The Balearic Islands are an Spanish archipelago situated in the western Mediterranean Sea, near the Spanish coast.
The four largest islands are Majorca, Menorca, Ibiza, and Formentera. Many minor islands and islets are close to the larger islands, including Cabrera, Dragonera, and S’Espalmador. The islands have a Mediterranean climate, and the four major islands are all popular tourist destinations. Ibiza, in particular, is known as an international party destination, attracting many of the world’s most popular DJs to its nightclubs. The islands’ culture and cuisine are similar to those of the rest of Spain but have their own distinctive features.
The archipelago forms an autonomous community and a province of Spain, with Palma de Mallorca as the capital. The 2007 Statute of Autonomy declares the Balearic Islands as one nationality of Spain. The co-official languages in the Balearic Islands are Catalan and Spanish.
Located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, the Balearic Islands unsurprisingly have typical Mediterranean climates. The below-listed climatic data of the capital Palma are typical for the archipelago, with minor differences to other stations in Majorca, Ibiza, and Menorca.
The cuisine of the islands can be grouped as part of wider Catalan, Spanish or Mediterranean cuisines. It features a lot of pastry, cheese, wine, pork, and seafood. Sobrassada is a local pork sausage. Lobster stew from Menorca, is one of their most well-sought-after dishes, attracting even King Juan Carlos I to the islands. Mayonnaise is said to originate from the Menorcan city of Maó, which also produces its own cheese. Local pastries include Ensaimada, Flaó, and Coca.
Both Catalan and Spanish are official languages in the islands. Catalan is designated as a “llengua pròpia”, literally “own language” in its statute of autonomy. The Balearic dialect features several differences from standard Catalan. Practically all residents of the Balearic Islands speak Spanish fluently. In 2003 74.6% of the Islands’ residents also knew how to speak Catalan and 93.1% could understand it. Other languages, such as English, German, French and Italian, are often spoken by locals, especially those who work in the tourism industry.
Tennis player Rafael Nadal, winner of 19 Grand Slam single titles, and former world no. 1 tennis player Carlos Moyá are both from Majorca. Rafael Nadal’s uncle, Miguel Ángel Nadal, is a former Spanish international footballer. Other famous sportsmen include basketball player Rudy Fernández and motorcycle road racer Jorge Lorenzo, who won the 2010, 2012 and 2015 MotoGP World Championships.
Whale watching is also expected for expanding future tourism of the islands.
Ibiza has also recently become one of the main yacht centers in the world, attracting a large number of charter yachts and is the second most expensive marina in the world.
For the islands, golf courses have been an important factor in broadening the region’s appeal for the golfing holidays beyond the famous sun-kissed beaches.
The Real Federación Española de Golf is split into nineteen geographical areas and one of these, Federación Balear de Golf, acts as the golfing authority for the amateur game in the Balearic Isles.
Golf de Ibiza and Golf Son Parc are still the only courses on Ibiza and Menorca respectively, but Majorca has developed into a major golfing destination over the last thirty years. Today the island has 23 golf courses, 20 of which are open to visitors golfers. Geography and modern roads make sure that they are all no more than an hour’s drive away from virtually any point on the island. For those who prefer not to drive, there are resorts like Son Antem near Llucmayor to the southeast of Palma’s airport, Pula in the east, and the hotels at Son Vida, Son Muntaner, and Son Quint on the outskirts of the regional capital Palma de Majorca. All of these courses are also open to holiday golfers.
Son Vida is the oldest golf course on the island. F.W. Hawtree originally designed. Son Vida golf course and the first nine holes opened for play in 1964, with Prince Rainier of Monaco officially opening the course. Back then, the opening tee shot was played from the old downhill 1st (now the 6th), a hole that’s popularly known as “San Francisco”.
This year T-Golf & Country Club will host the European Challenge Tour Grand Final
The Balearic Island made its return to the Challenge Tour International Schedule for the first time since 2003 last year, with Francesco Laporta celebrating double success by clinching both the Grand Final and the season-long Road to Mallorca Rankings at the the Robert Trent Jones Jr designed Club de Golf Alcanada.
A four-year deal between the Challenge Tour and the Federación Balear de Golf sees the Grand Final be moved to a different venue on the island each year, with T-Golf & Country Club now assuming hosting duties for 2020.
The two top courses in the region are relative newcomers, having opened after 2000. Alcanada golf course was fashioned by Robert Trent Jones Jr. and bankrolled by the Porsche family, while Son Gual golf course was designed by German amateur champion Thomas Himmel and financed by double glazing entrepreneur Adam Pamer.
Mallorca‘s golf peak period is spring (April-May) and autumn (October-November), when many golfers come to extend their golfing season and when temperatures tend to be pleasantly warm. Golf courses receive little traffic during the main tourist season (July-August) because of the heat, while the winter months mean lower temperatures and sharing the courses mainly with local golfers.
Should you decide to visit Mallorca in the autumn, do keep in mind that the main challenge for the island’s greenkeepers is recovering the turf after the hot and dry summer. Rain in Spain falls mainly at the wrong time and that explains some of the challenges of the greenkeepers.