This looks to be a fairly new course that appears to be still settling in, especially so on the green loop of nine holes at this pleasant 27 hole complex. The blue and red loops look much more established and are more interesting in terms of design. Some might say the red loop is the most challenging and picturesque but the blue loop has many of the most interesting design features.
It takes you away from the clubhouse directly towards stunning views of the Atlas mountains which can be seen in winter due to a lack of heat haze. The flat desert land has obviously had much earth movement to give form and definition and this is most obvious on the blue nine.
The first hole is fairly ordinary but gives a gentle
introduction. The next par five is of good length and like many of the holes in
Marrakech is well bunkered around the green.
From the fourth onwards, the
difficulty level ramps up significantly. The tee shot on this par four needs to
go far enough to give a realistic shot at the green but short enough to avoid
being kicked off the pronounced mounding and into the water hazard short right.
Not finishing on the fairway entails a severe side hill lie for a nervy
The fifth is probably the only uphill hole on the course to a plateau
green followed the most pronounced dogleg at the entire 27 hole complex on the
6th with water tight to the green.
The 8th is a charming par three that
requires a precise iron much in the mould of the 3rd but the two standout holes
are the 7th and 9th. Both have a significant areas of hard (grit, not sand)
wasteland where one might expect fairway grass. In a desert climate, these
waste areas make sense as they reduce the need for irrigation water. However,
more than that the waste areas force the golfer into a decision on the tee: play
short or attempt the carry. In an era when distance is all too easy to come by,
these design kinks make even the long-hitting golfer uneasy. Finishing on the
hardpan leaves the choice of taking an unplayable or testing the scratch
resistance finish on your iron.
The par 5 9th on the blue nine has two such areas, but in this case the first area can be used to sneak some extra distance.
After playing the blue loop the perfect accompaniment is the
red loop. Water is present on three holes: the 4th, 6th and 9th where its
presence is far from ceremonial. The mounding on the first three holes is
somehow more appealing and strategic than on the blue nine.
The 4th demands a
carry over water for the hole’s entire length. With a front pin, a safe shot to
the rear of the green results in a long putt slightly downhill with a
considerable swale making a bogey not too unpalatable considering the
alternative of putting into the hazard.
The 6th is even more heavily defended
by water to the right of the fairway and again short of the green. Distance is
a clear advantage on both the 6th and 7th. The 8th offers a more cerebral challenge
with a precise short iron required to find the most opportune spot to attack
the hole on an amply contoured raised green.
The 9th on the red loop is fairly straightforward until the approach which is troubled by water lurking to the right.
The green loop is surely the newest and least established. The lower level of conditioning does detract slightly from the appeal of this loop. It is also more of a straightforward ‘grip it and rip it’ design until the 6th tee. The water hazard is a threat for the entire length of this dogleg right as it is again on the 9th which like the other two loops closes with a par five. Time may help the green loop settle in, but the blue/red combination is likely to remain the strongest and most enjoyable 18 holes of golf at Amelkis.