Son Quint is the newest of the three 18-hole courses at the Arabella Golf and Spa Resort in Palma, Mallorca, and it made its debut in 2007. Son Vida, a Fred Hawtree design, was first on the scene in 1964 (the oldest course on the island) followed by Son Muntaner, which Kurt Rossknect fashioned in 2001.
An undulating, eminently walkable layout that offers sea views across the Bay of Palma’s sparkling waters, Son Quint is a gentler test than the other two Arabella courses but it still possesses the sort of challenge that will stretch the more accomplished golfer.
There are no giant sand traps or silly water hazards on the layout. Instead, holes are sensibly constructed through stands of pine and olive trees, with distances between green and next tee box kept to a minimum, encouraging golfers to walk the course.Feature holes include the right doglegged par four 8th, which is played to the highest point on the course with the tee shot aimed at Palma Cathedral, and the par three 12th (one of only three short holes on the card), where the green is positioned behind a rather intimidating pond.
Compared to the Son Muntaner and Son Vida courses at the Arabella Golf & Spa Resort, the Son Quint might be regarded as something of the poor relation. Green fees are certainly the lowest of the three courses and they do say that you get what you pay for but I didn’t find the course to be that inferior to the other two tracks, actually.
Conditioning was good and the holes were nicely routed, though the fairways are laid out within a less expansive property than the other two courses. Before playing, if you look at the map on the back of the scorecard, you could possibly think the course might be a bit tedious as more than half the holes are laid out parallel to each other in the same northwest-southeast direction but you’d never know that was the case once you get going.
There are only three short holes on the layout, the second of which (at the 12th) is an absolute beast of a par three with an all-carry tee shot across water to a sand-protected green.
The best hole on the front nine is the short par four 8th, playing blind to a hidden green that lies at a 90° angle beyond the perimeter wall of a property that bounds the right side of the fairway. It’s a sort of mini Road Hole in reverse, where the approach, rather than the tee shot, has to cut across an external obstacle (a resident’s tennis court) on the way to the flag – it’s a totally outrageous hole but one that’s really fun to play.
On the inward half, I loved the par five 13th as the narrow confines of the fairway (and a lone tree in the middle of the fairway) reminded me so much of the lovely Son Vida sister course. The least said about the fountains on holes 10 and 12 the better though, thankfully, water only comes into play at those two holes.
I can understand if you’d prefer to skip the Son Quint if you only had time for 36-holes at the resort but it’s really worth playing, especially if you can secure one of Arabella’s 3-course green fee packages.
The 8th hole as described above by Jim is now gone as work has just started to redevelop it into a straight par 4 with the green to left of the 7th tee. The 9th will become a par 3.
Personally, I will not mourn the loss of the now defunct 8th. Playing a hybrid or 3-wood to the dog leg, followed by a pitch or very short iron into a partly obscured, flattish green did not inspire me.
However, the heroic kind of shot Jim describes must have been attempted by lots of people trying to recover from a failed drive, as the number of golf balls on the neighbouring tennis court apparently was an important factor behind this redevelopment.
The new 8th hole, however, will be a shortish, downhill par 4, very tempting to attack directly from the tee. There are too few of these holes on modern courses, I think, so a welcome addition.
The real loss in my view is the current par 4 9th, one of my favourites, with its inviting tee shot and the views over Palma on the second shot to a green where any pin to the far right has been a real challenge.
The course currently has two long par 3s and the steep uphill 14th, so a new shortish one would balance the design nicely. Let us hope it turns out really well.