Pern plays it again in Morocco


Pern plays it again in Morocco
Sean Dudley

Architect Jeremy Pern is coming to the close of the construction phase on one new course in Morocco, but has signed up to design another.

Pern’s Casa Green Town course, on the outskirts of Casablanca, is now almost finished. Earthworks and shaping began in May 2009, and by the end of October 2010 over a quarter of the course had been sprigged. “Everything will be grassed by next July and the course will be on track for a soft opening in the back end of 2011,” Pern said. The golf course is part of a 400 hectare urban development including a hospital, university, commercial and business park, shopping centre, extensive recreational facilities and housing for over 30,000 people. 

“I was remarkably fortunate to have a client who appreciated the idea of a core golf course, and instead of endless bungalow-lined fairways crammed into each other, we have a spacious 18 hole golf course spread over 90 hectares,” the architect said. “It’s what I call a big sky site – if you have excellent eyesight from the club house terrace you can see 15 greens. Using recycled sewage water and drainage run off from the whole development site, stored in seven hectares of lakes, we managed to have enough ‘free’ water to irrigate over 40 hectares of grass plus the landscape planting. I decided to use Platinum, a recently developed variety of paspalum and I am happy with the results so far. I have found it to be a seriously aggressive beast with remarkably little water and fertiliser requirements and most impressively our harvesting rates from the turf nursery have been almost double our original predictions. I hope that next year we will be just as impressed.”

Casablanca has over four million inhabitants and the course is targeted at local golfers rather than tourists. The developer, Rabat-based CGI, is well-known in Morocco as a government-backed  provider of  prestige developments of all kinds. On  Jeremy’s recommendations CGI has recently appointed St Andrews-based Braemar Golf to manage the course.

Elsewhere in Morocco, Pern has recently been appointed to design a golf course as part of the Cala Iris resort on the Mediterranean coast. The huge project will eventually accommodate up to 11,000 tourists in half-a-dozen luxury hotels, plus apartments and villas. The resort, which is close to Morocco’s best known marine nature reserve will also have a 200 berth marina. Masterplanning was coordinated by Paris-based construction conglomerate Bouygues, on behalf of the Moroccan government-sponsored developer SAVCI.

Cala Iris is a recently developed fishing port on the edge of the Riff mountains. Pern said: “Our challenge was to design a resort that resembles and functions like an old Mediterranean fishing village similar to those on the northern coast of Corsica, or some of the Greek isles. Our aim was to fragment the space into small nodes of interest linked by nature trails and cliff top walkways, leaving the greater part of the 350 hectare site untouched. Small groups of compact buildings built into the hillside is what typical fishing villages used to look like – we followed our instincts and the result will be spectacularly discreet – the antithesis of the standard issue Spanish model.”

Work on the course is due to start next spring.