The largest of Spain’s Balearic Islands, Mallorca continues to attract millions of visitors every year in search of its sunny climate, vibrant nightlife and some of the most beautiful stretches of golden sand in the Mediterranean.
Often regarded as 'The California of Europe', Mallorca has so much to offer those seeking a dream escape to one of Spain’s most popular islands. Boasting over 300 days of sunshine every year, it’s no surprise that tourists flock to Mallorca 12-months of the year.
But there’s much more to the ‘Golden Isle’ than the beach scene. How about the historic capital of Palma, the picturesque mountain village of Deià, ancient castles, fantastic caves, the spectacular Serra de Tramuntana mountain range and a rich local gastronomy all adding to the uniqueness of the Island of Mallorca.
With the favourable Mediterranean climate on offer the list of activities is endless with are water sports (sailing, surfing, kite-surfing, diving, etc.), tennis, volleyball, beach volleyball, paddle tennis, cycling, hiking, climbing, riding glider or balloon, horse riding, and not to forget golf.
With flights from most main European cities just under 2 hours flight and with more than 20 excellent golf courses on the island, helps in making Mallorca one of the most appreciated golf destinations in Europe.
The Asociación de Campos de Golf de Mallorca (ACGM) - the Golf Course Association of Mallorca - is made up of 19 golf courses across the island and is branded as Mallorca Golf Island, and all of them are within one hour's drive on the island.
Back in 2016, Mallorca's golf clubs seized their opportunity to capitalise on the island's soaring popularity with the announcement of more than €2m worth of investment in their courses. This is further evidence of the commitment from the members to maintain their courses to the highest standards possible and improve the experience for golfers. No long after these improvements were made, the island also played host to the International Golf Travel Market (IGTM), where representatives from global golf tourism got to sample the wonderful golf courses.
Some of our Destination Golf Journalists got the invitation to play at Son Muntaner, designed by Kurt Rossknecht in 2000. The course meanders lazily through an undulating Mediterranean landscape and features well-conditioned fairways and greens, with numerous water hazards and elevated tees – it’s a solid and enjoyable opener to Mallorcan golf. Surrounded by magnificent pines and silvery green olive trees that dot the fairways, the course boasts one special tree in particular a twisted thousand-year-old olive tree known as Sa Capitana, one of the oldest on the island.
Son Muntaner is one of four golf courses linked to the Castillo Hotel Son Vida, which is part of the Starwood Hotels & Resorts Mallorca. Designed by F.W Hawtree in 1964, Son Vida is Mallorca’s most time-honored course, and the original home of golf in the Balearics. The hilly and challenging layout of Son Quint with marvellous views over the Bay of Palma from several of its tees and greens, and the Executive 9-hole course, adds up to 63-holes of excellent golf, and one of the best golf complexes in Europe.
On their visit, they also got to play Club de Golf Alcanada on the north coast of the Island. The course itself is set to the stunning backdrop of the Bay of Alcudia, this top-notch Robert Trent Jr-designed track will take your breath away, offering fabulous sea views from 16 of its 18 holes. The 458-metre, par-5 1st is an excellent strategic opening hole of the risk-reward variety and a taste of things to come. Be sure to also savour the views of the Alcanada Lighthouse Island from holes 11 and 13 in particular.
The last of the rounds was a trip to Son Gual which opened up over 10 years ago but has quickly gained a reputation as not only a Mallorca ‘must play’ but also one of Europe’s top golf destinations. What was once 156 hectares of flat non-descript agricultural land on the outskirts of Palma, has been transformed by three-time German Amateur Champion and course designer Thomas Himmel, into a polished layout that winds its way through a landscape of gently rolling hills, 1000 mature olive trees, fields of wild flowers, pockets of vineyards and water features all overlooked by an early 20th- century Mallorcan manor house.
Adding to the club’s growing reputation is the fact that Son Gual has hosted a European Seniors Tour event, the 2009 Mallorca PGA Seniors Open, when former Ryder Cup captain Mark James defeated Irishman Eamonn Darcy in a play-off to claim the title.
Plans are already in place to return to this stunning golf destination in 2019. Top of the “must play” course lists are: Golf Bendinat, Santa Ponsa Golf, and Son Servera Golf.
Golf Bendinat: The Real Golf de Bendinat Golf Course is located just west of Palma, in an extensive wooded valley and in the heart of the luxurious Bendinat housing development. In 1995, under the direction of the architect Hawtree, Bendinat Golf Course was enlarged to accommodate 18 holes and a full grid of buggy paths was put in place. The Clubhouse features excellent services and facilities and has a superb view of the 18th hole, boasting spectacular views of the bay of Palma, Cabrera and Bendinat Castle.
Santa Ponsa Golf: This course opened in 1977, becoming the first golf course in the municipality of Calvià and the second in Mallorca. Situated only 20 minutes by motorway from the airport and 15 minutes from the city of Palma. Surrounded by 6 kilometers of coastline, the Golf Santa Ponsa area has a high quality infrastructure: houses, apartments, beaches, ports and sailing club, commercial centres and tourist attractions. The course itself is an 18 hole course, over 6,540 metres (par 72) with the 10th hole (par 5) being one of the longest in Europe at 590 metres. The views of Puig Galatzó, one of Mallorca’s most distinctive mountains are truly spectacular. The course has been host to the European Tour six times with players such as Severiano Ballesteros, Bernard Langer, José Mª Olazábal, Miguel A. Jiménez, Jesper Partnevick, Lee Westwood, Colin Montgomerie, Ian Woosnam, Vijay Singh to name a few.
Son Servera Golf: The second oldest golf course in Mallorca, Son Servera was opened in 1967 and was designed by John Harris. This 18-hole course offers an enjoyable test for all, with tees measuring a pleasant 5844m men/ 4937m ladies. It is a challenging golf course and demands accuracy off the tee as most of the fairways are narrow and tree lined. It also calls for the ability to read greens well as they are very fast at times. The opening hole can often decide how the rest of your round is going to go ... the second shot to the green is blind and the result of that shot can often decide whether it makes or breaks your round. Surrounded by mountains it is tucked away in a quiet backwater at Costa de los Pinos but is only minutes away from the resorts of Cala Bona and Cala Millor. Situated close to the sea it is nevertheless, set in a delightfully peaceful part of the island.
Apart from the excellent golf on the island, be sure to check out the local Island produce. There is excellent virgin olive oil, succulent oranges, honey, almonds, desserts such as ensaïmada made from coiled sweet pastry, liquors like palo or hierbas and fine wines that have been awarded a Designation of Origin. The sea provides fish species such as dolphin fish, grouper, red mullet and scorpion fish that’s highly appreciated for its consistent firm white flesh and unique taste. Amongst the island’s other seafood and shellfish are pink prawns, octopus, cuttlefish and the red lobster, the main ingredient in some memorable dishes such as seafood stew or caldera.
Another tip from our journalists was to experience the local tapas by joining the locals on the Ruta Martiana or tapas crawl - an excellent and authentic way to get into the island’s eating and drinking swing.
Tapas are basically a generic name for small portions of anything edible and can vary from simple to gourmet. It could be a bowl of olives or deep-fried squid, tortilla española (potato omelette on bread), pimientos de padrón (green peppers grilled with olive oil and salt), or more sophisticated offerings such as angulas (baby eels on toast).
Along with the tapas, small glasses called zuritos (that look like a couple of inches have been cut off the bottom of a pint glass) are used to serve the beer, allowing Mallorcans to visit several bars during an evening. A very typical, authentic experience after 18 holes.
Mallorca is a fantastic golf destination with incredible choice of courses on offer, and no matter which course you choose, a golfing break like no other is guaranteed.
For more details about golf in Mallorca, visit: https://mallorcagolfisland.com/
FACTS ABOUT MALLORCA
Mallorca, with a surface area of 3,640 square km (1,405 square miles), is the largest of the Balearic Islands.
Together with Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera, the group of islands are in the Mediterranean Sea, about 300km from the coast of the Iberian Peninsula.
The distance to cross the whole island is approximately 100 km from north to south and about 78km from east to west. No point on the island is more than 40km from the sea.
Palma de Mallorca is the capital with 400,000 habitants (almost half of the total population of Mallorca).
The Asociación de Campos de Golf de Mallorca (ACGM) - the Golf Course Association of Mallorca - is made up of 19 golf courses across the island and is branded as Mallorca Golf Island.