Club de Golf de Son Servera, founded in 1967, is the oldest club in the east of Mallorca. The history behind its course is probably also the most dramatic.
First, the course almost did not get built. What started as a development project where the golf course was supposed to be selling the real estate soon ran into trouble. The development company went bankrupt before the course was finished. A number of members, however, decided to put money into the club to get the nine holes finalised. As a result, Son Servera is the only course on the island to be controlled by a golf club, and by extension its members, rather than an external owner.
Second, the original nine holes, designed by Commander John Harris as a tree-lined course through the coastal pine forest fundamentally changed character when almost all trees were lost in a ferocious storm in November 2001. Again, the members put up money to rescue the course and the olive trees flanking many of the original holes, now played as no 1-2, 8-9, 10-11 and 16-18, were thus planted after the 2001 storm.
Finally, after the long-awaited expansion to 18 holes in 2012 with nine new holes designed by Francisco Lopez Segales, the club was again in financial trouble and the members had to step in a third time. The situation was resolved and the club is now on a very sound financial footing. The new holes offer two very different kinds of challenges. Holes 3-7, which the club calls “The Pine Trap”, are quite narrow, cut out of the original pine forest, have significant changes in elevation and are regarded by many as the most difficult. If holes 3-7 are typical woodland holes, holes 12-15 have a much more open, almost heathland flavour, while the original holes are parkland in style.
The club is also proud of its youth golf academy, whose first pro was Santiago Sota, cousin of Severiano Ballesteros. Its most successful graduate is Nuria Iturrioz, winner of tournaments on the Ladies European Tour. The most famous club member, however, is a certain Rafael Nadal, whose golf handicap is in the very low single figures.
Many golfers visiting Palma never come to play the four courses in the east. If it is your first time and you only have room for 2-3 courses on the golfing part of your itinerary I can understand that the only longer trip in the car you might consider would go to Alcanada. If you have read this far, however, I presume you intend to cast your net wider.
In that case, Son Servera will offer you the perhaps widest variety of golf in one round of 18 holes of any course on the island. I am quite certain you will not like it all, but am equally certain that you will remember a few, particularly holes 3 to 7.
Holes 3-7 are not all my personal favourites as 5 and 6 offer too few approach shot options and the tee-shots on 4 and 7 are far too difficult for higher handicappers, so I will not bring my impulsive teenagers to play with me here any time soon.
The old holes closest to the clubhouse (also) have great greens, but their fairways have offered indifferent lies on both occasions I have played, while all the new fairways have been great. Maybe a coincidence, who knows?
On the other hand, I do love the other new holes (nos 12 to 15, at the top of the aerial photo on the course page). Their layout is interesting, conditioning often great, views good and the options to play them are many.
Once you have played the top five courses on the island (Alcanada, Son Gual, Puntiró, Son Muntaner and Poniente) this place should be high on your list. Perhaps take the sting out of being gone for the whole day by letting the non-golfers in your group drop you off and then take the car on to the fantastic caves or one of the great beaches nearby?