There are seven golf courses on the island of Mauritius and Tony Smart believes they are the most beautiful in the world.
The great American writer Mark Twain once wrote that “golf was a good walk spoiled”, words I’ve never been able to agree with. Twain was obviously not a golf fanatic like myself. However in 1896, on first seeing the beautiful Indian Ocean island of Mauritius, Twain wrote that “you gather the idea that Mauritius was made first, then heaven, and that heaven was copied after Mauritius.” And those are words that I completely agree with. For me Mauritius is heaven, especially as on this paradise island the golf is utterly heavenly.
At present seven stunningly beautiful championship golf courses can be found on the island’s east, south and west coasts, and the best of them, in my opinion, is the Peter Matkovich designed Heritage Golf Club course (previously known as Golf du Chateau), which measures over 7,000 yards, par 72 from the back tees. With majestic views of the Indian Ocean shimmering in the sunshine available from 10 holes which rise up into the foothills of Bel Ombre in the south-west of Mauritius, and beautiful lakes that test the golfer on five other holes the course is spectacular.
It’s also extremely challenging with lush vetiver grass surrounding many fairways and mango, papaya and palm tree filled jungle lining many holes, just waiting to swallow up any wayward shots. But there is a serene and luxurious clubhouse to relax in after your round, and there are two superb luxury resorts just across the road – the Heritage Awali, the only five star all-inclusive golf resort on Mauritius, and the Heritage Le Telfair, winner of the prestigious World Travel Awards accolade of Best Golf Resort In Mauritius in 2011 and 2012.
A few kilometres further up the coast from the Heritage is the 6,437 yard, par 72 layout at the Paradis Golf Club on the Le Morne peninsula. The Paradis course is possibly the most scenic in Mauritius as it’s played in the shadow of the magnificent Le Morne mountain, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with four holes on the back nine played right beside an inlet of the Indian Ocean. Although not quite as challenging as some other courses on Mauritius the Paradis Golf Club is nevertheless a very enjoyable round and the par five 16th and par three 17th, played on a windswept peninsula that juts out into the ocean, are two truly great holes.
The course is joined on the Le Morne peninsula by the Paradis Hotel & Golf Club and the Dinarobin Hotel Golf & Spa, two luxurious hotels that are part of the Beachcomber group, providing the first class facilities and superb service synonymous with the Beachcomber name.
Another breathtakingly beautiful course on Mauritius is the Le Touessrok course, situated on its own island at Ile Aux Cerfs on Mauritius’ east coast, and the only golf course I’ve ever played that is not reachable by road, only by boat or helicopter.
This incredible Bernhard Langer designed course measures 7,115 yards, par 72 (from the back tees) and is a layout that has to played to be believed. With several holes that run right beside the white sand beaches and turquoise blue waters of the Indian Ocean the whole course is a feast for the eyes, featuring a wide variety of exotic flora and fauna, including scarlet coloured cardinal birds that flit around the golf course.
Whilst very beautiful the Le Touessrok course is also an extremely tough one with black volcanic rock outcrops coming into play on several holes, mangrove swamps featuring on many others, water hazards to test your accuracy on 13 holes and strategic bunkering on many more. The course is not for the faint-hearted, a real golfing Beauty and the Beast, but playing it is a treat and from the blue tees it’s a much more manageable 6,500 yards. When you’ve finished your round the Le Touessrok is a terrific hotel to stay in, one of the best on the island, with exquisite rooms, superb restaurants and a host of great facilities for any time you have left after playing golf, including a Givenchy Spa.
Also on the east coast are two courses at the Constance Belle Mare Plage Resort – the Legend, which hosts the MCB Tour Championship on the European Seniors Tour, and the Links. The Legend course is only available to guests of the resort and the neighbouring Le Prince Maurice hotel, but the Peter Alliss/Rodney Wright designed Links layout is open to anyone and is a challenging test.
The Legend course
Completing the east coast’s golfing heaven is the great Ernie Els designed course at the Four Seasons at Anahita, close to Le Touessrok. The 2012 Open champion has created a beautiful course here that measures 7,467 yards, par 72 from the back tees. But, as with most courses today, a variety of tees makes the layout accessible to golfers of all levels. At Anahita the course is always in superb condition and the six spectacular oceanside holes, particularly the finishing three which give Anahita possibly the best finish on the island, make it yet another enchanting Mauritian golf course. Rounding out the package is the all-villa Four Seasons Hotel attached to the resort, luxury at its very best.
The final heavenly golf course on Mauritius is on the island’s west coast, at the Tamarina Hotel, Beach, Golf & Spa resort, featuring a Rodney Wright designed layout that measures a whopping 7,512 yards, par 72 from the back tees though again there are a variety of other tees to choose from to suit all
standards of golf. With fairways framed by acres of purple pampas grass and lemongrass, views of the spectacular Rempart Mountain (resembling a mini-
Matterhorn) available from most holes, and a magnificent signature hole, the par three 13th which drops almost 100 feet from the tee to a green surrounded by bunkers and a tidal pool on the left hand side, Tamarina is a cracker of a golf course and a worthy addition to golf in Mauritius.
Tamarina course, in the shadow of Rempart Mountain
With a wonderful all year round climate for golf and seven superb courses to choose from it’s easy to see why Mauritius is becoming a popular destination for golfers. All that remains is for you to pack a bag, grab the clubs, climb on a plane and go and see for yourself.
For further information on golf in Mauritius visit golf-in-mauritius.com