Spain’s lovely Mediterranean islands are perfect for beach holidays to suit all tastes and pockets, but only Majorca has established itself as a major golf destination. A dozen courses ring the island, with scope for scratch players and hackers alike. The capital, Palma, is dominated by the 13th-century cathedral and the Moorish Almudaina royal palace, while neighbouring Magaluf is a testosterone party heaven.
On the southern shores, white sandy beaches have been intensively developed for the summer holiday market. The west has dramatic cliffs, the north magical coves fringed with pines. To meet sophisticated contemporary expectations, farms and manors are being converted into B&Bs and restaurants that specialise in grandma’s recipes.
Menorca is more relaxed, with historic monuments in the port of Mahon — the original source of mayonnaise — and the capital, Ciudadella. The coasts are broken into rocky calas (coves) while the interior offers walking, cycling or riding through mellow countryside. Ibiza is the opposite: a party island favoured by rock stars – James Blunt has a house there. San Antonio has its strip of cheap bars, the Old Town its castle and cocktail lounges, but it’s legendary clubs like Pacha and Amnesia, with their headline DJs and foam parties, that pull in the big crowds.
Don’t miss: Sa Punta Restaurant, San Servera. Owned and run by the Nadal family, with sea views, rustic dishes and live music. Look out for Rafa’s granddad on the piano.
Alcanada Golf Club
The elite course in the prestigious north has rocketed up the ‘must play’ list since it opened in 2003. Designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr, it takes no prisoners, with holes unfolding over hilly terrain overlooking the sea. Spot the club’s trademark lighthouse across Alcudia Bay from the terrace of a clubhouse set in a former manor.
Golf came to Majorca in 1964 when England’s Fred Hawtree unveiled a layout set among mature trees in a smart Palma suburb. Now owned by Arabella Golf, it makes up the island’s largest complex with sister courses, Son Muntaner and Son Quint. Pause a moment on the sixth hole to admire an outstanding cityscape, dominated by the cathedral.
Pula Golf Club
Opened in 1995, but comprehensively refurbished in 2004 by Spanish Ryder Cup hero, Jose Maria Olazabal. Now fit for greater purpose, Rafa Nadal’s home club is the venue for the annual Olazabal & Nadal Invitational pro-am staged in November in aid of the Majorcan tennis star’s Foundation. The 1581 Manor House has simple suites and rustic dining for the discerning traveller.
Addicts holidaying on Menorca and Ibiza can feed their golf habit at San Parc (€45-75, + 34 971 188875) and Golf de Ibiza (+34 971 196118) respectively.