Wednesday, October 15

Golf Travel: Golf Son Parc on Island of Menorca in Mediterranean Sea

All images courtesy of John Coyne.
By John Coyne

Copyright © John Coyne. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

FROM THE AIR, THE BALEARIC ISLAND of Menorca lies open like one’s palm, smooth and pink, and crisscrossed with twisting and narrow roads that resemble so many lifelines. The island, one also sees from the air, crowds its coasts. High-rise hotel complexes and sprawling urbanizations hem in rocky coves and patches of Mediterranean sand, leaving the interior to a handful of scattered towns, miles of low rock walls, isolated whitewashed farmhouses and fields of rolling pasture land.

Menorca is in the Mediterranean, 130 miles off the coast of Spain. Less than 32 miles long and only nine miles wide, it has more than 100 sandy beaches, rocky coves and tiny inlets. The abundance of warm blue water beaches is the island’s greatest but not its only attraction. Now this tiny (overlooked) island has a short, beautiful and challenging 18-hole golf course.

Golf Son Parc is part of the urbanization of Son Parc, a tourist area on the north coast of the island, a few kilometers from the beach of Arenal de Son Saura which is famous for its long stretches of golden Mediterranean sand.

Picturesque, Par of 69

The par-3 16th hole at Golf Son Parc.
The golf course opened in 1977 with nine holes adjacent to the development, Son Parc. I played there several times in the Seventies when first visiting the island. Then the development got serious with their golf course and Dave Thomas, the former British PGA pro who went on to have a distinguished career as a golf architect, built an 18-hole course.

Golf Son Parc is a short layout, not particularly hilly, and surrounded by pine woods and a nature reserve. The course plays to a par 69, with six par 3's, nine par 4's, and three par 5's. It is more picturesque than competitive, but when the infamous Menorcan Tramuntana winds blow in the winter, play can be extremely difficult on this narrow layout. One side of the course borders an extensive wet area; that, and a colony of peacocks, are two of the distinctive characteristics of the course.

Gustavo Leonardo Flammia, an Italian-Argentinean, is the golf pro. He started his career as a golf architect and became a golf teacher in 2005. "Tato," as he is nicknamed at the club, is a member of the Spanish PGA.

The busiest months for golf are from May to October, though the course is open 365 days a year, as is the clubhouse restaurant, Es Bruc Golf. Callaway clubs can be rented, and carts are available, although in Europe they’re called buggies.

My favorite hole is the 12th, a par 3, 166 yards long. A short hole that has trouble on the left side, as it is bordered by a typical Menorcan dry-stone wall. It also has a bunker on the right running virtually from the tee to a large undulating green. What makes the hole special is a clear view of the nature reserve on the right and of Monte Toro, the island’s highest point, in the far distance.

Besides golf, Menorca has endless golden beaches and calm, clear Mediterranean blue water to enjoy, as well as many examples of well-preserved Bronze Age megalithic monuments to see, and the chance to take part in numerous patron saint festivals that are celebrated almost weekly in the many small towns throughout the long summer months.

Think about a vacation next year. Start by sending an email to the lovely and helpful Paola Ferroni, the Golf Son Parc Club Manager. Ask Paola, or her first-rate assistant, Stephanie, for suggestions on where to stay on the island, and while doing that book your tee time.

Email addresses: paola@menorcagolf.es or info@menorcagolf.es. Also check out their website: www.golfsonparcmenorca.com.

John Coyne is a bestselling author whose latest golf novel is The Caddie Who Won the Masters. Learn more at John Coyne Books.

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