Once upon a time…to be precise, in 1978… a beautiful golf course was launched in Mallorca’s southwest, just a few kilometres away from the holiday resort of Magaluf. It was called Golf Poniente and quickly became popular amongst golfing holidaymakers, thanks to its diverse layout created by the American professional player John Harris.
But, at some point, Poniente went into an economic decline. In the often-empty car park in front of the clubhouse the wind pushed the dust clouds through the air. Wild chickens began quietly and secretly to fluster on the roughs. Greens and fairways became more and more neglected. Conclusion: The once well-maintained facility began to slowly but surely become overgrown.
Then a rich German businessman named Heiner Tamsen came along. In the early 1980s, Tamsen had laid the foundation for his assets with the sale of wickedly expensive cars. Later, he built luxury yachts on his in-house shipyard. Tamsen had pots of money.
But he couldn’t play golf. That’s why he obtained his license to play on golf courses in Golf Poniente; he was so charmed by the place that he decided to buy the whole club. After years of tough negotiations with the owners, the German finally took over Golf Poniente at the end of 2015 and began to free the place of mandrels, weeds and its tattered image.
We can look forward to the end of this fairy-tale story. At the moment it looks undoubtedly like a happy ending. “We have already changed a lot. But there is still a lot ahead of us,” says Borja Ochoa, who is managing the Club, renamed ‘T Golf & Country Club’ for Heiner Tamsen. With a lot of taste and even more money, the driveway and clubhouse have already been completely renovated and refurbished; roughs and pine trees adjacent to the clubhouse have been set up with LED lights; a new roof-terrace lounge was created; the entire buggy fleet renewed, and all fairways and water obstacles “rejuvenated” rigorously.
Successfully, one would say. The grounds, which resemble traditional English parkland due to their afforestation, are already one of the five most exclusive courses on the island. But there’s more to come. In the next two years, all the greens on the course will be relaid. With top chef Isaac González Nieto, who worked until recently in the restaurant of the luxury hotel Son Julia near Llucmajor, Ochoa wants to make the club attractive for non-golfing gourmets too.
Additionally, in the summer, live-music events are planned on the club’s stylish rooftop lounge. Also, the fairways should soon be more exclusive than before. For example, the annual membership of the club, costing 3,500€, is now limited to 150 people. Whoever comes too late is put on a waiting list. The green fees were also adapted to the new more exclusive look of the club. Depending on the season, guests pay 80 to 120 euros for an 18-hole round. A buggy equipped with a GPS-navigation system will cost you another 40 euros. Not particularly cheap.
And all this after Prince Tamsen did not actually kiss Golf Poniente from its deep Sleeping Beauty slumbers for economic interests. “With golf, there is no money to be made on Mallorca. For this, the investment and operating costs are too high, the profit margins too small,” explained the German only a few weeks after the takeover of Poniente. Manager Borja Ochoa sees it differently: “No company is run just for fun,” he says. Anything else would just be a fairy tale…