MAJORCA

MAJORCA

BALEARIC BEAUTY!

Debate rages over the correct spelling of the island’s name. Is it Majorca or should it be Mallorca? Let’s start with the “J” version, which reputedly emanates from when the Romans arrived in 123BC. The Roman Emperor of the time decided to name two if the islands Balearic Minor and Balearic Major, it’s your guess why they added CA on the end! When in the 13th century King James the 1st of Aragon arrived to claim the island, they obviously used the Catalan spelling with double “L”. So, is the “J” version correct on the case of longevity and what’s more does it really matter? The Spanish neither enunciate “J’s” or “L’s” so either way it’s simply pronounced as “Mayorca”!

The largest of Spain’s islands, Majorca’s history mirrors most of the countries which border the Mediterranean Sea in that it has been invaded and occupied by most of the ancient civilizations; Phoenicians, Romans, Vandals, Byzantines and the Moors; all contributing in one way or another to the rich tapestry of its culture. Majorca encountered another invasion in the 1960’s! This time they were called tourists, mainly from Britain. By and large it was a peaceful invasion, they came in search of sunshine and with an average of 300 days per year, Majorca was happy to oblige.

The topography of Majorca presents two extremely contrasting faces, the rugged mountains of the Tramuntara range form the backbone of the island and dominate the entire north coast. The dramatic coastline is punctuated by precipitous cliffs, enchanting hidden coves and fabulous fishing villages begging to be explored, often reached by tortuous, twisting roads that traverse the mountains bestowing brilliant, breathtaking views. High in the mountains there are a plethora of picture postcard villages, the most famous being Valldemossa, not only because this is authentic Majorca at its best, unspoilt by progress, but also because of its connections with the composer Chopin. Conversely, the centre of the island is a vast flat plain, peppered with a profusion of ancient windmills. Manacor, in the east has cornered the world market in artificial pearls and is the birthplace of one of the few Majorcans that the world has heard of; Rafa Nadal. The eastern coastal resorts are embellished with sensational swathes of sundrenched sand, the Bay of Alcudia being a prime example. The island lays claim to 35 blue flag beaches within its 300 mile coastline, enough to satisfy the most dedicated of sun seekers!

Majorca as a golf holiday destination has grown slowly but surely from the opening of its first course, Son Vida, in 1964, followed in 1967 by the 9 hole (now 18) Son Servera club. There was then a hiatus until the mid 1970’s and the opening of the first Santa Ponsa course in 1977, since when courses have been built with reasonable regularity. There are now over 20 layouts, designed by such eminent golf course architects as Jack Nicklaus and Robert Trent Jones JNR with Son Gual and Alcanada being rated in continental Europe’s top 100.

More than half of Majorca’s courses are concentrated in its south-west corner, within striking distance of the island’s capital, Palma. The remaining courses being located in the north and along the east coast. However, due to the compact size of the island the majority of courses can still be reached in little over an hour wherever you choose as your base.

The quality of the golf in Majorca is of the highest echelon and now attracts in excess of 100,000 golfers per year. It may have lost its mantle as Spain’s best kept golfing secret, but its courses are still not as crowded as you would find in the golfing hotspots of mainland Spain or Portugal. At a fraction over two hours flying time from most UK airports, wonderful year round weather and festooned with fantastic courses it’s no surprise that golfers flock to this….

BALEARIC BEAUTY!