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Published on : Tuesday, June 7, 2016
Morocco is not only easy to get to, with frequent flights to its major cities from airports around Europe that typically take just two or three hours, it is also now easier than ever to get around. Fast, new motorways have dramatically cut travel times, allowing for twin-centre or multiple-destination itineraries without golfers spending too much time on the road.
Thanks to the country’s growing network of toll expressways, golf itineraries combining its so-called Golden Triangle of Marrakech, Agadir and Essaouira are becoming increasingly popular and are being offered by more golf tour operators. Marrakech to Agadir takes under three hours by road now while Essaouira is just two hours from both Marrakech and Agadir.
Such a combination is possible in a golf holiday of seven days or longer, particularly with the airports at Marrakech and Agadir within 20 minutes of most golf courses and just a five-minute drive from some, allowing a round both on the day of arrival and before the return flight home.
Golfers have almost a dozen courses to choose from in Marrakech, from historic Royal Golf Marrakech to newer facilities such as the Noria, Assoufid, Al Maaden, Samanah and Palm Golf Ourika layouts, with more due to open soon. Agadir has three 18-hole courses just a few minutes from resort hotels lining its crescent-shaped beach in addition to newcomer Tazegzout Golf Club half an hour along the coast, while Essaouira weighs in with two courses designed by golf legend Gary Player at Golf du Mogador, the second one currently having 13 holes open.
A golf holiday in Marrakech can also be linked with a stay alongside the Atlantic at either Mazagan Beach & Golf Resort, with its Gary Player course, or the nearby Pullman Mazagan Royal Golf & Spa, which has the on-site Royal Golf El Jadida course, to make an enticing twin-centre option combining the souks, history, culture and cuisine of the Red City with a relaxing few days by the beach.
You can also combine Morocco’s other three imperial cities of Fez, Meknes and Rabat, all of them historical capitals with Rabat remaining the capital today, on a golf trip, flying via Casablanca with optional golf there as well. Rabat boasts the country’s largest golf complex, Royal Golf Dar Es Salam, which offers 45 holes of golf and recently hosted the prestigious Hassan II Trophy, part of the European Tour calendar since 2010. Fez has two 18-hole courses – Royal Fez Golf and Oued Fez Golf – while Meknes Royal Golf Club is a nine-hole course set inside the grounds of a royal palace.
Although not a royal city, Casablanca is Morocco’s economic capital and has several courses nearby, both established and in the developing golf communities close to the Bouskoura forest, on the city’s outskirts. Casablanca and Rabat are only an hour apart by road, Meknes is less than two hours from Rabat and Fes is 50 minutes on from Meknes.
There is even a Mediterranean trail golfers can follow in Morocco’s far north. Tangier, otherwise known as the White City for its gleaming white-painted buildings and the quality of the light, is home to the Royal Club of Tangier. The country’s first course, originally called the Diplomatic Country Club, it celebrated its centenary in 2014 – predating the first course on Spain’s Costa del Sol, just across the Strait of Gibraltar from Tangier, by more than a decade.
Head east along Morocco’s 500km Mediterranean coastline and you can play the 40-year-old Cabo Negro Royal Golf Club course below the Rif mountains near Tetouan and a new course at the Saida Med Golf resort near its eastern border. An hour south of Tangier by road overlooking the Atlantic is another new golf resort, Port Lixus.
With its golf courses within such easy reach of each other, the only drives golfers need to worry about when they take a golfing holiday in Morocco are the ones from the tee boxes.