Golf course architects Stuart Hallett and Jonathan Davison are overseeing the renovation of Royal Marrakech Golf Club – one of the oldest courses in Morocco.
The work includes the redesign of all bunkers and installation of a new Rain Bird irrigation system.
“We are trying hard to reduce the repetitive nature of many of the holes at Royal Marrakech – they are rather ‘bunker left, bunker right’ at the moment,” said Davison. “We are adding some diagonal hazards and cross bunkers to add variation, and also adding a little more width to fairways. At the moment the course is very linear and dictates how it should be played. We want it to be more strategic and demand thought from golfers.
Three holes have already been renovated and construction will continue between April and September, when play is light. The project is expected to be complete by summer 2020. A new clubhouse has just been completed, and led to a renumbering of several holes.
Royal Marrakech was inaugurated by the Pasha of Marrakech, Hadj Thami El Glaoui Mezouari, in 1927, when it had four holes. The following year Gustave Golias extended it to nine holes as well as planting many trees on the site. In 1933, Golias, Arnaud Massy and Bouchaib Stitou lengthened the course to a full eighteen.
“Because of its age and the past tree planting, the course has a very different feel to everything else in Marrakech. We are going to open it up by transplanting trees around the property, rather than removing them, as they are a key feature of the site. We are aiming for a classic look. I would like people who know the course now to see huge changes, but if you are playing it for the first time, it should feel as if it has always been this way.”