Covering an area of around 2,000 square miles (5,000 sq km), the Balearic Islands lie to the east of mainland Spain in the Mediterranean Sea. This small archipelago consists of four main islands – Mallorca, Menorca (or Minorca), Ibiza and Formentera. Spanish and Catalan are the co-official languages, but English and German is also spoken by most employed in the tourist industry, where golf has been an important factor in broadening the region’s appeal beyond the famous sun-kissed beaches.
Golf de Ibiza and Golf Son Parc are still the only courses on Ibiza and Menorca respectively, but Mallorca has developed into a major golfing destination over the last thirty years. Today the island has 23 golf courses, 20 of which are open to visitors. Geography and modern roads make sure that they are all no more than an hour’s drive away from virtually any point on the island. For those who prefer not to drive, there are resorts like Son Antem near Llucmayor to the southeast of Palma’s airport, Pula in the east and the hotels at Son Vida, Son Muntaner and Son Quint on the outskirts of the regional capital Palma. All of these courses are also open to outside visitors.
The two top courses in the region are relative newcomers, having opened after 2000. Son Gual was designed by German amateur champion Thomas Himmel and financed by double glazing entrepreneur Adam Pamer while Alcanada was fashioned by Robert Trent Jones Jr. and bankrolled by the Porsche family. These two courses also represent the region in our Continental European Top 100.
Mallorca's peak period is spring (April-May) and autumn (October-November), when many golfers come to extend their golfing season and when temperatures tend to be pleasantly warm. Golf courses receive little traffic during the main tourist season (July-August) because of the heat, while the winter months mean lower temperatures and sharing the courses mainly with local golfers.
If you are planning to visit between spring and autumn, do keep in mind that the main challenge for the island's greenkeepers is not winter damage but recovering the course after the hot and dry summer. The Rain in Spain falls mainly at the wrong time explains some of the challenges.