Son Vida is a course from another era, but still great fun to play. It’s by far the shortest and narrowest of the three courses, with generally smaller green areas.
The course was designed by Hawtree and opened in 1964 as a nine hole course. Over the years it was expanded to 18 holes, and in 2001 it was updated by Rossknecht at the same time as he worked on Son Muntaner. Most of the updating was technical (irrigation, hazards), but the 13th and 18th were more drastically changed.
The course is almost like two courses in one. The first twelve holes are played in a Mediterranean forest landscape, with narrow fairway corridors, mostly tree-lined, but sometimes by houses. With many of the holes being fairly short, it is easy to think that you can almost reach the green if you only hit a slight draw, or manage that fade, but more often than not that type of thinking results in a lost ball. If you play strategically and mostly leave your driver in the bag you’ll do better in the long run.
This is especially true on the narrow downhill par five 6th hole. It can be reached with three iron shots. A driver off the tee means a lost ball many times. Number six used to be the opening hole in the original layout, so I imagine many golfers were frustrated even before leaving the first tee.
Notable on the first nine is the par three 8th holes, short and with the green far below the tee. What a view, and what a chance for an ace.
The second nine starts out with even narrower fairway corridors than the first, but it all changes when you reach hole 13. Now the course opens up, and you can see all the remaining holes, the clubhouse, and the Sheraton Arabella. The forest is no longer a big factor, but now water comes into play on a few of the remaining holes. This is especially true on the 18th, with water down the left for your tee shot, and water to your right for you second and approach shots. Unless the last two shots are one and the same. If so you are either really good or really foolish.
After finishing up, you can enjoy lunch or a beer on the new (2016) clubhouse terrace, overlooking the 18th green. If your friends are behind you, you can take pleasure in that it is them, not you, struggling on the tough finishing hole.