From a course designed by a legend to the famous 19th century lighthouse, Mallorca’s only coastal layout has been a beacon of Spanish golf for two decades.
This year marks the 20th year since Club de Golf Alcanada officially opened for play, with the first members of the public teeing off on October 1, 2003.
As the club prepares for the return of the Rolex Challenge Tour Grand Final in November, it’s the perfect time to look back on some of the incredible milestones and moments from the club’s journey so far…
- 1985 – The Idea
Club de Golf Alcanada was almost two decades in the making by the time it opened in 2003. At a dinner between Hans-Peter Porsche and current club president Federico Knuchel, the pair decided to make their mark on the golf scene that had been growing in Mallorca for several decades.
A site was chosen in the far north of the island, making Alcanada the only golf course in Mallorca to be situated right beside the ocean – a distinction it holds to this day.
- 1998 – Robert Trent Jones Jnr
After years of negotiations to gain an array of permits and licenses, the time came to dream up a course worthy of its location. Porsche and his team turned to Robert Trent Jones Jnr, one of the finest golf architects of the era with more than 70 designs under his belt.
Trent Jones Jnr was the mastermind behind a course that blends effortlessly into the landscape of coastal Mallorca. Over two decades later, Alcanada’s par-72 course is still recognised as one of Spain’s best.
- 2002 – The Golden Ball
To celebrate the completion of the course, Hans-Peter Porsche held a private tournament with friends, marking the first competition on Alcanada’s fairways.
Porsche started the round on November 11 by striking the ‘golden ball’, the first of hundreds of thousands of golf balls that would traverse the course in the decades to come.
- 2003 – Open to the Public
Nearly two decades of hard work and perseverance – with the help of some magic from Robert Trent Jones Jnr – culminated in the moment when Alcanada first opened to the public on October 1.
First impressions were already positive, with particular praise for the course’s exciting layout and breathtaking Mediterranean views. More than fifty bunkers make the course a stimulating challenge for golfers of all abilities.
- 2005 – Tee Times Spaced Out
The year 2005 saw a significant change to operations at Alcanada, with intervals between tee times extended from 10 minutes to 12 minutes.
The club made the decision as another way to improve the player experience, giving customers more time and space to enjoy their round – and the views – at their own pace.
- 2007 – The First Big Tournament
With rave reviews right from the start, it was only a matter of time before the club hosted its first big tournament. The Spanish Senior Men’s Individual Championship came to Alcanada in May, marking the biggest event of the venue’s short life up to that point.
The first player to be crowned on Alcanada soil was Miguel Preysler, who shot the best round of the tournament on the final day to win the competition by two strokes.
- 2009 – Setting a Marker
In 2009, Alcanada became the first course on the island to install GPS screens on their golf buggies. The sophisticated system gave the club complete control over its fleet, as well as giving players more options and information than ever on the course.
The development was a sign of Alcanada’s desire to be a trendsetter in golf, as well as the club’s relentless pursuit of the best possible service for their customers.
- 2010 – Seal of Approval
Just seven years after opening to the public, Club de Golf Alcanada was officially certified with UNE 188.001, the Spanish quality seal for golf courses. The certificate – which recognises a range of criteria including sustainability and service – has been renewed every year since 2010.
Quality awards and certifications have been a consistent theme throughout Alcanada’s history; in recent years the venue has earned the Tagmarshal Diamond Award and 59club Gold Flag, among other honours.
- 2011 – The Lighthouse
Alcanada’s iconic lighthouse – a vital part of the venue’s identity – celebrated its 150th anniversary on May 5, 2011.
Famously central to the club’s logo, the lighthouse sits on a small island 270 yards from the shore. Since Club de Golf Alcanada was built, the historic lighthouse has been a fixture of some of the course’s most incredible views.
- 2012 – Copa del Rey
Alcanada staged one of the world’s most popular amateur tournaments when the Copa Del Rey came to the club in February.
Among the field of players was none other than a young Jon Rahm, who would reach #1 in the Official World Golf Ranking eight years later. However, the event was won by England’s Jack Hiluta, while Frenchman Romain Langasque shot a then-course record of 64.
- 2016 – Halfway House
Alcanada’s offering enjoyed another upgrade when the club’s halfway house opened for business.
First available between the 9th and 10th holes, the ‘Lighthouse Bar’ serves a range of drinks, sandwiches and tapas for golfers preparing to take on the back nine.
- 2018 – Major Refurbishment
15 years after Robert Trent Jones Jnr started work on the course, Alcanada took advantage of the 2018/19 winter season to carry out extensive renovations of the club’s layout and facilities.
Alongside new greens and improvements to bunkers and cart paths, the club’s irrigation was improved to further optimise water efficiency.
Meanwhile, an overhaul of the pro shop cemented its status as one of Mallorca’s best places to buy high-quality golf equipment.
- 2018 – Next-Gen Buggies
Five years ago, the resort’s buggy fleet saw another major upgrade when they were equipped with solar panels.
As well as greatly extending the average lifespan of each battery, the switch represented yet another chapter in Alcanada’s push to be as sustainable as possible.
- 2019 – A New Clean-Up Crew
2019 saw the adoption of two donkeys to live on the club’s grounds, near the 13th hole. Alongside the obvious advantage of having donkeys, the animals serve a vital duel purpose – keeping the wooded areas clear of natural debris drastically reduces the risk of fire, and keeping the ecosystem balanced by eating almost any kind of plant life.
A year later, one of the Donkeys, Estrella, gave birth to baby Luna and the trio still work at the club today.
- 2019 – The Challenge Tour Grand Final
For the first time, the Grand Final of the European Challenge Tour took place on Alcanada’s course. The top 45 players fought for just 15 spots on the DP World Tour.
The event was an unqualified success, leading to Alcanada being elected hosts of the competition again in 2022, when England’s Nathan Kimsey won by a single stroke to close a dramatic Challenge Tour season.
- 2020 – Bees
In a year that saw Covid-19 dominate the headlines, Club de Golf Alcanada was working on something very different: bees. Half a dozen beehives were installed on the grounds (far from the activity of the golf course), helping to replenish dwindling numbers of these vital insects.
A year later, the club harvested its first six kilograms of honey courtesy of some 40,000 bees.
- 2021 – Golf East Mallorca
Together with three of the island’s other leading golf clubs, Alcanada became part of Golf East Mallorca, a unified brand looking to promote the sport.
Pula Golf Resort, Golf Son Servera and Capdepera Golf joined Alcanada.
- 2022 – Toptracer Driving Range
The latest innovation taken by Alcanada came in the form of the island’s first Toptracer driving range, which was announced in July.
Another development aimed at improving the experience for players at the venue, the new range uses high-tech cameras to measure and feedback statistics on every drive a golfer makes.
- 2022 – A New Course Record
For the first time in a decade, a new record for best round at Club de Golf Alcanada was set in 2022.
On the final day of the Rolex Challenge Tour Grand Final, South Africa’s JC Ritchie shot an astonishing 63 to make history with the club’s lowest ever score. It was Ritchie’s only round under par of the event.
- 2023 – The Future
Club de Golf Alcanada kicked off its 20th anniversary year with plenty to look forward to. The Rolex Challenge Tour Grand Final Supported by The R&A will return to the venue once again in 2023, as well as the Copa de Baleares in December.
For 20 years, Alcanada has thrilled and delighted players of all abilities, ranging from passionate amateurs to some of the finest professional golfers of modern times.