A very private 18-hole layout that you will not find listed in any Moroccan golf directory, the Golf du Palais Royal d’Agadir course is a Robert Trent Jones Snr design that lies within the heavily guarded ramparts of the Royal Palace in Agadir where it made its first appearance to a select few golfers in 1987.
Situated amongst the sand hills beside the Atlantic Ocean, the fairways of the Palais Royal course are laid out in two returning nines, each of which play to a par of 36. The property may be located close to the shoreline but the high security walls that surround the palace keep the outside world at arm’s length, even at holes 3 and 4, the two par fours that are closest to the ocean on the most westerly edge of the palace grounds.
The opening par five hole sets the scene for the round where a veritable sea of sand on either side of the fairway confronts the golfer on the tee. Avoiding those deep and deadly bunkers is the order of the day as the beautifully manicured fairway veers right to a pneumatically jacked up green that’s surrounded by yet more sand.
Precision play is essential around here, otherwise the steep run off slopes around the greens will prove very costly – and that’s certainly the case at the two long par threes at holes 2 and 8 where upturned saucer greens repel all but perfectly placed tee shots.
The only water-threatened hole on the front nine is the beautiful 580-yard 5th, where the pin is cut behind a couple of ponds to the front left and right of the green. The aquatic challenge intensifies after the turn though, first at the par five 10th, followed by the two beautiful par threes at 12 and 14, where water lurks front and right of both putting surfaces. The course, which hosted the Moroccan Open six times during the 1990s, has been used since 2011 as the venue for the European Tour’s Trophée Hassan II competition, an event that moved from Royal Dar Es Salam Golf Club in Rabat to its new home in Agadir.