AS injuries increasingly inhibit his appearances and quest for further major titles, you are more likely to discover Rafael Nadal striking a smaller ball in his native Majorca.

The Spanish tennis star revealed in his autobiography, published five years ago, that a foot problem prompted thoughts of an alternative career in golf.

The ambidextrous Nadal (he plays tennis left-handed, golf right-handed) is, along with several members of his family, an unobtrusive member of Son Servera on his home island.

You would not know it. Pictures of him deliberately do not adorn the walls of the clubhouse. Son Servera is Nadal's sanctuary, away from the lenses and the limelight.

Down to a three handicap now, he displays a similar degree of competitive intensity when swapping the Wimbledon lawns for the fairways. "I am decidedly unfriendly during a golf game, from the first hole to the last," Nadal confessed in his autobiography.

"I barely say a word to my rivals; I certainly don’t compliment them on a good shot. They complain, they get angry with me, curse me for my rudeness.

"I just don’t see the point of playing a sport unless you're giving it your all."

Nadal-type accuracy with his clubbing forehand is needed off the tee on the first nine holes at Son Servera, with the narrow short grass bordered by pine and palm trees.

It gets a bit easier after that at a course with a thriving academy which has produced another name to look out for.

Nuria Iturrios won the Ladies European Tour event in Morocco in May by six shots with a closing round of 65.

Her feat is all the more impressive when you consider she is only 20, is in her debut season on tour and triumphed in only her third tournament.

For us mere mortals, Son Servera is a pleasant experience on an island serving up 19 courses, all within a shortish drive of an hour or so of each other, which cater both for the holidaymaker golfer and more discerning regular players.

Son Servera is the second oldest - Son Vida was the first, built in 1964.

They are spread across the island, the name of which means 'Larger One', signifying that Majorca is the biggest of the Belearics.

The most expansive and the most popular too with Brits of the set which also includes Ibiza, Menorca and Formentera.

It is easy to understand why. A flight of little more than two hours with scheduled carriers like Monarch lands you all-year round in an environment of sunshine, blue flag beaches and activities to suit all tastes.

From the throbbing nightlife of Magaluf to the Serra de Tramuntana mountain range, running down the west of the island, which has been made a World Heritage Site in recognition of the innovative methods used down the centuries to farm its steep slopes.

The golf is slightly more expensive, the quality of the courses not quite as high as on parts of the Spanish mainland, but some of the views are spectacular.

The 15th at Capdepera, close to Son Servera on the north-east coast, is a prime example.

The challenging par three, with distant views of the Sierra Llevant mountains and a wide green surrounded by lost-ball terrain, is renowned with good reason as the best hole on the island.

The Serrano Palace, part of a family-owned small chain of hotels, is attractively positioned adjacent to the beach with most of the trappings you would expect of a five-star establishment, apart from unreliable wi-fi.

A short stroll from the tranquility of the hotel is Ratjada's sprawling harbour, brimming with lively and classy restaurants and bars.

High-class cuisine is not difficult to find on Majorca. The island boasts seven Michelin-starred restaurants.

A feast for golfers is offered on the west coast. Son Quint, next to Son Vida, is a good starting point for those who play occasionally.

The front nine is forgiving. More serious players would regard it as bland, but the second nine provides some interesting challenges.

Further inland, Majorca Puntiro is reminiscent of many courses designed by the legendary Jack Nicklaus - parkland in style, with wide fairways and big bunkers.

In the far west, if you are looking for something a bit whacky, head for hilly Golf de Andratx with man-made hazards including a stone wall across a fairway and the 'Green Monster', a par five measuring 609 metres from the back tees.

This is Majorca's marmite course. When we played it, in early June, the greens were in poor condition for a price of 95 euros a round, excluding a buggy, which is a must due to the distances between holes.

Attached to Golf de Andratx is the five-star Steigenberger resort, which oozes Teutonic excellence and efficiency. Overlooking the 18th hole, Restaurant Campino is conducive to a relaxing evening: high-quality food in a scenic setting.

Save the best to last with a closing round at Bendinat, a 20-minute drive from Palma airport. The course is a tight delight, with spectacular views from some of the raised tee boxes and well-manicured greens.

You need to stock up on euros but there is variety in abundance on the fairways of Majorca. And you might just bump into a sporting icon.


Flights: Monarch operate scheduled flights year round flights to Majorca from Gatwick, Luton, Birmingham, Leeds Bradford and Manchester airports. Fares, including taxes, start from £59 one way (£130 return)

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Golf: provides information on all the courses.

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