Michael Weston samples the delights of Arrabella Golf's three cracking courses
Majestic Mallorca – Arabella Golf
With blue seas, golden sands and a capital brimming with positivity, it’s no wonder Mallorca has been a Balearic favourite for so many years.
Its favourable year-round climate and superb accessibility mean you could holiday here half a dozen times a year and not run out of new options.
On the golf front, Arabella Golf Mallorca offers a number of excellent courses of comparable quality to many of mainland Spain’s top tracks.
Son Vida is the perfect place to start your Arabella tour.
This is a course rich in history, with the F.W. Hawtree design celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2014.
The famous architect was no doubt inspired by the Mediterranean’s rich landscape, resulting in a highly varied course that is completely in tune with
The late, great Seve fell in love with it following his Open de Baleares victory in 1990.
Four years later, Barry Lane won here, and although the course may lack the defences required to keep modern-day big hitters at bay, the likes of Bernhard Langer, Miguel Ángel Jiménez, Costantino Rocca and Lee Westwood were all put through their paces on this wonderful layout.
More recently, German designer Kurt Rossknecht helped restructure the course, although it has not lost any of its charm in a sensitive upgrade and modernisation.
Son Vida is not a long course; instead the challenge lies in finding the right position from the tee.
Narrow fairways and some relatively small greens make putting a good score together far from straightforward, with a longer iron often the right play from the tee.
This is certainly the case on the 1st, or you can ignore such advice altogether, take out your driver and knock it on the green with a high power fade!
The par-5 6th gives you a chance to tackle ‘San Francisco’, so called because of its narrow, downhill slope, reminiscent of the streets of the Californian city. It’s a test of how bold you’re feeling, as out of bounds lurks both left and right.
Next to the course, the delightful Sheraton Mallorca Arabella Golf Hotel, added in 1992, is the perfect place to unwind and dissect your game before heading out again, although 36 holes at the height of summer is a tough ask. An afternoon by the hotel’s stunning pool is probably more advisable.
The Sheraton is effortlessly beautiful, as is the nearby Castillo Hotel Son Vida, which has welcomed members of the Spanish royal family, Brigitte Bardot and Zsa Zsa Gabor.
There are few better places in Mallorca to enjoy a cocktail than out on the terrace here overlooking Palma Bay.
Should your evening take you into Palma, you’re in for a treat, too.
Tast Club comes highly recommended, but do set aside a good few hours to do it justice and savour the atmosphere.
Arabella Golf Mallorca also has two newer 18-holers and Golf Son Muntaner, designed by Rossknecht, presents quite a test.
The 1st tee favours a fade and may not look intimidating, but overdo it and you’ll end up out of bounds on the range.
Water is then a constant threat up to the par-3 5th, which normally requires a long iron to a raised green.
One of the back nine’s standout holes is the short par-4 14th, where it’s vital to avoid going left.
The green is well protected by water on three sides, with two bunkers on the right.
The 15th is then a really tough par 5, where you can also admire ‘Na Capitana’– a 1,000-year-old olive tree.
Golf Son Quint
Golf Son Quint, designed by Rossknecht and Ramón Espinosa, opened in 2007. Putting a score together here is generally easier, although views of the Bay of Palma can prove a distraction.
Beginners, or those looking to hone their short games, will find the nine-hole Golf Son Quint Pitch + Putt more than adequate, and great fun.
This destination, a short distance from Palma, will suit weekend golfers, as well as families and those on longer breaks. Arabella Golf Mallorca is not standing still either, and you can expect its trio of courses to go from strength to strength.