The beach at Santa Ponsa was where James I, King of Aragon, landed when he re-conquered Mallorca from the Arab ruling Moors in 1229.
Santa Ponsa’s place in the golfing chapter of Mallorca’s history is also assured. The No. 1 course was designed by Folco Nardi and José Gancedo and opened in 1977, clearly with championships in mind. It also hosted the European Tour six times between 1988 and 1998 and, stretching beyond 6,200 meters (6,820 yards) from the yellow tees, it’s still one of the longest layouts on the island. Fortunately, the course also has wide fairways and is normally set up with manageable green speeds.
The 10th is a very long par five at 560 meters (616 yards) and five of the ten par fours measure more than 360 meters (400 yards), even from the yellow tees.
Once you reach the uphill, dogleg right, home hole, the last of these longer par fours at 420 meters (462 yards), spare a thought for the caddies who had to carry the heavy tour bags of Seve Ballesteros and Jesper Parnevik no fewer than six times back and forth on this hole before the play-off at the 1992 Open de Baleares was decided in Seve’s favour.
Visitors are welcome most days at the No.1 course, but to play at either the shorter No. 2 course, opened in 1991, or at the par 30, 1,600-metre, 9-hole layout (opened in 1999) you have to be invited to play with a member.
Used to be the best on the island, but that was 20 years ago. Still good, but conditioning and design cannot keep up with the very best.
However, if you stay locally or at least west of Palma, it makes a lot of sense to play here. It is certainly ahead of Real Bendinat and Andratx in all respects, although most people will now prefer T Golf Poniente and many will also have Son Muntaner above it on their top-10 list.
Now is 12th a fair ranking? Well, i think it is not a top 5 course, but whether it is 8th or 12th, I think is a matter of pure personal taste.
Longer hitters are likely to put it higher, whereas those who prefer accuracy over length may be less enthusiastic.
To sum it up: worth a try, but keep expectations realistic.