I went to play Vall d’Or for the first time in November 2016. There are two reasons why I hesitate to recommend it.
First, the crazy design of the front nine, at least the first three holes. The first is a long par 3 to a semi-blind small green with little depth, surrounded by ankle-deep rough consisting of very coarse grass. The second, a par-4, has a very limited flat area to aim your tee-shot at. The approach will therefore often be played from an uphill stance up a slope that looks like a part of a decent World Cup downhill race. The third is a short par five, downhill dogleg left, but the green is tucked into a corner with no recovery if you miss. I played 4-iron, 7-iron, wedge, not the most exciting proposition. So, my problem with the design is that the round starts with three holes full of penal design elements. These elements can have their place, but perhaps better further into the round.
The back nine is, as previous reviewers have remarked, a completely different proposition. The tenth is a benign par 4, which would be an ideal opener, and then the course gradually becomes more difficult. My own home club started out with a trickier and more difficult front nine, but took the sensible decision to switch the two loops around so the wider, more forgiving section is now played first. I wonder if my verdict had been different if Vall d’Or had done the same?
Second, the conditioning on my visit in early November 2016 was not great. When some of your short iron approaches stay plugged into the green surface I guess the greens are as far from firm and fast as is possible.... In fairness, Vall d’Or was not the only wet course on the island during early November (Son Gual, Maioris, Son Vida, Son Quint), but there were also clubs which managed to create perfectly acceptable playing conditions (Pula, Son Servera) or even firm-and-fast ones (Puntiró).
I have played 15 out of the island’s 23 courses over the last two years, many of them on several occasions. I believe Vall d’Or has the best placed club-house terrace; the sea views are nothing short of magnificient. Otherwise, it struggles to make my own island top 10.
Date: November 22, 2016