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 (6,800 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 590 meters (645 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.
The one-off Mallorca Golf Open title, which is the first European Tour event played in the Balearics since 2011 with Darren Clarke won the Iberdrola Open at Pula Golf Club, was staged at Santa Ponsa in 2021 when Denmark's Jeff Winther claiming his maiden European Tour title.
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.
I wasn’t aware the course hosted the Mallorca Golf Open here in October last year, the first time in a decade that a European Tour event had been staged on the island. To be honest, the dilapidated hotel with pro shop (now closed) at the end of the car park didn’t exactly scream “European Tour venue” but I assume it’s due to be renovated then reopened? Anyway, the current reception set-up at the other end of the car park adequately serves the needs of the golfers who turn up for a game here.
Still, this was once one of the island’s main golfing venues back in the late 1980s/early 1990s (Seve won the Open de Baleares here in 1988 and 1992) but it’s since been overtaken by most, if not all, the more modern Mallorcan golf facilities that have sprung up in the last twenty years or so. Santa Ponsa has cut its cloth to suit and I must say the course was extremely busy when I arrived mid-afternoon so it’s obviously more than capable of turning a coin.
The course plays long (6,543 metres from the back tees) so holiday golfers might be advised to play off the yellows (6,219 metres) or even the blues (which, at 5,617 metre, is enough for most club golfers). Highlight holes included both the par threes on the front nine (at #3 and #7) and the long par four 16th which doglegs right around water before reaching a green that’s fronted by another small pond – it’s certainly not stroke index 3 for nothing!
Subdirector Miquel Deyà kindly allowed me to visit the private Santa Ponsa (2) course when I left here and the markedly quieter atmosphere there was in stark contrast to the general hustle and bustle of the public venue. I’m not so sure that paying for a membership to play the only private course on the island is really worth it when you’re playing a course that ends with five dreadful holes routed around an enormous man-made lake – and an 18th hole island green shaped like Mallorca that still sends shivers down my back as I write about it now!
A long and wide course that wide work well for medium to high handicaps. Fairways are fine, and drain rather well in winter. Greens have suffered from mushrooms but are improving. A good holiday course.
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.