Majorca or Mallorca is the largest of the Spanish Balearic Islands and Son Vida is the oldest golf course on the island. F.W. Hawtree originally designed Son Vida and the first nine holes opened for play in 1964, with Prince Rainier of Monaco officially opening the course. Back then, the opening tee shot was played from the old downhill 1st (now the 6th), a hole that’s popularly known as “San Francisco”.
In 2001, German architect Kurt Rossknecht remodelled the layout. Although all the greens, tees, bunkers and water hazards on the course were rebuilt and a new irrigation system installed, only the 13th to the 18th were actually restructured, as the more open aspect of these holes allowed scope for some greens to be repositioned.
Son Vida must be one of the island’s most beautiful courses and there are some stunning views from its fairways across the sun kissed Bay of Palma. Talking of fairways, they appear very tight from the tees but they widen kindly around the landing area of a decent drive. A number of the two-shot holes feature wicked doglegs, which will tempt the big hitters.
Overall, Son Vida is a solid course that offers beauty and variety. The closing five holes are especially challenging and the 18th is a cracking par five featuring a double dogleg and two lakes and a stream. If you make the green in two then you deserve a drink of your choosing in the clubhouse afterwards.
The course hosted two editions of the European Tour’s Open de Baleares in 1990 and 1994. Seve Ballesteros won the first event after a playoff win against Magnus Persson and Barry Lane (with the same aggregate score as Seve’s 269) claimed the second tournament by two strokes from fellow Englishman Jim Payne.