Mauritius named Golf Destination of the Year – Africa, Gulf States & Indian Ocean

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The Indian Ocean island of Mauritius has been honoured as one of the world’s best golf destinations.

It was named 2016 Golf Destination of the Year for the Africa, Gulf States and Indian Ocean region in the prestigious annual IAGTO Awards, the golf tourism industry’s “Oscars”, at a gala dinner on the final day of the International Golf Travel Market in Tenerife.

It is the second time Mauritius has won the coveted award, which is voted for by golf tour operator members of IAGTO (International Association of Golf Tour Operators). It previously won the honour in the 2008 IAGTO Awards.

“Through the AfrAsia Mauritius Open, the first-ever tri-sanctioned golf event by the European, Asian and Africa Sunshine Tours, the island of Mauritius has reaffirmed its past role as the key of the Indian Ocean, this time for the promotion of the game of golf on the three continents,” he continued.

“Our golf business model is centred on our guests’ satisfaction in terms of service quality, innovation and value for money.

“Everybody involved in the golf tourism industry in Mauritius is very honoured that the island has been named Golf Destination of the Year for Africa, the Gulf States and the Indian Ocean. To have won this prestigious accolade, which is voted for by tour operators, is very gratifying and shows that our hard work is paying off.”

Mauritius offers a collection of world-class golf courses by renowned golf designers, in tropical settings and with perfect, year-round golf weather. The inaugural AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open was held at the Heritage Golf Club in May 2015. The 2016 event will be held from 12-15 May, 2016, at the Four Seasons Golf Club Mauritius at Anahita and will have a purse of €1 million.

I spent my honeymoon in Mauritius and can rightly say, it’s a small paradise and the golf is truly breathtaking. Can’t wait to see the AfrAsia Mauritius Open is teeing up at Ernie Els’ Anahita resort. The course pictured above is Bernhard Langer’s Le Touessrok Golf Club—another mind-blowing course on its own island.

If you are into beaches, great food, culture, heritage and golf, then Mauritius is the place to be for you!

Ball Showcase: Le Touessrok

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Mauritius is a great golfing destination, there are plenty of great courses, reachable in an acceptable amount of time, the climate is nearly optimal all year round and the courses are, from a pure quality and excitement factor perspective, absolutely top-notch. That could be because famous golf players and architects like Ernie Els and Bernhard Langer left their footprint on the island and created something that could be well described as “golfers’ dreams”.

All the courses (at least the ones which I was fortunate enough to play) are truly remarkable, enjoyable and highly rememberable! The Le Touessrok by Berhard Langer is no exception. Possibly this course, next to the Anahita by Ernie Els, is the top end of the list I would write of great courses on this tropical Island.

For more information please see my blog post on Le Touessrok or check out their website: www.letouessrokresort.com/en/mauritius-golf

Belle Mare Plage Legend: a European Senior Tour venue in beautiful Mauritius

The third golf venue in Mauritius I’d like to report on is the Constance Belle Mare Plage Legend course, sister course to the Links, and actually the older sibling as this course has been the first one of the two and effectively made Mauritius the golf destination it is today. The Legend is, from a vegetation point of view, very comparable to the Links. It’s a modern open parkland style with interesting routing and challenging holes. You find many water hazards here and as well some tricky forced carry tee shots.

The Legend is an official European Senior Tour venue and also hosts the annual Mauritius Open. In a word, it’s a demanding course.

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When will you next take on The Legend?

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The club is situated right next to the Belle Mare Plage resort and offers shuttle buses from all hotels of the Constance group. Once you arrive at the club house, you’ll be greeted and warmly welcomed by the courteous and helpful staff: someone offers you a cold towel to refresh yourself, another prepares your cart and someone else takes good care you’ll find the way to the first tee or the practice facilities.

Just like the Links, all golf players can be assured to be in good hands while they enjoy the hours in this club—on the course or at the bar after the round.

The course however does challenge the usual weekend golfers. It’s not at all as difficult as the Le Touessrok but golfers need a decent swing in order to play their handicap. That’s mainly because of the water which comes into play on almost every hole! Sometimes the holes feature a fairly narrow fairway and water to both sides. So again, it’s more the straight and controlled strike which is important here, not the smashing drive, no matter where it lands.

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The hole I liked the most was the definite signature hole number 17, a par 3 over a lagoon (see the picture above). The white and black tee boxes feature a 150-160m tee shot over water and a well-secured green. On the last holes of the course we saw numerous deer which was quite astonishing. These animals obviously got used to humans (and golfers) as they not at all flee from golf carts driving along.

This short video here sums it up quite nicely.

This marks the end of my little report on Mauritius, the famous golf destination. It’s a majestic place and the place to be for golfers, honeymooners, beach and water sports enthusiasts and for all those who want to combine everything with beautiful sunshine, white beaches and turquoise water, all of which you have here as well.

This was definitely not my last trip to this tropical Indian Ocean island. There are some other golf treasures to be found on the island and as Anahita is still on my personal bucket list, I will be back some time.

Continue reading Belle Mare Plage Legend: a European Senior Tour venue in beautiful Mauritius

Bernhard Langer’s revenge: Le Touessrok Golf Club

To make this clear right from the start: I really like this course. In retrospect that’s probably a very brave and self-destructive thing to say, but I absolutely enjoyed the hours spent on this course. I know there is a lot of criticism out there and I will touch on some things later, but let me assure you, if you are a keen golfer and you know how to strike the ball, then this is one great course for you!

But in chronological order: I was picked up at my hotel by the Le Touessrok shuttle – a great service! They pick you up, where ever you stay on the island, take you to the resort, let you have fun for some hours and then take you right back to your hotel—completely free of charge! I wished the Anahita resort had a similar service…

So it happened that a couple of golf fanatics found themselves in the back of the Le Touessrok golf shuttle on their way to Ile aux Cerfs. This is the name of the island on which the course was built. So after a 10 minutes boat ride you get off the vessel and stand on a golf course on its own tropical island… believe me when I say I was really excited. Some guys told me some negative things about the course but I was willing to make my own experiences and boy, I wasn’t disappointed.

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The Ile aux Cerfs is a very famous tourist attraction, obviously not for the golf course but for the beautiful white beaches around the island. So it’s fair to say that parts of the island are pretty crowded with tourists. Some of which never been to a golf course before and therefore somehow sneak onto the property and watch some golfers execute their lousy swings.

Le Touessrok was designed by the German Bernhard Langer and what he created is a hell of a golf course. And at the same time it’s the better golfer’s dream. In order to explain that, it’s a beautiful course but very challenging at the same time. It’s not the typical or usual architecture at all, it’s new, it’s different and it’s more the case that you are reminded to do proper course management with every single shot. Golfers have to assess properly their abilities how to strike the ball. Those who are straight and know their distances are in golfer’s heaven. Those who struggle with slices, hooks, pulls and pushes have a hard time.

This sounds very negative but I mean it in the most positive way. Nearly every single hole has the potential to be a signature hole on its own, be it island greens, forced carry tee shots, huge water hazards or simply intimidating vistas. There are a lot of obstacles between you as the golfer and the par! But exactly this makes it so astonishing! Not a course where you get bored early or seem to have played such hole before in life. This is somewhat unique. Langer managed to fit 18 creative holes into one single course in between mangroves and lagoons on a tropical island, and all this without ever being on-site!…

Yes, the starter told me Bernhard Langer has never been to this island! He planned everything at home and never checked the construction site as you would normally suppose golf architects would do. I was told that many famous players came here to play: Colin Montgomerie, Ernie Els, Ian Poulter and many others, but the architect himself never set a foot on this land. That’s a bit strange (…if it’s true after all).

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I was playing with two British guys, both keen golfers, handicap 9, playing off the white tees. There are 4 tee boxes available where white (“Championship”) is the second longest. Only the pro tees (“Langer”) are longer and the difference to the “Forward” tees makes up to nearly one astonishing kilometer in total! I was asked what my handicap is and both the starter and the Brits advised I should go with the white tees. Only after I told them that I only play with irons and that I have no woods in my bag, they briefly reconsidered their advise and then went: “come on, you can do this, play the white tees”. And so I did, and it was a mistake.

I heard some strange stories, that the course record is still 72, that for 10 years nobody shot a below-par round, and I’m not sure if all these stories are true. What I can confirm however is that the course is really tricky if you are the normal weekend golfer. At many of the holes there are forced carries, sometimes mangroves, sometimes water and every golfer has to make sure to chose a tee box to his abilities. Otherwise it ends up with a huge loss of balls and disrespect for this great golf course. If you treat it well, it treats you well.

The condition of the course was fantastic for the most part, the fairways were in great shape, the greens have been some of the best I’ve ever seen. The only thing which could give reason for complaints is that at some holes the club management decided to widen the fairways or to enlarge the greens in order to please more golfers and to make it a bit easier. This construction work was apparent from time to time and hence looked a bit premature.

The only thing which totally annoyed me was the number of people on and off the course. As I mentioned before, there were quite a few tourists wandering the paths between holes. Then there were again some of these “golf ball collectors”, sneaking out of the bush, offering their white gold to players like me (on the 11th I’m almost sure one of these guys stole my ball right from the middle of the fairway) and there were quite a number of people having their BBQ on the beach. And as the beach in parts of the course forms the natural border of the rough, these people were having their fish right next to the fairway! One club too much on the 12th hole and the ball gets grilled—literally! We actually had at least 10 Asian beach tourists filming us putt on that hole. That must have been a new situation for them as well. But nobody was hurt, no human casualties to report.

Other than that it’s a great thing to have the Indian Ocean right next to the fairway. You obviously don’t find this very often. But when you do, you should enjoy every minute of it. Yes the course is a difficult one. Therefore my advice for golfers of all abilities: it’s such an interesting design, breathe in the beauty of the sport and don’t get spoiled by too much risk or too much ego! Stick to your irons when you are not dead straight with your woods! Lay up when you are not 100% sure you can make it over the water. Absolutely no need to score par on this course, and if you go with these rules, a great round of golf is waiting for you.

All holes are great (besides number 2 maybe) but my absolute favourites are:

Hole 3: (more or less) a peninsula par 3.
Holes 11/12: right along the Indian Ocean, with “beach guests” unfortunately.
Holes 16 through 18: absolute top-notch holes to the end of the round, long forced carries over the lagoon or mangroves, with very interesting second shots into the green.

I recommend this course without doubt, just stick to the tee box which is right for you (not the one which you wish is right for you!). The Anahita course, not far from Le Touessrok, is supposed to be even better. So this remains on my bucket list for my next trip to Mauritius! And I would definitely schedule in a second round at the Le Touessrok, and I’m sure I’d be much better (from yellow)!

Continue reading Bernhard Langer’s revenge: Le Touessrok Golf Club

Belle Mare Plage Links: a great start to Mauritius Golf

Belle Mare Plage is the name of one of the prettiest beaches on the beautiful island of Mauritius and at the same time name for a hotel and two golf courses.

Mauritius is a typical golf and honeymoon destination so it was easy to combine the two. The hotels are first class and so is the service in all related activities and amenities. We booked a tee time via the concierge at the front desk at the Constance Le Prince Maurice which is the superior hotel compared to the sister hotel Belle Mare Plage. So booking was easy and guests at the Prince Maurice benefit from booking priority.

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Very regularly there’s a shuttle leaving from the hotels heading to the courses which are just a 5 minutes ride apart from each other. So somebody is picking you up, taking care of your clubs and once you arrive at the club 10 minutes later, the buggy and service personnel is already waiting for you. Somebody is greeting you with a wet towel and makes your visit as pleasant as possible.

After 2 minutes you are ready to go. We first went to the driving range which apparently is a quite unusual thing as we were the only ones. And all people which we saw arriving later on, everybody was directly heading to tee no. 1. But one bucket of balls for us was absolutely fine, especially because my wife hasn’t swung a club for like 3 years.

One thing every golfer in Mauritius has to learn is the following; the people living in Mauritius are quite poor compared to European standards. So what they do is, they sell used golf balls which they found in the bushes. I’m not exaggerating when I say we probably saw 15 people during our round, offering golf balls for sale. These people get on the property, look for balls in the bushes and then sit by the green and wait for the next golfers, i.e. customers. It was a bit weird in the beginning but after two, three rounds you totally get used to it. You even learn, that green keepers are the laziest bunch of people on the planet, but once you show interest in buying some used balls, they get over-excited, totally forget about their work – and then the price negotiations can start.

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But back to topic: the course is situated on the east coast of the island, offers lots of water and therefore is called “Links”. To be honest it’s neither built on links land nor is it pure links character. I’d call it a fairly open parkland course with many water hazards – it actually looks pretty American in style. It’s a Peter Alliss design and features undulated greens and rolling fairways, both fair in size.

For the quality of the course I’d say it’s a 6 out of 10. Although it was the end of their winter (with approx. 20°C) the fairways were quite brown-ish and the greens have just been punched apparently. So it was not really good looking, but far from horrible. The setup of the holes, i.e. the architecture, was interesting so overall I’d give 7/10 points.

What’s really outstanding in terms of hole design was for instance the 2, where you’ll find huge lava stone formations on or next to the fairway. The stretch from holes 11 to 15 offers a lot of water which is not only pleasing to the eye but at the same time rather intimidating – which is good for the fun on the course.

It was definitely a nice round which we absolutely enjoyed. The golf was great, the service is outstanding and the tiny things that annoyed us (e.g. sub-optimal greens, brown parts on fairways) were forgotten very quickly. A great round of golf in total.

I definitely recommend this course in case you stay at the Constance Hotels and golf is included. Would I pay 100€ plus 70€ taxi to play here staying in another area of the island? Probably not.

Continue reading Belle Mare Plage Links: a great start to Mauritius Golf

Mauritius, a very fine golf destination

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I was lucky enough to schedule in some rounds of golf during my honeymoon to Mauritius. This island is a pure golf and honeymoon destination at the same time, so why don’t combine the two reasons…

During our 2 weeks we managed to play three rounds:

During the first week we stayed at the Constance Le Prince Maurice Hotel on the east coast and the first two courses here in this list were free of charge. We were picked up by a shuttle service, brought to the courses in 10 minutes and were provided with excellent service and a GPS cart. No need to say that the golf experience in Mauritius is absolutely top-notch.

However the both courses at Belle Mare Plage were not in the most superb condition than hoped. The greens have just been punched before and at least the Links Course had some more brown-ish areas than anticipated as Mauritius moves from winter to summer now. But overall, two very nice courses indeed.

Next on my list were the Le Touessrok and the Anahita. Unfortunately I only managed to play Bernhard Langer’s Le Touessrok. But it was worth the efforts and Anahita, supposedly the highlight of Mauritius, remains on my list for the next trip to the Indian Ocean.

In the second week we moved to the St. Regis Hotel in the south-west part of the island. There you’d find the Paradis Golf Club, the Tamarina Golf Club and the Heritage Golf Club close by but we didn’t play them at all.

When you think about holidays in the Indian Ocean and you are a keen golfer, then forget about the Maldives or the Seychelles! Enjoy the golfing variety of Mauritius with its superb golf courses.

Back in action

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Jeez, that's a lot of hand rotation! #ForeLeft

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Folks, I’m back in action, back from honeymoon, 3.5 weeks of pure relaxation and a bit of golf. The time in Mauritius has been absolutely amazing. The weather could have been a bit better, but the hotels, the beaches and the people couldn’t be beaten.

A lot has happened during my absence: Europe won the Ryder Cup, Oliver Wilson won the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, the US Ryder Cup team were ripping their captain’s heart out and many tiny other golf related things as well.

I was fortunate to see a bit of the Ryder Cup, but won’t dig into that issue anymore here on this blog. I’m happy the Euro boys won in style on home turf and that everybody had his stake in this beautiful team event. I can’t wait for 2016!

In Mauritius I played three lovely rounds of golf, which I really enjoyed. I will write a post on each day in the course of the following days. So keep in touch, more interesting stuff and pictures to come.

Getting ready for Mauritius

The wedding is around the corner and with it the planning for the honeymoon. We’re going to Mauritius and I can’t wait for it! The next two weeks will be absolutely hell in the office—my thoughts always circle around the wedding ceremony, the party and the honeymoon.

Mauritius is the perfect golf destination and I’m very much looking forward to the two weeks with my wife-to-be and obviously to the rounds of golf I’ve scheduled in. The missus rarely plays golf so she’s not as excited as I am but she obviously knows about my passion so I got my OK to play some rounds.

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Mauritius more and more becomes famous for being the place-to-be golf destination in the Indian Ocean. That’s partly because of the superb golf courses they have there, but as well because of the numerous 5- and 6-star hotels and beach resorts. Flipping through the travel catalogues it’s sheer luxury what pleases your eyes and imagination. And that’s basically what all golfers want: sunshine, great golf courses, beautiful surroundings, pleasing amenities and outstanding service and accommodation!

The following courses are the ones which I currently have on my list for the trip. And I do hope that we can squeeze all these in!

Some of these courses are nestled within rainforest, but most of them are situated right at the coast line, offering fantastic vistas onto the Indian Ocean. I’ll have my camera ready—time to follow Golficiency on Instagram!

Any thoughts or suggestions, please let me know!

Which courses to play in Mauritius?

I need your help! I’m currently planning a trip to Mauritius. Actually it’s my honeymoon but that’s another story. So I’ll be in Mauritius for about 2 weeks later this year, together with the missus, but I got the official permission to play some rounds of golf, which by the way I highly appreciate!

Now what I need is some advice on courses. I know that quite some people go to Mauritius for golfing so I hope that somebody out there has some valued feedback on courses, quality, general attractiveness, difficulty, location etc. Otherwise I have to stick to my usual go-to place which is top100golfcourses.co.uk.

This link takes you to a selection of fine Mauritius courses such as:

Anybody able to provide some insights on the above? A feedback is much appreciated.