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Alex Livie was editor of ESPN.co.uk

  • On the Course

Alcanada makes its mark

Alex Livie September 14, 2012
The views at Alcanada will take the breath away © Getty Images
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Having had to contend with rain for what seemed like 50 years and the local club's fairways resembling a bog, the only sensible option was to head overseas for a bit of golf in the sun.

There was no second invitation needed for a couple of days in Mallorca to play Alcanada and Son Gual, two courses of contrasting styles but both of real quality.

Alcanada is on the northern tip of the island, a short drive from Pollenca - the favoured holiday destination of a certain Bradley Wiggins. So if you see a man whizzing past on a bike, it might, just might…

We're not sure if Britain's favourite cyclist is a fan of golf, but if he is he would almost certainly take in Alcanada. You get a sense of the quality on the drive to the course and a walk up to the changing area takes the breath away, as you get full view of the Bay of Alcudia - which is visible from a number of holes.

Opened in 2003, Alcanada's 18-hole championship course was designed by revered course architect Robert Trent Jones Jnr and it blends seamlessly into the terrain between rolling hills and the Bay of Alcudia shoreline.

The challenge opens up with a dogleg par five, with the opening tee shot a blind one over the brow of a hill - which makes the rather nifty GPS navigation systems in the buggies rather useful.

The opening tee shot gives a feeling of what lies ahead, as the course has wide-open fairways which do offer the chance to score and allows the higher handicapper to not feel too punished.

The fairways were in pristine condition, I did not have a bad lie all round, but it is the greens that secure Alcanada high marks. Perfectly kept, fast and true. These are amongst the fastest greens I have played on but once you have the pace you can putt with confidence as the ball will roll supremely well.

Some courses you play solely for the golf, others it is a combination of golf and its settling. Alcanada falls into the latter category and it is on the 13th tee that it comes into its own. You are at the highest point on the course and looking down over the dog leg par five, you get the view out towards Alcudia and the famous lighthouse that is the signature image of Alcanada.

Son Gual is a real test of nerve © Getty Images
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Getting to Mallorca is easy and Monarch fly year round from Gatwick and Manchester to Palma and the island offers 24 golfing options. Of those in the north, Alcanada is the stand-out option but for those keen to stay near the capital - Son Gual jumps off the page.

Since opening in 2007, Son Gual's reputation has continued to grow and it is easy to see why - given the quality of the course.

From the yellow tees it is 6500 yards, while from the blacks you are charged with having to work it round 7250 yards. It is a stunning test, but one that can be enjoyed by your mid to high handicapper just as much as a scratch player.

The Thomas Himmel design is superb and you do feel that the course will only improve as it matures. Located just 15 minutes from the centre of Palma and a similar distance from the airport, it is ideally situated to be played at any time during your trip.

Picking a highlight is far from easy as there are a number of stunning holes, the ninth which is a par three played towards the clubhouse with a green sloping back towards a lake is taking to the eye. But the more visually stunning holes are on the back nine - the par five 12th with water in play on both sides, the risk-reward par four 14th - and the standout in my opinion - the par five 18th which offers the long hitter the chance to take an ultra-aggressive line and reach the green in two.

The whole establishment oozes quality, with fine dining available, but the atmosphere in and around the clubhouse is relaxed and welcoming with management and staff alike happy to engage in conversation and it all adds to the experience that will live long in the memory and make you want to head back for more.

Golf:

Alcanada Golf:
Cost: from €88
Getting there: Alcanada Golf
Carretera del Faro s/n, 07410 Alcúdia
www.golf-alcanada.com

Son Gual:
Cost: from €100
Getting there: Son Gual Golf S.L.
Finca Son Gual
Ma 15 - Palma - Manacor
07199 Palma de Mallorca
www.son-gual.com

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Getting there:
Leading leisure airline Monarch offers year-round flights to Mallorca from Gatwick and Manchester airports and flights during the summer season from Birmingham, East Midlands and Luton.

For more information or to book, visit www.monarch.co.uk.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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Alex Livie was editor of ESPN.co.uk