- Marvellous Mallorca – where good golf abounds
Marvellous Mallorca – where good golf abounds
Marvellous Mallorca – where good golf abounds
Last month, we looked at golfing options across the Canary Islands so we’re now turning our attention a little closer to mainland Spain and the island of Mallorca in the Ballearic Islands.
One of the clubs we visited near Palma last month published an in-house magazine article which reckoned almost 9 out of 10 rounds on the island are played by visiting golfers (44% Germans, 17.5% Spanish, 14% British, 10% Nordic) and this obviously generates a substantial financial benefit to the local economy.
Without the usual large numbers of incoming tourists over the last two years due to covid travel restrictions, it’s a minor miracle that all the clubs have survived.
Manfred Mallon, managing director of SIEMA Golf & Print, states in the excellent little pocket book Mallorca Golf Guide 2022: “Almost 90% of the golf courses in Mallorca are economically managed and depend on golf tourists and green fees. And a golf course doesn’t have many opportunities to save money… the maintenance and management measures have to continue.
I got a personal impression of the condition of the golf courses at the beginning of this year and I am positively surprised in what good condition the courses are in. If travel conditions permit, come to Mallorca as usual and play your favourite courses.”
Most golf facilities are situated in either the northeast or southwest of the island, near the main city of Palma de Mallorca. When we last published a Mallorca article six years ago – entitled Golf in the Spanish Balearic Islands – we stayed near the capital so this time we branched out to the northeast, allowing easier access to the cluster of five golf courses in that part of the island.
CARROSSA HOTEL SPA VILLAS
Part of the Hamacher Hotels & Resorts group with four holiday residences in Austria and Mallorca, the 5-star Carrossa Hotel Spa Villas sits just outside the small village of Artà, making it the perfect golfing base for visitors playing any of the five golf courses that operate in the local area.
There are 75 air-conditioned rooms and suites located in either the 300-year-old historic manor house or in several new single-storey luxury accommodation blocks. The spa boasts an indoor and outdoor swimming pool and there’s a wide range of treatments to complement the saunas and steam bath.
Bistro Badia is open all day, offering tapas, sandwiches and salads during the afternoon then anything from steak to fresh seafood in the evening. The Carrossa Restaurant presents fine dining options from 7pm in the evening, with meals served as a 4-course option or à la carte. The wine cellar also stocks the best local and international vintages.
A couple of attractive packages aimed at golfers include full use of the spa facilities, along with buffet breakfast and multi-course gourmet half-board. The 4-night Golf Package permits play at two nearby courses whilst the 7-night Premium Golf Package allows guests to tee it up at four courses (one of which is Alcanada).
Club de Golf Alcanada nestles to the north of Carrossa, a 45-minute drive to the other side of Port d'Alcúdia, and not only is it the best golf course on Mallorca, it’s also highly ranked in both our Spanish and Continental European Top 100 listings. Designed by Robert Trent Jones Junior, this is a championship layout that’s scheduled to host the season-ending Rolex Challenge Tour Grand Final in November this year. It takes a bit longer to get here than it does to reach the other four northeast courses but it’s well worth going the extra few kilometres to play this magnificent Mediterranean beauty.
Located a mere 13 kilometres from Carrossa, the modern-day course at the Pula Resort is quite a bit different to the one unveiled in the mid-1990s. According to Esencia Pula Golf 25 años which was published in 2020, José María Olazábal’s parting shot to owner Romeo Sala after a tournament in 1998 was “do you see this face? Look at it long and hard because it’ll be the last time you’ll see it around here. The course is (expletives deleted)!” Olly was eventually taken to task and between 2004 and 2006 he assisted in transforming the layout into a far more challenging affair so it was only fitting he should win his last professional event here at the Mallorca Classic during the renovation work in 2005.
Less than three kilometres away as the crow flies, lies the Club de Golf Son Servera, where Rafa Nadal holds a membership. It’s the second oldest course on the island and the only one owned by its members so there’s an entirely different feel to this place. Commander John Harris laid out the original 9-hole course in the late 1960s and another nine holes were added just a decade ago by Francisco López Segalés. Five of these new holes (from the 3rd to the 7th) are marketed as “The Pine Trap” and they constitute quite a challenge, with stroke index ratings of 12, 7, 1, 5 and 3.
The 18-hole layout at Canyamel Golf sits four kilometres to the north of Son Servera but there’s no direct road connection between the clubs so it takes 15 minutes by car (about the same time from Carrossa) to get here. The course is a late-1980s José Gancedo design, culminating in a par three closing hole that’s played to a three-tiered green benched into a hillside in front of the clubhouse. Configured as two returning nines, the course plays to a par of 73 with three par fives between the 13th and 17th holes.
Capdepera Golf is situated a little further inland from Canyamel, with the course dating back to the late 1980s, when Dan Maples designed the layout. Maples is better known for his work in the Carolinas (his grandfather Frank was the long-time superintendent at Pinehurst and a construction engineer for Donald Ross) so it’s anybody’s guess how Dan was ever appointed to set out eighteen holes in the northeast corner of Mallorca! The first twelve holes below the clubhouse are set out in a valley that was once an almond plantation then the last six holes were hewn from a wooded hillside on higher ground, with the signature par three 15th offering panoramic views all the way to the coast.
Of course, it would be a shame to come all the way to Mallorca and not play any of the highly rated tracks around Palma so you’ll be doing yourself a big favour by arranging a game on at least one of the following three courses.
Golf Son Muntaner is the flagship 18-hole course at the 63-hole Arabella Golf Mallorca resort and the layout at this European Tour Destination was designed by Kurt Rosskecht, opening its doors to visitors in 2001. The course was reseeded six years ago, using Bermuda Celebration on every fairway and Agrostis V8 on all the greens. A couple of new holes were also introduced at that time, indicating the willingness of Arabella to continually develop and improve its golf product.
The course at T Golf Calvia hosted the season-ending Rolex Challenge Tour Grand Final in 2020 and 2021 so there’s no questioning its championship-hosting capabilities. Originally opened in the late 1970s as Golf de Poniente, it’s one of the oldest layouts on the island but a substantial investment from new owner Heiner Tamsen since 2015 has taken the course to a whole new level. In recent days, T Golf acquired the Nicklaus-designed facility at Puntiro (which will now be known as T Golf Palma), making it an even bigger player now on the island.
Son Gual Golf has enjoyed unparalleled success in the Spanish rankings since the course first appeared on the Mallorcan golf scene, occupying Top 10 positions in the national chart for three editions between 2014 and 2020. It took great vision by the owners to take a predominantly flat, largely featureless property and turn it into the top-spec track that it undoubtedly is – albeit with the expert assistance of architect Thomas Himmel and a very creative construction crew.
As Son Gual is positioned less than a 15-minute drive from the airport, it’s an ideal place to either start or finish a golf trip to the island.
Top 100 Golf Courses