Son Gual, Mallorca’s number-one golf destination, has received a further accolade with the title of ‘best golf course’ awarded by Leading Golf Courses of Europe (LGCE).
For the first time, LGCE – now rebranded as World of Leading Golf – has awarded two accolades to clubs within its portfolio, ‘best golf course’ and ‘best performing newcomer’, which will now become annual honours.
And it was the €30m Thomas Himmel-designed Son Gual course which picked up the inaugural ‘best golf course’ title at the 59Club awards dinner at Forest of Arden Hotel & Country Club, in a ceremony hosted by BBC sports presenter Dan Walker.
The award was determined by the club’s performance in a number of test visits carried out by LGCE partner 59Club, Europe’s leading golf-specific mystery shopper service. The stunning layout, which lies just more than seven miles from the island’s international airport, achieved the top rating in best quality, best variety and design, and best quality food. It was also hailed as a ‘must’ for recommendation and heralded for its beauty and ambience.
Andreas Pamer, Son Gual’s general manager, was unable to attend the awards’ ceremony owing to a prior engagement, but in a message read out to the assembled guests, he said: “I’d like to thank Claus and everybody at World of Leading Golf for this award. To know that we have achieved such outstanding results in these tests is a fabulous way to start the new golfing season.
“We take pride at Son Gual in providing the best quality product at a fair price and awards such as this – and the footfall we see from golfers from all across Europe – tell us we are doing something right.”
The LGCE honour is the latest recognition for a course which has been turning heads for all the right reasons since it opened in 2007. It is listed as the eighth-best course in Spain and the top venue in Mallorca in Golf World’sbenchmark Top 100 Courses in Continental Europe 2014 rankings.
Golf World described the venue as “one of the finest inland courses on the continent”, and continued: “Son Gual is what a modern championship course should be, and, taken together with its fabulous clubhouse and practice facilities, is every inch a serious Tour venue … it stands comparison with our own high-octane parklands The Grove and The Belfry – not least in the conditioning stakes, which is no mean achievement.”
Borne of a desire in its owner, Adam Pamer, for Mallorca to have a golf course worthy of the sunshine island, Son Gual was sculpted expertly out of a large piece of barren agricultural land. The transformation into a world-class golf course has created a venue which features large lakes, 66 bunkers, 800 olive trees – some more than a thousand years old – wild flowers in the rough and vineyards in several areas around the course.
It includes several outstanding, memorable holes including a closing hole described by one reviewer as a “serious contender for Europe’s best par-five and Spain’s most dramatic 18th”. Son Gual features an innovative Logicalgolf teaching centre – one of just four in Europe, and it was just the third in the world, when founder Robert Baker launched his first Spanish academy in the summer of 2013.
Son Gual is also a regular haunt for many of the island’s visiting celebrities and sports stars. Lothar Matthäus, who captained Germany to FIFA World Cup success in 1990, is among recent visitors, and he was preceded by the likes of German national team manager Joachim Löw, Spanish World Cup winner Pepe Reina, and tennis superstars Boris Becker and 14-time grand-slam event winner Rafael Nadal, who is a regular visitor, when not competing on the ATP World Tour.
Other recent celebrity visitors include the former mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg and Ladies European Tour sensation Charley Hull.
Son Gual also regularly hosts corporate events for big-name brands such as Rolex, Mercedes Benz and Porsche.