Paradise near Palma
Son Gual Golf Club is located 7 miles out from Palma airport, although it’s in close proximity to the city and the piece of land it’s situated on was originally flat and arid when you arrive at the gates and the avenue of cypresses leading you to the club house you are transported to a golfing paradise.
The purpose built club house is no shrinking violet, it proudly sits on top of the sculptured course, dominating the skyline as its bar and restaurant bleeds out in to the golf course behind.
The Thomas Himmel designed layout is one manicured to perfection, expansive tee boxes could be mistaken for greens, over a thousand olive trees are planted with regimental precision and even the fields of wild blooming flowers know their boundaries.
The course is a technically challenging one and this has been rewarded with numerous PGA events, the course was created in order to play true quintessential golf in the style of a links course in the beautiful setting of the Mallorca landscape.
You stand on the pristine tee box of the first hole and overlook the splendour of the golfing landscape but the mental strength and course management of every player is about to be subjected to a rigours golfing test.
The course was land was originally a flat desolate area before Himmel and the construction team moved in, what has now been created has been awarded 1st prize by the Leading Golf Courses in Europe, it’s the best course on the continent this year . The course flows in two long loops and lies between two large lakes which are fed by manmade streams from the extremities of the land, not only do they provide a picturesque view but as they cut though the course they provide a technical challenge no matter which tee box you are playing from.
Even though the course measures over 7000 from the white tees, with water coming in to play on 11 of the 18 holes it’s not just about length it’s about precision. The front nine is the easier of the two loops and although it’s difficult to pick stand out holes on such a beautiful course the first does come at hole number 7.
The SI 1, 429 yard dog leg right par 4 works its way uphill from the moment you leave the tee box. The fairway is pinched at the limits of your driving distance by coarse rough on the left and four technically challenging bunkers on the right. If you manage to escape these the fairway swings around to the right and continues upwards until you reach the green a further 160 yards away.
If your playing brain is in gear and you have manoeuvred yourself around the course through the front with skill and precision you may find yourself close to your handicap, you should be proud. The back 9 is officially easier than the front but the final 3 holes will test your metal especially the 18th SI 2, par 5.
Despite the ever present help from the on course marshals and the food/drink delivery service at your beck and call It’s not always easy playing golf in the Mallorcan heat, if the length of the course hasn’t beaten you yet the final hole will give it one last go. Only the bold can reach the green in two here. The first tee shot leaves you carrying water and aiming right to hit a small fairway, the second shot needs to be delivered over water again and staying in between a large bunker within range on the left and the stream that creeps around the right hand perimeter of the hole. Take your medicine, most will not go for the green in two here due the water on the right continuing and then encroaching right up the front edge of the green. If you do walk away with a par on this final hole take it and run in to the delights of the club house.
Both before and after your game it’s a pleasure to step on to the large terrace, the view opens out over the picturesque Bay of Palma and to the right the Palacio Son Gual is guarded by its army of olive trees as it overlooks the beauty of course.
Elegant changing rooms, and wash facilities await you in the club house. Its steam room and sauna will have you refreshed and ready to sample the delights of the plentiful menu and wines on offer.
The facilities here warrant its 1st prize and its 5* standing as the continents top resort. The food is beautifully cooked and presented, the staff are well mannered and informative. At Son Gual you are entering a world of golf, one feels the signature of the owning family, who with every gesture express an invitation for all guests to feel at ease and indulge themselves in an atmosphere of calm and tranquillity.