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Build your own - Next to a European Tour golf course

IN MAY, PGA CATALUNYA NEAR BARCELONA HOSTED THE SPANISH OPEN, AND SON GUAL THE MALLORCA SENIOR OPEN. PETER SWAIN LOOKS AT THE PROPERTY OPPORTUNITIES AT THESE TWO OUTSTANDING (EUROPEAN TOUR) VENUES

Few clubs measure up to the Tour's exacting standards, and not many of those have fairway- side building plots currently available. If a feature of the recent property slump has been a 'flight to quality', then both PGA Catalunya and Son Gual definitely make the cut.

John Hopkins describes the ten year-old PGA Catalunya club near Girona is one of the best set-ups on the Tour's schedule. The Stadium course matches Valderrama for topography, design and condition; the Tour course provides mid and high handicappers with a less exacting but no less scenic challenge. The new clubhouse is outstanding, the on-site hotel above average.

Purists should be reassured the property will not detract from the golf.The large plots for sale are tastefully tucked away behind a screen of trees.The service roads and main services are already in, so this won't be one of those Costa del Sol horror stories. The smaller plots start at 8002 meters. In old money, that's roughly 80 foot wide by 110 foot deep, a decent size for a three to four bedroom villa.

The larger plots are anything from 2,0002meters (140 foot by 150 foot). Prices aren't cheap. The 8002 meter plots cost from €250,000, the larger ones are €600,000 plus. A range of modern architectural styles is proposed. Playing rights go with the purchase. 15 minutes to the airport and coast, and an hour to Barcelona, skiing in the Pyrenees and France, should suit all the family.

A generation ago,Mallorca acquired a reputation for ‘cheap and cheerful' that has proved difficult to shake off. In fact most of the island is altogether classier, with a range of five star hotel and golf courses attracting heavy hitters from across northern Europe.

Set in 156 hectares, the €30 million, two year-old Son Gual club, 15 minutes northeast of Palma, is the dream of German millionaire industrialist and golf nut, Adam Pamer.When I played it the day after Mark James won the Mallorca Senior Open, the condition of the course was quite breathtaking. Take a bow,Mr Pamer.

It's long and varied, with water, 800 newly planted olive trees and aggressive bunkering providing the first challenge. The second is the cleverly angled greens, which Ian Woosnam likened to Augusta's. Huge and heavily contoured – my fourball greeted two-putts as fist pumping triumphs.

A revolutionary €2 million water treatment plant guarantees no water shortage will ever compromise the green keeper's stratospherically high standards.

With views over the course and the Bay of Palma, the property is next to, but not actually part of the estate. 140 plots, from 2,0002 meters are available, starting at €240,000, with buyers free to design and build their own property. Expect to double that price and then some for a good spec villa and pool. A range of memberships will cost extra, from €7,500 a year up to €50,000 for a Gold debenture.

Checking out the property would be a great excuse to play either course this summer.

Contacts: www.pgacatalunya.com/real estate Tel: 0207 629 8171 www.cluttonsmallorca.com Tel: 00 34 971 734 073

Reproduced with kind permission of Golf International Magazine






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