By Matthew Cull
Today we review Golf Son Gual, located on the Palma to Manacor road, just a ten-minute drive from Palma. This is the golf course you can see out of the left-hand side of your plane if approaching Palma Airport from the north, about two minutes before touchdown. The distinctive water fountain in the middle of the lake is clearly visible as a landmark along with some of the huge greens and bunkers.
I arrived at the course with my playing partner for the day, my neighbour and friend, Steve, who runs the successful merchandising business, www.redhotbranding.co.uk. We were greeted warmly by the lady on reception and checked in for our 10:12 tee-off time. By the time we had turned around and taken the few steps to the front of the clubhouse, the caddy master had our buggy waiting for us. We attached our golf bags, popped a couple of bottles of water into the holders and headed off to the driving range. Both of us, it turned out, were a little bit rusty but the time spent warming up on the spacious range certainly helped. We then headed off to the first tee…
We played on a quiet Wednesday in early October which meant that we didn’t have any players immediately in front of behind and therefore no audience for our tee shots off the first tee. After a quick discussion about whether to play off the yellow tees or the whites, we took the ‘go hard or go home’ philosophy and decided on the latter, meaning we had total course yardage of just over 7200. The tee box has an enviable, elevated position affording a great panoramic overview of the hole.
Two fairly straight drives, albeit not that long, got us underway. We jumped in the buggy and headed off down the hill towards the fairway. The course has tarmac buggy paths but you can drive them onto the fairways, just not too near the greens. There are signs to warn of prohibited areas. When we pulled up alongside our balls on the fairway, the iPad-sized screen in the golf buggy told us the yardage to the centre of the green and also mentions other notable yardages to bunkers and water hazards. It’s worth noting that most European courses measure hole and course distances in metres. I’ve been playing golf since I was about fourteen, mainly in the U.K where we measured in yards. I don’t think I will convert to metres now! The screen in the buggy lets you choose either yards or metres and also offers a preview of each hole by means of a video flyover. A great gadget, and extremely useful.
We completed the whole in five shots each and moved on.
Some consistent golf over the next couple of hours brought us to the ninth hole, a challenging par-3 that brings you back to the clubhouse, which was great because by this time we were both very hungry!
We parked the buggy and found a seat on the terrace overlooking the 18th green. We enjoyed a couple of cañas and some lunch. The food, drinks, and service were excellent.
The back nine seemed more challenging than the front nine, and the scorecard reflected that.
The final hole is a memorable par-5 with plenty of water to navigate and is a fitting end to a great 18 holes of golf around the undulating terrain, and with some of the largest bunkers and greens that I’ve ever played. The selection of par-3’s at Son Gual was certainly a highlight for me.
Son Gual has been compared to Augusta National by former Masters’ champion Ian Woosnam, and deservedly so. It’s a fantastic course with a convenient location to boot. It should be a ‘must visit’ for any residents or visitors to the island.
For tee bookings and more information, please visit www.son-gual.com.