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Morocco : Golf

Ever thought about a golfing holiday to Europe? Morocco is 30 minutes further (only three hours from London) with 23 golf courses that are cheaper and less busy than many in Spain and Portugal, yet just as magnificent, professionally designed and set in unique scenery.

Golf was introduced to Morocco in the 1920's and increased in popularity when King Hassan II took it up as a pastime and became the honorary president of the Moroccan Golf Federation. Since then there has been much interest and particularly from American desingers, the Golf courses are immaculate and well manicured, set in some of the most dramatic scenery. Green fees range from £18 to £25 (exception to this is the Dunes at Agadir) but often these are for a day ticket and it is possible to play 36 holes if you are feeling energetic. It is mandatory at most courses to have a caddy, they tend to be young locals and usually do not charge more than £6.

Farside Africa can arrange fully inclusive golf tours ranging from long weekends in Marrakesh to two-week trips playing as many of the country's courses as possible. These trips include all your fees, tee off times and caddies. You may prefer to organise a round of Golf in your own time, we can provide contact details so that you can make your own arrangements on arrival. Most of the larger hotels can arrange shuttle services to the golf courses. The Ultimate Golfing holiday would be to combine playing golf with watching a tournament; either the Hassan II trophy in November played on the red course at Dar es Salam, or the Moroccan Open in January, which takes place at the private Agadir Royal Golf Links course. Please contact us for more details.

Marrakech

Despite the surrounding desert-like landscape, Marrakech has three excellent and well-managed courses. A golf trip to Marrakech can be fitted in over a weekend where you can play all three courses and enjoy this vibrant city and its maze of souks. Marrakech also combines well and is in close proximity to Casablanca and Rabat.

Marrakech Royal Golf Club is reportedly the oldest course (built in the 1920's) in the country, well shaded and often still used by the Moroccan royal family. The course is a complete contrast to the others featured here, with each hole lined by mature trees to create the feel of a woodland course with the backdrop of the Atlas Mountains. The quality of the greens and the general standard of maintenance is first class and an enjoyable game is guaranteed. There is a bar for light snacks and refreshments, caddies are compulsory here and only soft spikes are allowed on the course. (18 holes, 6200 metres and par 72)

La Palmerie Golf Palace is a well designed course with seven lakes, fairways lined with palm trees and many tricky bunkers, there is a panoramic view of the Atlas Mountains from almost the entire course. The American Robert Trent Jones created this 18-hole masterpiece. There is perhaps the best clubhouse in Marrakesh, with excellent food and the perfect place to relax after a game of golf. (18 holes, 6214 metres and par 72)

Golf d'Amelkis is one of Morocco's newest and most striking courses, it was designed by American Cabell B Robinson and typifies his style. This course is testing for any golf with a number of water features and bunkers but set beautifully amongst palm groves and Moroccan architecture. (18 holes, 6657 metres and par 72)

Casablanca

There are six superb courses between Rabat and Casablanca some with stunning coastal views and some further inland. Casablanca itself has the Royal Golf Club of Anfa, while within 40 kilometres, there is the 18-hole Mohammedia Royal Golf Club and the Ben Slimane Royal Golf Club, a nine-hole course.

The Royal Golf Course of Anfa lies in the heart of Casablanca in the middle of the racecourse; it is an extraordinary golf course being in the centre of a busy residential setting yet having a calm location. From the clubhouse there are views of the course's stunning gardens and the famous Hassan II Mosque. Although this course is only nine holes, it is deceptively difficult and some skill and imagination are needed to score well and to avoid the flower filled gardens and trees that line the fairways. (9 holes, 2710 metres and Par 35)

Ben Slimane Golf Club is another nine hole golf, just outside Casablanca, set in old forests of pine, cork and eucalyptus trees and surrounded by water. Any golfer will be challenged by this enchanting course, may are caught out by the eighth hole (par 3, 180 metres) that is an island surrounded by papyrus and watch out for the many deep bunkers. (9 holes, 3100 metres and Par 36)

The Royal Golf Club of Mohammedia is set behind tall white washed walls and a large imposing wooden door. This golf club is heavily decorated in the most beautiful flowers and the fairways are lined with pine and eucalyptus, from some angles you could be forgiven for thinking that you are in Scotland. Indeed the manager has strong families links in Edinburgh and has played golf in Scotland many times. At least eight holes are played adjacent to the coast alongside the white sandy dunes. The clubhouse was built in the 1920's and has retained all of its charm, from here you can watch other players, while you enjoy refreshments in the shade. (18 holes, 5917 metres and Par 72)

Rabat

Only a short distance from Casablanca, Rabat's three courses are a creation of Robert Trent Jones at the Dar es Salam course (home to the Hassan II trophy). This course has really put Morocco on the golfing map and many famous names have played here over the years. Arguably the best course in Morocco, its 45 holes are built amongst forests of cork trees, aided by top irrigation systems there are immaculate greens and well-managed fairways.

There are three courses to enjoy here; the Red Course being the biggest challenge, 6702 metres of competitive golf, scoring less than 70 is something very few professionals have managed to achieve, water is an ever-present hazard along this course. The annual Hassan II trophy is played here and this course was voted one of the top 100 Golf courses in the world by GOLF Magazine. (18 holes, 6702 metres and Par 73)

The Blue Course is less demanding than its red sister, and in some ways more striking with carpets of colourful flowers and a variety of bird life, it is an enchanting course to play. There is still a certain amount of skill required and Robert Trent Jones has exerted his experienced imagination and architecture to make this a taxing course. (18 holes, 6205 metres and Par 72)

Finally the small nine-hole Green Course completes the Dar es Salaam set, this course is entertaining to play and the holes are short and unique. (9 holes, 2170 metres and Par 32)

Agadir

Agadir is on the Atlantic coast and is a popular destination for families on package holidays. However there are two fabulous Golf Courses here and a number of good hotels, and if it's golf you have come for you will not be disappointed.

The Dunes Golf Club is the most expensive golf course in Morocco with 27 holes of golfers heaven. This course is another creation of Cabell B Robinson, he has set the course over 107 hectares, amongst rolling hills, eucalyptus trees and large expanses of water. There are three courses of nine holes and each one a Par 36, the yellow course being the most technical with a large water trap at the last tee. (yellow course: 9 holes, 3050 metres and Par 36, Blue course: 9 holes, 3174 metres and Par 36, Red course: 9 holes, 3204 metres and Par 36).

The Royal Golf Club of Agadir is a 9-hole course started in 1955 by a Scotsman, Mr Wilson and completed later by Colonel Kamili. This course has long fairways shaded by pine and eucalyptus trees, look out for the thick undergrowth and deep bunkers placed at sly angles. The most challenging hole is number 3, a par 5 with 469 metres to cover and not to mention a large water hazard for the second shot. (9 holes, 3600 metres and Par 36)

El Jadida

The Sofitel Royal Golf Course at El Jadida was built recently and has excellent facilities both at the golf club and at the Sofitel hotel (link to the El Jadida accommodation blurb). The course covers 120 hectares of stunning woodland and coastal scenery, there are a few lakes through out the course. Cabell B Robinson has designed the course with natural beauty in mind, each hole gives a different view of the area. The clubhouse over looks the driving range and large putting green, there is a varied and extensive lunchtime menu. (18 holes, 6274 metres and Par 72)

Fes

The Fes Royal Golf Course has perhaps the most beautiful setting in Morocco, the course is set in open grounds and built with the natural contours of the terrain. There are stunning views of the surrounding fertile countryside and often the peaks of the Atlas Mountains can be seen. The course is very green with thick woodland in areas and certainly more than its fair share of bunkers, the largest one being 1,200 square metres! (9 holes, 3168 metres and Par 37)

Ouarzazate

The Royal Golf Course Ouarzazate is a nine hole golf course to the east of town overlooking the stunning Al-Mansour ed-Dahabi Dam and at any point on the course there are striking views of the High Atlas Mountains. This course is like none other in Morocco an oasis of palm trees and fairways in the south bordering the desert, it is due to expand to an exciting 18 holes shortly. (9 holes, 3150 metres and Par 36)

Meknes

The Meknes Royal Golf Course is perhaps the most beautiful course in Morocco, overlooking the Agdal basin and close to the centre of this imperial city. The surrounding gardens are overflowing in fruit and palm and olive trees, while scattered around the course are sculptures, mosaics and towers dating back to Moulay Ismail's rule. On the fourth hole look out for a Moorish door that leads to the Royal Palace and on the seventh there is an exquisite staircase in white and green faience leads to the ramparts where the club house is situated. It is possible to play here at night as the course is floodlit. (9 holes, 2707 metres and Par 36)


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