Two rounds of golf at a fantastic Mediterranean venue, in such a beautiful spot in the world. What else could you ask for. Is it worth it though?
The island of Mallorca has always been close to my heart. Not that I spent most of my holidays here, but when I first set foot on this island many years ago, I fell in love with the interesting complexity of it which seems to get forgotten sometimes when you read about Mallorca and its annual struggle to cope with the sheer amount of tourists coming here.
It’s an obvious beautiful island but also looking a bit deeper, it reveals so many great things, so beautiful spots, so tranquil places, so utterly fantastic stuff which stay more or less uncovered if you’d just spend a beach summer break or something alike there.
Cyclists know why Mallorca is special and golfers do, too.
Back in winter, I had the chance to play two rounds at Golf Son Muntaner. Just in case you are not aware, Son Muntaner belongs to the Arabella Golf Mallorca brand with its other courses Son Vida and Son Quint. Son Muntaner however is said to be the superior course, which is why I decided to see and play it twice.
The Arabella Golf courses are situated just 10 to 15 minutes west of Palma de Mallorca, the hot spot of the island. From the airport the whole Son Vida property with hotels and golf courses is maybe 20 minutes away, depending on traffic. But it is indeed a quick journey from anywhere in the south or south-west of the island.
When you are lucky enough to stay in one of the hotels connected to the golf complex, most notably the Castillo Son Vida or the Sheraton, there is a frequent shuttle service taking you from A to B in just a bit. Perks, that come with a proper golf trip at a proper golf destination, I suppose.
Once dropped off at the entrance of the Muntaner club house, I was provided with a set of rental clubs. A set of decent Cleveland clubs which unfortunately didn’t fit my game at all. And when I say “at all” I seriously mean that I really struggled with regular graphite shafts and a 4-iron as the longest iron in the bag. It’s not tragic but as I was playing a proper comp here, I saw the win fly out of the window very early in my round.
All this obviously was no reason not to fully enjoy the course. There were very few people playing, as the off-season for some reason is a perfect time to play but as the island is not crowded, neither are the golf courses—which was more than good.
The course features Bermuda grass but was just in the process of being over-seeded, getting from a more and more dormant Bermuda to a winter grass. I haven’t played on Bermuda much in Europe actually, wouldn’t recall one course where it has been the case really. But it comes with the advantage that during hot summers it consumes less water and stays green at all times with less maintenance.
For the coming days I was grouped together with two gentlemen; Bobbi from Sweden and Francisco, the club’s golf manager, and I absolutely enjoyed the company. Bobbi was a great entertainer, has seen quite some courses in the whole world and is the editor at The Bobmen Report. Francisco, being the local expert, was the never-ending source of information, stories, jokes and the best good-time-golf-pal you could wish for.
In the tournament there were other people from Sweden, the Netherlands, Austria, England and Finland. All in all a great bunch of people with massive golf stories to share over the coming days, including some about spending some time with the one and only Arnold Palmer.
Son Muntaner is beautifully set in a hilly area of the Urbanisation Son Vida where no houses, no streets or other obstacles interfere with the game of golf. There is a huge practice area, a fully fletched driving range, putting green, extensive pitching areas and everything you could ask for to sharpen your game.
I had a 10:48 starting time and tried to get used to my rental clubs, which was impossible, as said. Note to self: Never ever use rental clubs again when you’re playing a tournament and actually are interested in winning. Or at least use some that fit.
Holes 1 to 4 play through a first little valley around the club house towards a pond, along a public street. Holes 5 to 8 then play through another valley which is completely surrounded by hills on the property, and holes 9 to 18 meander through an equally tranquil area of the course. All in all very beautiful indeed. The pictures you see in this article are all from the back nine.
Holes I enjoyed most:
Hole 8: An uphill par-5, narrow tee box area, then along a no-go area to the left, small dogleg right, towards a beautiful elevated green complex.
Hole 14: Par-4 with a big tree in the middle of the fairway, with a big pond in front of the well-guarded green, bridges, waterfall, very pretty indeed.
Hole 15: Long par-5, featuring “Na Capitana” a mere 1,000-years old olive tree, the oldest on the island. Pretty stunning to see—the tree and the hole, too.
The course also features two daunting par-3 tee shots, not difficult per se but long. If you’re after a good score, you need to get to the dance floor in one and should carry your ball 180 to 200 meters.
It was a pleasure to play this course, even though there was a “cart path only” rule that week due to the over-seeding which I generally dislike. So two days later, when I had another chance to play the course, I went for a pull-trolley instead and finally a different set of clubs; Callaway with stiff steel shafts and my game was back in play. Too bad that the tournament was over… but it was an even more enjoyable round, this time with Andy as partner.
In order to maximize the pleasure for golfers, who by the way pay up to 220 EUR for a round in high season, it was decided a while ago to go to 12 minute tee time intervals. This move was combined with a newly established yield management system through which the green fee prices constantly change due to 5 variables. That means you play comfortably and might get a treat during times when only few people are interested to play. See for yourself, maybe there’s a bargain around the corner and Mallorca really is nice and enjoyable throughout the whole 12 months of the year.
In early 2020, Son Muntaner was announced being the newest addition to the European Tour Destination collection. A stand-out award for this venue that deserves it, being undoubtedly one of the most beautiful in the Balearic Islands. So deserving that even the European Challenge tour will most likely have their grand season finale to the “Road to Mallorca” series played here at Son Muntaner in 2021. There might be late adjustments necessary due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent closures and alterations to the season schedule, but the course would deserve it nonetheless. And it would deserve the world and especially the island of Mallorca come to a post-Corona situation again in which all golfers can happily and securely go golfing again.
Keeping my fingers crossed!