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Kingdom of Golf - Morocco A five-day Moroccan golf journey

Kingdom of Golf - Morroco

Morocco is a fascinating mosaic of cultures and traditions, desert landscapes, authentic Kasbahs, spice bazaars and sumptuous palaces. For decades it’s been attracting artists, writers, travellers and more recently golfers in search of the exotic. ANDREW MARSHALL & PAUL MARSHALL tee-it-up in Marrakech and Agadir. 

The first port of call for our five-day Moroccan golf journey was the Palmeraie Golf Palace & Resort, an oasis of luxury and refinement nestled in the heart of a lush, cool palm grove ten minutes from the hustle and bustle of Marrakech. This exquisite property is richly decorated in intricate Moorish designs that feature large archways, opulent furnishings and a décor in rich earth tones. After checking in we were asked to make ourselves comfortable on a collection of carpets and cushions by a water fountain in the tiled foyer area.

Morocco Golf

Before long, resident tea-maker Mr Aziz Igouzoulen appeared through an archway wearing a flowing white robe and a maroon fez hat, carrying a silver tray with an elegant metal teapot packed with fresh mint leaves, tea and sugar.  After the tea had brewed for a few minutes, Aziz made a spectacle of pouring the fragrant golden liquid from a great height into the small decorative glasses. With a grin wider than Tiger Woods after winning a major, he handed us the tea, overflowing with the delicious aroma of fresh Moroccan mint saying, “Welcome to Marrakech and I hope you play some good golf.” 

Palmeraie Golf Club

Although the mint tea was certainly refreshing, we were keen for a different kind of tee time at the hotel’s Palmeraie Golf Club. This 18-hole layout designed by Robert Trent Jones Snr is a good introduction to Moroccan golf and is laid out on a spacious valley featuring generous fairways bordered by hundreds of palm trees and seven lakes that frequently come into play. Numerous sand hazards add the pearly whiteness of the Atlantic beaches to this lush scene, with the ochre walls and green tiles of the magnificent Moorish styled clubhouse forming a striking centrepiece to the whole design. Caddies are available for hire to add some local colour and knowledge to your round.

Magical Marrakech


In the late afternoon we visited the centre of stunning and exotic Marrakech, founded more than 1,000 years ago with its distinctive ochre ramparts, Andalusia-inspired arches, souq marketplaces and distinctive skyline of mosques set against the majestic snow-capped High Atlas Mountains. 

We got thoroughly lost in the souqs of the medina, where labyrinthine passageways and lanes seethed with a human tide of endlessly streaming humanity. Covered bazaars were crammed with fruit and spice stalls and workshops of every kind where artisans worked away fashioning slippers, weaving rugs, dyeing textiles and hammering metals. 

In the heart of the city is the world famous Djemaa el-Fna, a town square named by UNESCO as part of Humanity’s Universal Heritage. This cultural and artistic crossroads is used not only as a meeting place for local people, but also for storytellers, acrobats, musicians, healers, fortune tellers, magic potion sellers and snake charmers. We grabbed a prime seat and a chilled drink at Le Grand Balcon overlooking the square and watched the drama unfold – it was frantic non-stop activity that overloaded our senses. 

Marrakech market

As the orange sun travelled across the sky and the minarets and palms gradually fell into silhouettes, chefs began to cart in the makings of some hundred-food stalls and before long the aroma of barbecued meats, kebabs, meatballs and harira (a thick soup of meats, garbanzos, tomatoes and lentils) filled the air. When the sun finally set, all the music in the medina ceased for one of the most evocative of travel sounds, the muezzin’s call to prayer. Soon, another muezzin in another mosque started up, then another and another until the entire city was filled with these evocative and fervent sounds. 

Marrakech night market

In addition to street eats, Marrakech offers some wonderful fine-dining opportunities at palace restaurants most of which are converted riads (a traditional house or palace with an interior garden). Part of the charm of these places is that they are difficult to locate, and the Narwama restaurant is no exception hidden away down a narrow alleyway covered in Berber rugs, a short stroll from the medina. Situated in a glorious 19th century riad with 21st century Zen décor, the Narwama offers an award-winning combination of Moroccan and Thai cuisine and the best Moroccan mint mojito in town. After your meal relax in the rustic bar that has hookah pipes at each table. 

Fez cuisine - Tajine

“The food we serve is Fez cuisine, the finest in Morocco and one of our house specialties is lamb tajine with pears,” said the owner Ali Bousfiha. “The tajine is one of Morocco’s most famous dishes and the name refers to the conical-lidded pot in which it is prepared, as well as the intricately spiced stew of meat and vegetables, sometimes with dried fruits and nuts, cooked very slowly over a charcoal fire.”

Golf Beneath The Atlas Mountains

Amelkis Golf Club

Moroccan golf courses are renowned for their visual appeal and the 27 holes at the Amelkis Golf Club, a short car ride from our hotel through olive groves and orange trees, is possibly one of the most eye-catching and exciting to play. Located at the foot of the ever-present Atlas Mountains, the Amelkis owes its name to the queen of a Berber tribe in the Atlas. 

Designed by Cabell B.Robinson this is an expansive course with undulating fairways, seductively mounded and heavily bunkered, to say nothing of the lakes, fountains and the unique waste bunkers created from crushed rock whose colour complements the landscape. The large greens are relatively easy to find, but three putts are not unusual. Paul seemed to really take to the Amelkis Golf Club and shot a very memorable all time best round of 12 under par. 

The Amelkis Golf Club

The Amelkis’ next-door neighbour is the Marrakech Royal Golf Club created in 1923 by the Pacha of Marrakech and the second oldest course in Morocco. Throughout the club’s history distinguished players such as Winston Churchill, David Lloyd George, Ike Eisenhower and his late Majesty King Hassan ll have trodden its fairways and greens. 

The Amelkis Golf Club Fairway

This is a course that suit all levels of ability and the main attraction here is the lush setting with fairways lined with standing cypress, eucalyptus, olive, orange, apricot and palm trees. A new addition of nine holes in 2008 called the Menara now complements the original two nines (the Koutoubia and Agdal). 

On the Menara nine look out for the 481-metre par-5 4th. It plays over a pool of water, that’s an exact replica of the Menara of Marrakech, bordered by hundreds of olive trees and ending with a superbly defended dogleg. When we stood on the tee of this unique hole, we were in two minds whether to pull out the driver or change into our swimming trunks. Other memorable holes include the par-4 4th (Agdal) with the snowy Atlas summits in the background and the 173 metre par-39th (Koutoubia) that’s got more curves than Scarlett Johansson. The green is hidden behind two grassy mounds separated by a bunker plus an additional hazard of two high palm trees blocking the angle of the tee shot. 

Samanah Country Club

This trio of established layouts has been joined by two new exciting 18-hole developments that will make Marrakech the Moroccan city offering the most for visiting golfers. Firstly there’s the Samanah Country Club, a Jack Nicklaus design and Al Maaden, a high-end developer of golf resorts, who commissioned Kyle Phillips, arguably one of the hottest designer of the modern era to take on the task of making their course a Moroccan star. 

Said Phillips: “The golf course has been designed in grand rolling terrain, placed at the foot hills of the nearby Atlas Mountains. Strategically placed bunkers give players multiple lines of play from the tee and tightly cut spill off areas around the greens gather errant shots, providing a variety of exciting recovery opportunities. Keeping with the traditions of golf, Al Maaden is designed as a walker friendly course, with a surrounding designed landscape and geometric water features that give a feeling of playing through a Moroccan garden.” 

Fact File

Moroccan Beer


Royal Air Maroc flies from London Heathrow to Marrakech and Agadir.




Palmeraie Golf Palace Hotel / Marrakech: This sophisticated accommodation includes the privacy of two boutique hotels-Les Jardins d’Ines and Le Pavillon du Golf.  Enquire about the 11 luxury golf suites overlooking the Robert Trent Jones course. Other facilities include 5 swimming pools, spa treatments and several restaurants.

Tikida Golf Palace / Agadir: The 50 luxurious and spacious suites are situated right in the heart of Golf du Soleil’s 36 holes of golf.



  • Go haggling in the souqs of Marrakech for carpets, slippers, metalwork, home decorations, ceramics and more.
  • Visit historical monuments and places of interest such as Koutoubia Minaret, Badia Palace, the tanneries out by Bab Debbagh, Jardin Majorelle (Majorelle Gardens) and the Menara in Marrakech. 
  • Eat traditional spice-laden Moroccan food from a restaurant in the Medina.
  • Book or self drive a  "High Atlas Mountains to the Sahara Trip" (from Marrakech) that includes a 70 kilometre climb up the spectacular Tizi n’ Tichka Pass, a visit to the exotic Kasbah of Ait Benhaddou, where many famous movies have been filmed (including Lawrence of Arabia, Gladiator and Jesus of Nazareth), explore the Dades, Draa and Ziz Valleys lined with palmeraies, ancient Kasbahs and towns where life has changed little in centuries, and finish off with a camel safari into the sculpted dunes of the Sahara at Merzouga.
  • Go skiing or trekking in the Atlas Mountains.  
  • Relax at the Cascades d’Ouzoud (one of Morocco’s best waterfalls about 167kms northeast of Marrakech) where the three-tiered falls drop 110m into the river below. 
  • Go to a hammam for a traditional Moroccan bath or massage.
  • In Agadir visit the Kasbah of Agadir for fantastic views over the city.
  • Take a trip to the relaxed coastal town of Essaouira and take a walk through the historic centre and port area. With a magnificent beach Essaouira is also Morocco’s best-known wind and kite surfing centre. 


Moroccan Tourist Office:

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