Nicklaus Design’s first course in Morocco opens for play

  • Michlifen

    Michlifen Golf and Country Club is open for play following a Nicklaus Design master plan

  • Michlifen

    The Jack Nicklaus Signature course is the first firm’s first layout in Morocco

  • Michlifen

    The track makes use of views of the Middle Atlas Mountains

Richard Humphreys
By Richard Humphreys

Michlifen Golf and Country Club in Ifrane, Morocco, is open for play. The course is Nicklaus Design’s first in the country.

The course is located in the Middle Atlas Mountains and construction began in 2014 with the course officially opening with the La Coupe du Trône 2018, also known as the King’s Trophy.

“My team and I are pleased to have worked alongside many great people throughout this design and proud that Michlifen represents our first Jack Nicklaus Signature golf course in Morocco,” said Jack Nicklaus.

Nicklaus Design was tasked with integrating the 18-hole course with the existing terrain. “Preserving as much of the natural features at Michlifen was most certainly a daunting task,” said senior Nicklaus Design associate, Dirk Bouts. “However, with the proper equipment and staff, we were able to work with it and shape the golf course as desired by Jack. As much as possible, Jack prefers not to disturb what Mother Nature provides us – he wants the course to blend naturally into the environment.

“I have been fortunate to work closely with Jack on numerous projects over my 28 years with Nicklaus Design,” said Bouts. “This is a truly special course in a spectacular setting – a course that sets the standard in the region that people will enjoy for both its challenge and its beauty.”

Ifrane sits between the cities of Fez and Meknes at an altitude of 5,400 feet. The course is surrounded by mountains as well as evergreen and cedar forests. The design of the layout makes use of the mountain landscape and lush forest land for on-the-course views as well as protecting the local environment.

Read more about the design aspects of the course in our July 2018 article.

Toro installed a state-of-the-art irrigation system throughout the course with only the areas requiring water being irrigated for water conservation. Local construction companies were used, while a team of shapers, finishers and other specialists were selected by Nicklaus Design. All materials used for the greens, tees, bunkers and fairways were locally sourced.

The club is managed by IMG Golf Course Services, and is also part of IMG Prestige, an international reciprocal programme that brings a worldwide network of courses and partners together. The teaching and practice facilities include the state-of-the-art IMG Studios, which offer the latest in custom fitting and golf learning technology, including: a full-size grass driving range; short game area featuring on-course greens complexes and bunkers; two IMG swing analysis and custom fitting studios; an IMG putting studio featuring SamPutt Lab; and TrackMan 4 game analysis and simulator technology.

“The golf course has tremendous balance and variety to it,” said Nicklaus. “You go from playing across open areas to playing around rock outcroppings to playing through wooded forests with mature trees, and then you end each nine of the course with spectacular, breath-taking views over the valleys.”