Golf in Marrakech
A golf holiday in Marrakech is hard to beat. Marrakech is justly known as one of the most legendary cities in the world. Capital of the Great South, it is the first of Morocco’s four imperial cities – Rabat, Fez and Meknes are the three other ones. The city lies on a fertile plain with the majestic backdrop of the High Atlas. Golf breaks to Marrakech offer great golf courses as well as time to exploere this wonderful garden city surrounded by palm, olive and orange groves,
Marrakech is known as the “red city” for the colour of its buildings made of beaten red clay. Its walled Medina, the ancient Moorish town, was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.Founded in the 11th century, Marrakech was the capital of the Almoravides and later the Almohades, a dynasty of desert warriors who rode from here to conquer Spain. The lively Medina contains an impressive number of architectural masterpieces, including its ramparts and monumental gates, the Kutublya Mosque with its towering minaret and the Saadina tombs. But the city’s most famous landmark is probably its huge Djemma el Fna Square, with its magical array of dancers, musicians, storytellers, fortune-tellers, magicians, snake charmers and street food outlets operating day and night. The modern Gueliz quarters west of the Medina, built under the French protectorate, is reputed for its parks, especially the Menara olive grove and the walled, 1,000 acre Agdal gardens. The irrigation system built under the Almoravides is still used to water the city gardens. Marrakech al so has an incomparable Palmeraie, a palm grove extending over 32,000 acres. The ever present Atlas Mountains are an easy drive away from the city and Mount Toubkai is Morocco’s highest and, at 13,890 feet (4.167 m.), the third tallest peak in Africa. At the foot of Toubkai and less than fifty miles from Marrakech, Oukaimeden is the country’s foremost alpine resort and offers excellent skiing facilities in winter. Marrakech Golf Courses La Palmeraie Course : An oasis within an oasis La Palmeraie Golf Course, Morocco was designed by Robert Trent Jones Senior and it is the third layout of this great master in Morocco. His work in the country also includes Royal Dar Es Salam’s two layouts, the world famous Red course and the Blue course, in a lovely wooded setting at the outskirts of Morocco’s capital, Rabat. Millions cubic meters of earth have been moved to mould the layout and shape the fairways. The best varieties of grass were imported from the USA in order to create optimal playing conditions throughout the year. The green were built in accordance with USGA specifications and seeded with Bermuda grass, grown in American nurseries in similar climatic conditions. An automatic sprinkle system and state-of-the-art green keeping maintain fairways and greens in perfect conditions at all seasons, even during the hottest summer months. La Palmeraie is a championship course, venue of LPGA European Tour events. Nevertheless, it is accessible to all handicappers, thanks to its several tees allowing players of all abilities to enjoy its challenge. Several large lakes highlight the visual pleasure and create a striking contrast with the desert like surrounding, while providing technical difficulties. Although stretching on the side of Les Jardins de la Palmeraie estate, real estate properties were kept at bay and only a few of these run along some of the fairways. Yet the resort facilities are conveniently close at hand when needed. Caddies are available and mandatory for players not using a buggy, an option highly recommended as the course is nearly totally flat and best enjoyed walking. Amelkis Golf Club : The most eye-catching of all Moroccan courses Moroccan golf courses are reputed for their visual appeal, Amelkis is probably the most eye-catching of all and perhaps the most exciting to play. This American style layout design of Cabell B. Robinson presents a striking contrast with the adjacent Royal Marrakech. Set on wide, open grounds, this magnificent and visually pleasant course is punctuated by papyrus reeds, palms and olive groves. It has big target areas, seductive mounding, large sand and waste bunkers, several lakes and expansive, undulated fairways. Amelkis has integrated in its design the original Khettaras, an irrigation system built by the Almoravides dynasty in the 11th century which still provides water for several of Marrakech’s gardens. The overall impression at Amelkis is reminiscent of the finest Scottsdale courses in Arizona, such as Grayhawk or Troon’s North, with its desert/oasis look, contrasting greens and earth tone colours and the backdrop of snow capped mountains. Perfectly manicured fairways and visually pleasant greens and bunkers provide a pleasant and challenging round of golf for players of all abilities. Amelkis is part of a purpose built, discreet tourist complex and the course is surrounded by lavish, although unobtrusive villas. The clubhouse is set in an impressive and singular Kasbah style building and provides superior facilities and amenities. Accommodation is available on site at the luxurious, bungalow style Amanjena Resort, an all suite exclusive resort where guests enjoy preferential rates and clubhouse privileges at Amelkis. Royal Marrakech Golf Club: Parkland layout of dazzling beauty Royal Marrakech Golf Club, Morocco Built in the 1920’s by the Pasha of Marrakech, the Royal Golf Club is one of the longest established in the country, together with Royal Mohammedia and Tangiers. In 1923, after a trip to England where he discovered golf, the Pasha immediately became fond of the game to the point of setting up a course in his hometown and founded the Royal Marrakech. Ten years later, in 1933, Gustave Gollias, Bouchaib Stitou and Arnaud Massy, the only Frenchman so far to have won the British Open back in 1907, transformed the original and turned it into the little gem golfers can play today. Churchill and Eisenhower played here together in 1943 after the famous Casablanca conference during World War II. Marrakech was also one of King Hassan II’s favourite golf course, and with good reason. Royal Marrakech is a parkland layout of dazzling beauty meandering through lush and scented eucalyptus, olive, palm and orange groves, with the mighty background of the snow capped peaks of the Atlas mountains looming in the distance. The charming clubhouse is an harmonious mix of simplicity and elegance, with its colonial style building decorated with typical Moorish details and its large terrace opening up onto a beautiful panorama.