Summon up images of a sun kissed Spanish isle and mix with the rustic charm and character of a rural English golf club, and you have Golf De Poniente on Mallorca’s Calvia Coast.
Prior to the opening of Golf Son Gual – the 30m EURO course near Palma Airport – Poniente was universally regarded as the best designed golf course on Mallorca.
Its signature par-four 10th hole has drawn rave acclaim from Spain’s best known golf course architect Pepe Gancedo, who still lives on the island.
The first thing you will notice is the beautiful rustic clubhouse, terracotta coloured and draped in ivy vines.
The second is the sound of cockerels, the birds that once lived at El Gallo de Can Barral, the farm upon which the golf course and clubhouse are now built.
They are part of the club’s unique ambience, and over the years have acquired respect for the golfer, and rarely crow on the backswing.
Opened in 1978, Poniente has the kind of status on the island that is afforded to the older Scottish clubs in Britain, and is a favourite of British and German golfers staying in the coastal resorts around Palma.
Its 18-hole 6,430-metre par-72 layout was created by John Harris, and combines woodland, lakes, sweeping terrain and large quick greens.
The first four holes are a gentle start but soon enough the course reveals its guile at the intriguing stretch between the 7th and 10th holes.
The 8th hole plays blind and steeply downhill with a ravine to the right.
Feel the drive into the fairway and you’ll have a medium iron left to a big green surrounded by palms and panoramic views.
The best is still to come.
Poniente’s best and Gancedo’s favourite, number 10 will scare you at the tee. Water and reed beds loom large and right, bunkers guard the run-off at the fairway end and a watermill has an iconic status in the distance.
The green seems right and unreachable, but if you hit a good one you can carry the water.