 4 on! The 18th is the signature hole with its amazing par 5 finish with water coming into play on at least 3 occasions.

Would be great to see a Mallorcan Open here on the tour – the players would love the set-up and it would be a real challenge for them. Martin Kaymer was practising there when we were there and said he thought this was the best course on the island and of that there can be no doubt. The only thing I would say is the the greens were rolling at 10 on the stimpmeter but could have done with being a little faster to really get the full experience as they looked faster than they played. It would be an even better place to play golf were you not under the flight-path to the very busy Palma airport but frankly that is only a mild distraction. Great place, great people, great golf.
May 25, 2010


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I think this course is a tad overrated.Yes, the setting is impeccable and well maintained, the condition of the course nearly imacculate and the food in the resataurant delicious.But, and this is significant but, the course is directly in the flight path to Mallorca's Airport and thus very noisy. I fact, the planes are flying so low over the course you can see the spilled tomato juice on the aircraft passengers' laps. Also many of the holes' layout is very similar with a long and narrow green, slightly diagonal to direction of the hole with a big bunker right in front of it. I've played the course twice now and I still can't remember all the holes because you just mix them up. Birng enough to drink because there were no carts with refreshments going round the course and the dispensing machines were all broken. Beware of the course if it had a couple of days of rain before - the mosquitos will eat you alive. On my left shoulder only I had 50+ bites and normally I'm not affected a lot by insects. My wife reacts quite allergic to insect bites so this proved to be a real problem. Which made matters worse in this case was that the club officials were well aware of the problem but didn't tell you before you paid 125 EUR and left for the course and when we complained after a couple of holes the gave us a nearly empty bottle of mosquito repellant.So, all in all, a very mixed bag. We decided not play it again for the foreseeable future.
May 17, 2010


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Hugh
May 17, 2010
I agree that the planes are noisy but you can't mark a course down due to the mozzies. When you go to Spain you need to take your own precautions and that includes your own drinks. I'm ignoring this rating as it is not relevant.
David
May 25, 2010
Wow - 2 stars is the harshest score I have ever seen on here. Clearly the mosquitos annoyed you and of course that is something to take into account but this course must be in the top few in mainland Europe now I would have thought.
Son Gual - photo by JavierThis course is underrated! It is not less good than Valderrama or Finca Cortesin or San Roque. Playing this course is a really top golf experience. I was invited by Gonzalo and Sabine, the Son Gual Management team, to organize a Tournament last week. I played the course 4 times so I got to know it very well. The design is nice and challenging, the course is in great shape, greens rolls at 9 feet in normal days (in Tournaments they can get to 13 easily), the views are fantastic and that Castle gives a touch to be admired by all players. Design is varied and very creative: hole 8 without bunkers and tricky green reminds me of 13 at Valderrama, 7 a long par 4 that reminds me of 11 at Punta Espada, par 3s are all different and with very tough greens and par 5 18 is something different, a hole to be thought 100 times before played. I cannot chose a favourite hole as all of them have something special, but 8 got all my attention as a simple par 4, with no bunkers, but were getting a birdie is a big job. This course has taken Mallorca standards to a higher level, all the other courses will need to do some work to get just close to Son Gual, but I really believe this one will still remain as the best.
March 02, 2010


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