Posts tagged Morocco
International Golf Travel Market – Vilamoura Nov 2012
Newsletter December 2012
International Golf Travel Market or IGTM as it is normaly known as is the annual must do show for all golf travel professionals. This year’s show was held in Vilamoura and was attended by Rachel and Neil. Many people think it is just another jolly for us so we thought we would share with you a little of what goes on at these events and what we got up to during the week.
Day 1 – The Golf Tournament and Welcome Reception
We were very lucky to be playing the Oceanic Victoria course which had hosted the Portuguese Masters just 3 weeks earlier. It is not a course we had played before and we always like to have first-hand experience of the courses we send our clients to so a good opportunity. If you are ever in Vilamoura it is one of the must play courses. There is a lot of water and the rough is very rough but it is a great layout and although there had been a lot of rain in the weeks leading up to our visit it was in great condition. We did okay although we didn’t win anything but it was a great start to what we knew would be a very busy week. (Those tiny people in the picture are Neil and I!!) In the evening there was reception for 1200 people at theTivoliMarinaHotel. It was a great evening and we caught up with some old friends and made some new, very useful, contacts. There is always a new hotel or golf course to find out about and meeting the representatives face to face always makes it easier to do business with them.
Day 2-4 – Meetings, Meetings, Meetings
During IGTM 2012 there were 11,500 scheduled meetings between exhibitors and buyers and many more impromptu meetings. We both had over 40 meetings scheduled during the 3 days and talked to many hotels, golf courses and ground handlers. Our intention is always to offer new and exciting destinations to our clients and all these meetings gave us a great opportunity to investigate what is new in the golf travel market. We also had meetings with destinations we are familiar with to discuss new offers and packages they have to offer. There were so many destinations present at the show it would be impossible to visit them all but we certainly had a good try! The days were long and tiring and we walked for miles between our many meetings but it was a great show for us and we returned home armed with lots of information and new ideas.
Outside all the meetings there was also a lot of networking and socialising going on. Many of the best meetings were held over a beer in the bar! IAGTO (International Association of Golf Tour Operators) sponsored a bar on the Tuesday evening which was a superb night. The bar was across theMarinafrom the main show hotel and was rather a long walk although only about 200 yards as the crow flies. Somebody had thought of everything and there was a catamaran which sailed back and to all evening so we didn’t even have to walk. What a great way to go to the pub!
The final evening of IGTM was the IAGTO annual awards dinner where awards are presented to the best golf destinations around the world. The winners included Dubai, Gran Canaria, Vietnam and the Dominican Republic. The final award of the evening is the Honorary Award which this year was presented to Tony Jacklin, the most successful Ryder Captain in history, who was present to receive his award and was greeted with a standing ovation by the 1200 people present at the dinner. It was brilliant to see one of Europe’s great honoured by the golf industry. After the dinner there was a party at the Casino in Vilamoura which was attended by many of the people who had attended the dinner and was a fantastic end to what had been a tiring, busy, enjoyable and very worthwhile week for us.
Please keep an eye on our website as there will be lots of new deals and offers coming up as we follow up all the contacts we made in Vilamoura.
Post IGTM Special offer –
Play one of Lisbon’s best kept secret – Ribagolfe – A European tour qualifying school stage 1 venue since 2009. 36 holes of superb quality golf only 30 minutes from the centre of Lisbon.
Enjoy a weekend break Thursday – Sunday 3 nights B&B at the 3 star Alfoz hotel and 3 rounds of golf for only
£151 per person
Offer valid for travel until 31/3/2012
Group special – 1 in 8 go free
Call Rob or Rachel on 01782 510800 for special offers and prices or email email@example.com
We are always looking for the next new golfing destinations for our clients, the ongoing search for that elusive undiscovered spot where the sun is always shining, the golf courses deserted and the service is second to none, all for an affordable price and not too far from home. Is there such a place?
We were invited to discover the delights of Morocco and in particular the city of Marrakesh, it’s an area that has been drawing quite a bit of attention in the travel market since it won the 2010 IAGTO golf destination of the year for the Africa, middle east and Indian ocean region, beating some extremely good opposition in the process. Morocco has been an established destination for the European travel market for many years, its seaside resorts of Casablanca and Agadir have been a favourite with both the French and Spanish markets with visitor numbers toping over 2 million from these two countries alone in 2010, Marrakesh is set inland close to the Atlas mountains where in winter the snow toped mountains make a perfect backdrop to this ancient walled city.Marrakeshis set away from the mountains on the plain but is fed year round from underground rivers via the ancient Khettara irrigation system; it would be easy to forget that you are in a desert asMarrakeshis known as the garden city.
Marrakeshboasts a history dating back to its Moorish roots and its ancient city walls still circle the old town. At its centre is the natural theatre of Djemaa El Fna Square where magicians, acrobats, storytellers, and fortune-tellers gather to entertain you. Extending north from the square is the medina within which lies the imperial heritage of Marrakech. Wandering the Souks in the Medina is like travelling back in time, some shops glittering with jewellery, some festooned with richly coloured carpets and all around you the sounds of bargaining for that all important “best price”! Standing proud above all is Marrakech’s architectural landmark the “Koutoubia” dating back to the 12th century its minaret can be seen all over the city.
In the summer temperatures can easily top 40 c with little respite at night. During both autumn (Oct – Nov) and spring (Mar – May) the temperatures range around the 25-30 c with pleasantly warm evenings. In the winter (Dec – Feb) daytime temperatures 18-23 c with sunshine on most days but expect cool evenings, so some warm clothing is needed at night. Much of the rain inMoroccofalls during the winter in the north of the country on the hills facing the Mediterranean coast and the high Atlas mountains that borderAlgeria. As with any location the weather is as hard to predict at certain times of the year as your golf game. One thing we recommend when visiting a country likeMoroccois to ensure you stay well hydrated. The heat is very dry here so expect to drink 2.5 litres of liquid per day without having to rush to the loo ever half an hour.
Marrakeshhas 6 courses within a 20 minutes drive from the town centre, three of which are 27 hole complexes and Three 18 hole. Combine this with another 3 clubs currently under construction around the city there is enough variation to keep the most ardent golf fanatic content. Moroccan golf in general has an aim to double the number of golf courses in the country to more than 40 by 2015.
The Marrakech Royal Golf course is one of the oldest golf courses inMorocco, It is a course of extreme beauty – Winston Churchill, David Lloyd George and General Eisenhower have played here. The course is fairly narrow and winds through a profusion of cypress, eucalyptus, palm, olive, orange and apricot trees. It is a course of extreme beauty. It is located at the feet of theAtlas Mountains. This course will offer you a test of your shot making skills
27 Holes (9 Holes x 3): Par 72 (18 Holes) – Length: 6086 Metres
Blue Course: Par 36 – Length: 3072 Metres
Yellow Course: Par 36 – Length: 3014 Metres
Green Course: Par 36 – Length: 2939 Metres
Opened in 1995, Amelkis hosted a European Tour event within its first five years, the 2000 Moroccan Open. Originally 18 holes, a further 9 holes have now been added giving three loops, unimaginatively named the Red, Blue and Green loops Set in a beautiful landscape – near the Royal Golf Club – and with wonderful views of the snow-covered Atlas Mountains. The club house, an ochre coloured traditional Kasbah style overlooks the links and creates a muted atmosphere ideally suited for relaxing after a game. This course is testing for any golfer with a number of water features and bunkers but set beautifully amongst palm groves and Moroccan architecture. The course has integrated the “Khettaras” – An 11th Century irrigation system built by the Almoravides Dynasty
27 Holes (9 Holes x 3): Par 72 (18 Holes) – Length: 6657 Metres
Green Course: Par 36 – Length: 3417 Metres
Red Course: Par 36 – Length: 3301 Metres
Blue Course: Par 36 – Length: 3356 Metres
This Robert Trent Jones Sr. designed course is my personal favourite, the celebrated Palmeraie (Palm Grove) at Marrakech and the majestic Atlas Mountains, Trent Jones created an 18- holes masterpiece: The Palmeraie Golf Course. The course is dotted with 7 lakes and covers, beautiful fairways among palm trees with an unforgettable panorama of the highAtlas Mountains. The club house is sumptuous and offers many facilities including an excellent restaurant. A new 9 holes were opened in October 2009 to be played with the back nine of the Robert Trent Jones course. The new course features some impressive water features and has upgraded the complex to a modern championship venue.
27 Holes (9 Holes x 3): Par 72 (18 Holes) – Length: 6214 Metres (original course)
Samanah Golf Club is located 8Km fromMarrakechInternationalAirporton the road to Amezmiz. The complex covers more than 300 ha and benefits from an open view of theAtlasMountain. Over a Hundred Hectares are dedicated to the golf course which was created by Nicklaus Design. Samanah is a “Desert Type” golf Course: the choice of vegetation and plants was realised in this spirit (Cacti, Palm Trees, Olive Trees…). The course measures 6800m from the back tees with a par of 72, but can be played by all standards of player thanks to the wide fairways and different tee positions. The quality of the greens is the key point of the course, although large most have different levels to make some tricky pin positions. The impressive Clubhouse has its architecture inspired by the bulwarks of Marrakech and decorated with ponds and fountains. The Clubhouse includes players bar, TV lounge, Restaurants, Bridge Room, Locker rooms, Proshop and Caddie Masters.
18 Holes Par 72 – Length: 6800 Metres
Al Maaden is situated near the fascinating historical and cultural center of Marrakech, with the majesticAtlas Mountainsas a backdrop. This 18-hole golf course is designed by Kyle Phillips. The golf course has been designed in grand rolling terrain, placed at the foot hills of the nearbyAtlas Mountains. Strategically placed bunkers give players multiple lines of play from the tee and tightly cut spill off areas around the greens gather errant shots, providing a variety of exiting recovery opportunities. Keeping with the traditions of golf, AI Maaden is designed as a walker friendly course, with a surrounding designed landscape and geometric water features that give a feeling of playing through a Moroccan garden
18 Holes Par 72 – Length: 6249 Metres
Opening on the 1st March 2012 Assoufid’s 18-hole, world-class golf course has been designed by Scottish golf professional Niall Cameron. Idyllically set on amazing natural contours against a stunning backdrop of the Atlas Mountains, it features an inviting Club House andGolfAcademy. TheGolfAcademy offers cutting-edge technology, including computer studio suites and club-fitting analysis, plus a dedicated driving range with shaded tees and practice area.
Elsewhere in Morocco Rabat/Casablanca coast line hosts 7 different clubs and resorts. The most famous being Royal Golf Dar Es Salam, home to the Hassen II Trophy on the European tour. The club houses an impressive 45 hole complex. Two 18 hole championship courses the Red & Blue designed by Robert Trent Jones Snr and a nine hole shorter green course, all three offer tree line fairways and are always in superb condition. Other courses worth a mention here are El Menzeh Royal, Mohammedia Royal (both clubs are nearing their centenary years),BouznikaBaywhich has 9 floodlit holes and the new Mazagan golf resort designed by Gary Player and managed by Troon golf.
Further south along the coast another newly opened Gary player designed Mogador Golf Club has been widely acclaimed as one of the best in the country, combined with the on site Soffitel hotel this tailor made golf resort makes a popular destination or combined with a twin centre Marrakesh trip.
Finally the coastal resort of Agadir has also a number of good courses, two 27 hole complex’s Golf des Dunes and Golf de l’Ocean, 36 holes at Golf du Soleil and the 9 hole Golf Royal. All feature spectacular views of theAtlantic Ocean, some great water features and well manicured greens.
There is no question Moroccois a great holiday destination, the Atlantic coast resort of Casablancaand Agadir give some respite from the inland heat in the summer months, Marrakeshhas the history and fascinating culture to keep those non golfing days and evenings full of excitement. The golf, with the exception of a few established courses, is relatively new and will only improve with time as the courses mature. The level of service at each and every club we visited was excellent. Club houses are well appointed and in some cases spectacular (does your course have an infinity pool overlooking the 18th green?). The price of golf is very competitive at around £40 per round compared with its Spanish and Portuguese neighbours across theGibraltar straits and all clubs have caddies for around £10 per round. For me the caddies made the golf here a little bit different from Europe, you can save a couple of shots a round by hitting the putt’s on the lines they give you and with all the courses being pretty flat it’s an easy walk when your not carrying a golf bag. All clubs also have buggies which are best booked in advance especially at the older courses (expect to pay around £25-30 per buggy).
Accommodation is generally very good, many of the hotels have been built or refurbished over the last few years, all the main international chains of hotels can be found here with exactly the same standard as you would expect anywhere in the world. The local hotel star rating as with many countries around the world may need to be taken with a pinch of salt, it probably should be on a scale 1-7 inMorocco. If you see a price that’s too good to believe for a 5* hotel it likely to be more of a 3 to 4 star hotel by European standards. We ensure that all our hotels are shown at there European star rating rather than the local standard.
So what about the Camels, Kasbah’s and Bandits, well there are plenty of camel’s around (usually outside your hotel) The Medina in Marrakesh is still straight out of an Arabian knights movie especially in the evening and the Bandit’s? Well thankfully they are confined to the golf course these days, unless you want to buy a carpet! (But that’s another story).
Either way the one thing we can guarantee is a great golfing holiday in a fascinating region of Africa, whether it is a short winter sun break or a longer summer holiday we believe you will not be disappointed.
7 night Marrakesh packages start from only £499 including HB accommodation, 5 rounds of golf and all airport and golf transfers*
* Flights not included
If you would like more information about the region please give us a ring 01782 510800 and ask for Rachel, Rob or Neil. Alternatively email Rachel@qualitygolfdestinations.com or Rob@qualitygolfdestinations.com