Golf du Palais Royal
Golf du Palais Royal in Agadir, Morocco, host for this week’s European Tour event, the Trophée Hassan II, is a very private club that lies within the well-guarded walls of the Royal Palace.
Indeed, even though it hosted the Moroccan Open in 1993, 1994, 1995, 1997, 1998 and 1999 and the Trophée Hassan II for the first time last year, the club is so private, it is unlisted on many reputable golf course directories and if it has it’s own website, as almost all the prominent clubs tend to do, I was unable to locate it.
It is clearly one of the most exclusive clubs in the world.
Getting a members invite to play at the ultra-exclusive clubs of Augusta National, the Jack Nicklaus’ Bears Club in Florida or the Ellison Course Greg Norman designed for the exclusive use of the late Kerry Packer in Australia, would probably be easier than getting the nod to play a round at The Royal Palace Golf Club.
That’s because this immaculately-maintained course was designed for one man – the late King of Morocco, Hassan II.
It’s now for the exclusive use of his son, His Majesty King Mohammed V1, who is also Honorary President of the Moroccan Golf Federation.
It is rumoured that apart from the King and his brother, only 30 other people have played the course in the 12 months since England’s David Horsey captured last year’s 38th Hassan Trophy when he beat the defending champion Rhys Davies and South African Jaco Van Zyl.
All 30 of the King’s guests were doctors who were specially invited by him to play on his own private 18-hole golf course.
Information about this discreet, royal establishment is therefore limited, but what I did manage to find out about it is that its championship course was designed by the legendary Robert Trent-Jones and opened in 1987, and that it is made up of two, 36-par loops of nine holes each, starting and finishing at the clubhouse.
At 6 844 yards (6 528 metres), with a longest par-five of 572 yards, the course is not a long one by modern standards, even though two of its par-4 holes, the third and the 18th, have been lengthened by 24 and 20 yards respectively, but that’s not to say its a push-over for the European Tour professionals
To the contrary, because it is situated near the shoreline of the Atlantic Ocean, just south of Agadir, the wind is a constant factor.
This, combined with the course’s small, undulating, bent grass greens that run at 10 on the stimpmetre and their deep guarding bunkers, makes accurate play a prerequisite on a layout that, more often than not, is a difficult one to navigate.
The fairways, sewn with a mixture of bent and rye grasses, are wide, pristine and easy to hit, but because they are heavily contoured, it is important to hit them in the right places.
There are two cuts of maintained rough averaging some five metres wide, the first being 32 cm high, the second standing 64 cm tall before you hit the unnmaintained rough.
Water hazards come into play on holes 1, 5, 10, 12 and 14 and while some holes are tree-lined, others are exposed to the elements – and especially the wind.
CARD OF THE COURSE:(See under Hole No, par for the hole and length of the hole in yards:)
1 5 529
2 3 220
3 4 385
4 4 424
5 5 572
6 4 397
7 4 353
8 3 192
9 4 394
First nine: par 36, 3 466 yards
10 5 551
11 4 369
12 3 199
13 4 395
14 3 162
15 5 538
16 3 201
17 5 511
18 4 452
Second nine: par 36 – 3 378 yards
18 holes: Par 72 – 6844 yards
OTHER AMENITIES OFFERED BY THE CLUB:
The Royal Palace Golf club also offers members and their guests the following:
– A top quality practice facility that includes putting and chipping greens…
– Golf cars for hire
– Locker rooms
– A players bar
TO CONTACT THE CLUB:
Telephone No: +212 528 273542
Fax No: +212 528 824170
Address: Golf du Palais Royal, B.P.194, 80000 Agadir, Morocco
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