In the valley created by the normally dry riverbed of Torrent de Canyamel in the far east of Mallorca lies Canyamel Golf. The course was designed by José “Pepe” Gancedo and opened in 1988.
The first nine holes are laid out on the slopes around the clubhouse and the changes in elevation are sometimes substantial and can cause trouble on your scorecard. The signature hole is the 9th with a highly unusual hazard in the form of little stone building in the middle of the fairway at 190 meters (209 yards) from the yellow tees. As the hole measures 384 meters (422 yards) in total laying up short is not really a great option, so if you have ambitions of reaching the green in regulation you have to take on the building and hope you can hit past or over it.
The back nine is laid out along the Torrent de Canyamel and here you may end up remembering the two par threes. At the short 14th you have to deal with high trees growing just short of the green. Pin positions short and left would be highly challenging. The longer 18th (173 meters, 190 yards) has a three-tiered green built into the slope. Here it is advisable to hit it to the right tier or at least end up below the flag to have a chance to make par or birdie.
"Spectacular" and "exclusive" are two adjectives Canyamel uses freely in its marketing and the course is rated in the top 5 on this island if you look at ranking lists compiled by German-speaking sources.
The views are indeed great, perhaps best from the club-house terrace overlooking the 18th green, but I am quite sure, though, that anyone reading this has other objectives in mind than finding like-minded souls who also drive high-spec custom BMWs.
So, how does this course compare to the others on the island and is it worth the 1 hr journey from Palma and the west of the island where many visitors end up outside the summer season (when few play golf in the heat anyway) ?
While you are much less likely to be disappointed by conditioning and attention to detail here than most other places on the island I have two reasons not to mark it quite as highly as the German observers mentioned above.
First, Canyamel starts with its most challenging holes. On the three occasions I have played it so far on each occasion I have seen people wreck their score completely on the first six holes. By this, I do not mean that a course should be easy, but if your customer base consists of holidaymakers in their off-season or older people who might not wish to spend an hour on the range, chipping and putting, you are well-advised to design your course with the main difficulties further into the round. I know I have no one less than Harry Colt on my side in that argument.
Second, I do not think the short holes are as great. Two of them, the 14th and the 18th, are actually among those I like the least. The 14th because the trees and the stone walls make it penal for higher handicappers without adding much difficulty for better players. The green on the 18th is placed on such a severe slope that a three-tiered solution has been necessary. With modern green speeds, here this means that a downhill putt is quite likely to roll off the green. Hopefully, the club will sort this out at some point just like my own home club finally did.
My recommendation for those based in Palma therefore is to save your longer trip for Alcanada.
On the other hand, if you plan to be staying nearby, it makes eminent sense to play all four courses in the vicinity, i.e. Pula, Canyamel, Capdepera and Son Servera. They are quite evenly matched, so I think it is a question of personal taste rather than objective criteria which one you will end up preferring over the other.