Golf Experience Award (Indian Ocean)
One of the elements that makes golf so different amongst sports is the beauty and variety of its playing fields. These days golf courses come in many shapes and forms – ancient, modern, links, mountain, ocean, desert and swamp. Unique and unusual sites for golf courses are few and far between but now prepare for something unlike anything you have experienced before and add to the above a new description of a golf course – the island course.
In commenting on the site, course designer and two-time Masters champion, Bernhard Langer had this to say, “I have had the opportunity to play professionally on a global scale. Le Touessrok Golf Course occupies its own island, surrounded by a spectacular coral reef. Add in the azure blue waters lapping at white sand beaches and the backdrop of an ancient volcanic mountain and I don’t know of any golf sites that compare. A truly unique golfing experience with 18 holes of ocean views”.
Indeed the golfing experience at Le Touessrok promises to be all this – new, unique and distinctive. The island lies a short and gentle 10-minute boat ride across the bay from Le Touessrok. The fresh sea breeze and gentle ocean swells are just the perfect way to prepare one for the golfing challenge ahead.
And what lies ahead is a Championship course measuring 6476 metres (or 7082 yards) from the back tees. If you’re willing to take up the ‘championship’ challenge and play from the tips be sure to bring your “A” game. Your choices are many and varied with almost every hole offering risk and reward options. But at all times remember that designer Bernhard Langer is renowned as one of the game’s most disciplined strategists and taking the safe, more conservative route, will often pay handsome dividends. High handicap golfers will find the course very challenging and the back tees provide a very stern challenge for the advanced player.
The spectacular opening hole introduces one straight away to the look and feel of this outstanding golf course. A good tee shot down the right side of the fairway must carry a natural pond and volcanic lava rock face which was uncovered during the construction of the course. The green at the par four, 5th hole is guarded by one of the prettiest tidal pools found on Le Touessrok, while the 6th at 601 metres is the longest hole on the course playing along the full length of the island’s spectacular white beach.
The 7th hole provides players with their first glimpse of the mangrove forests that surround the west or inland side of the island. Even at only 114 metres the short 8th is no pushover. This little gem of a par three requires a demanding tee shot to a green perched high above the fairway and surrounded by mangrove trees and volcanic lava outcrops.
The par five, 11th hole plays towards the sea and doglegs sharply to the west giving players their first views of the stunning mountains on the mainland. Take a moment or two to enjoy the seaview from this elevated tee. It is often said that every great course design includes a short par four that tempts the long hitter to go for the green. The 14th measures just 308 metres from the tips and the courageous or maybe reckless player might well have a go with his tee shot.
But be careful of the mangrove forest, as a ball going left will almost certainly be lost. The tees at the short par four 16th Hole stretch out along a ridge that dramatically changes the direction of play on the hole. From the back tee there is a daunting carry over the mangroves while from the forward tees a straight shot will be rewarded with a relatively simple approach to the green. The green sits nestled in a small tree-lined dell protected in front by two small volcanic lava outcrops.
The tee shot at the 17th must carry what appears to be a sea of treetops but is of course a mangrove bay. The mangroves come into play on the last hole as well, as they must be negotiated on both the drive and the approach shot. Because of the island nature of the course one might assume that it is fairly flat, in fact, the opposite is true with one of the main features being the dramatic changes in elevation.
Sited on the highest point on the island and overlooking the 18th hole is the club house, which bears the same architectural theme as that of Le Touessrok and includes a fully stocked Professional Golf Shop, locker room facilities, lounge and 68-seater restaurant and casual bar with 180 degree views of the golf course, mountain backdrop and surrounding ocean. And for those who feel their game might need some fine-tuning there is a Golf Academy and practice area with five target greens, as well as putting and chipping greens.
And if your game is not up to scratch on the day, worry not, just sit back and enjoy the experience. The sheer drama of holes played over mangrove forests, the spectacular sea views, or the more intimate discovery of new and never seen before lush island flora, all part of the experience of playing a round of golf at the Le Touessrok Golf Course.