SportOctober 22, 2020
Why let your golf game go into hibernation, when you can be in Morocco playing some of the best courses in the world this winter?
There are three types of winter golfers. The former sadly abandon their sticks in the closet until spring comes, staring longingly out the window as the torrential rain hits the glass.
The latter are the hardy souls who stubbornly walk onto the course in all weathers despite howling winds cut driving distance in half, and the water-soaked greens that make putting as easy as playing porridge. .
Then there is the third type, the golfers who know that if they can’t change the weather on the course, they need to change the course instead!
Morocco does not have “low season”. The weather ranges from “sunny” to “glorious” throughout the year, with temperatures this time of year in the late teens and early twenties. The rain doesn’t stop the game either; Instead, each day seems like a sun bathed in a blue sky that invites you to continue. It’s never been harder to resist the call to “Just one more round.”
It is also excellent value for money; for example, green fees at Assoufid cost 850MAD (about £70), while Royal Golf Dar Es Salam, a PGA European Tour course, charges just 650MAD (about £55).
But is golf good? Over the past decade, the country has invested millions, resulting in courses that rival some of the best in the world. Here are (just some of) the highlights:
The Assoufid opened in 2014, just five miles south of Marrakech. Architect Niall Cameron has taken care to run most of the fairways from north to south, giving players memorable views of the Atlas Mountains as they play the course.
The Mazagan Resort is located on the outskirts of El Jadida, a luxurious vacation complex of pools, nightclubs, villas and more, including a spectacular Gary Player-designed golf course with long fairways, lusciously contoured greens and spectacular scenery.
Sadly, you won’t be able to play this one without a personal invitation from the king, but you may have seen the pros play it on the European Tour over the last few years. Located on the grounds of the king’s palace in Agadir, two holes of this course, the 2nd and the 18th, made it to the toughest 18 holes in the world for PGA Tour players.
Taghazout, a short drive from Agadir, is most famous for world-class waves that attract surfers from all over the world, but this course is exhilarating in its own way. Perched high on the cliffs overlooking the ocean, the course at Tazehzout Resort is challenging and dramatic, you have to be in your mettle with this one.
Jack Nicklaus made his Moroccan debut with the Samanah course in Marrakech. He has many hallmarks of Golden Bear designs: fast courses that blend into his surroundings, with clever features that reward skilled players but don’t punish less skilled ones.
With beautiful wide playing lanes lined with mature trees, a rolling track and plenty of views of the Atlantic, this Gary Player course near Essaouira is a joy from start to finish.
Royal Dar Es Salaam
The senior statesman of all new Marrakesh camps, Robert Trent Jones, designed this Rabat camp in the 1960s, and more than fifty years later it still needs a beating. The red course is a whopping 7,372 yards and has been fairly accurately described as “a course fit for a king”. It will host the Trophee Hassan II and the European Tour until at least 2018.