“In two years we will have 50 golf courses in Morocco”
Morocco is starting to become a golf destination that warrants serious attention. The variety and quality of its courses and its attractive accompanying amenities – a mix of luxurious hotels and exotic culture – are transforming the country into an object of desire for European golfers.
Moulay Rachid Alaoui, adviser to the president of the Royal Moroccan Golf Federation, notes that within just two years his country will have more than 50 golf courses, a total that is starting to become quite important and worth taking into consideration.
“Right now, “ he says, “there are 30 courses mostly located in the Marrakech area, where there are 11, Agadir, Casablanca, Rabat and the northern part of the country.
We currently have around 10,000 registered golfers.”
- A total that is growing, no?
- Yes, and growing a lot. Golf officially began in Morocco exactly 100 years ago, in 1914, with construction of the first course in Tangier, although it is known that as far back as 1897 golf was played in this city, which was the diplomatic capital of the kingdom. As to be expected, it was the British who introduced the sport.
- Morocco presumably also conceived golf as a tourist attraction?
.- Certainly. Even though in Rabat, Casablanca and Tangier there are many local members, golf is a key tool in the development of our tourism industry. We want to follow the example of Spain, which has triumphed in this respect and is a mirror into which we look at ourselves. Our visitors at the moment are mainly French; the British and Scandinavian markets don’t have a great presence yet, but we are working on positioning ourselves in those countries, and in Spain of course.
- There are 20 new courses in total planned or under construction. In what areas are they being built?
- Throughout Morocco, although mainly in Marrakech and the north. In Tangier, for example, there is another course designed by Vijay Singh.
“We have the advantage,” adds Moulay Rachid, “of having very good courses built before the real estate boom and, following that, we have been very cautious not to build courses just to sell homes. In that respect we also have to learn from Spain, absorbing the lessons of what has been done well – which is a lot – and avoiding the mistakes.”
Are the designers of these new planned or under construction courses prestigious architects?
- Yes, indeed. Jack Nicklaus, for example, who already has a course in Marrakech and is going to do two or three more; Cabell B. Robinson, Kyle Phillips, Colin Montgomerie, etc. They are very interesting people.