Each year my hard work on this golf blog provides me with the opportunity to visit many great golf courses all around the world. 2016 was a tremendous year for playing courses which I had not previously played, from the USA to Scotland to Morocco. To qualify for the Best Golf Course Award for the year, the course has to be one I had not played previously. I narrowed the finalists down to a eight stellar courses played this year:
Those are some fantastic courses to say the least, in some fabulous locations. As great as they all are, one course stood out and not by just a wee bit either. Scotland’s Cruden Bay left me absolutely stunned. Here are a few picturesque reasons why.
The dunes above. What a view. Absolutely stunning.
How about the view below, from the 9th tee. It was a hell of a walk from the 8th green up to this point and despite nearly having a heart attack, the view was well worth it!
The golf at Cruden Bay is stellar. But it has a fun and very quirky personaly as well. Just ring the bell or push the button on the electric post to let the group behind you know it is okay to hit their approach shot.
And because I want to see another money shot, here you go below. This one from late in the day as the sun was setting and the shadows began to really accentuate the terrain.
In the photo above you can see a plateau in the background. That’s where the shots I mentioned from the 9th tee were.
I’m in love. Cruden Bay is one of the top courses I’ve ever had the pleasure of experiencing.
Awarding Cruden Bay the 2016 Best Golf Course Award was a no-brainer, and it was up against Golf Digest Top 100 USA courses on my list. I will be back as soon as possible. What a fantastic course, design, location and the town of Cruden Bay is quite fun as well.
On my recent golf trip to Morocco I had the fabulous opportunity to stay at the 5-Star Mazagan Beach & Golf Resort in El Jadida, Morocco. Mazagan Beach & Golf is a very large resort with hotel, casino, spa, huge pool, beach on the Atlantic Ocean, and a Gary Player design golf course.
Location Location Location
What a tremendous location Mazagan Beach & Golf occupies. It’s basically and oceanside paradise lined with palm trees. The huge grounds are immaculately maintained and full of fantastic designs and creative landscapes.
The resort’s architecture reflects traditional Moroccan traditions but still has a modern and clean look and feel.
Below notice the open door? That’s my room.
My room, lower right
Below is the view from inside the room, looking out to the pool area.
Turning around from the view out to the pool, this is the room.
Food and Beverage
My group enjoyed some traditional Moroccan food in the MORJANA Restaurant. The Lebanese/Moroccan food and Moroccan wine was fantastic.
Lamb, chicken, beef kebobs
Triangles with filo dough on the outside. Inside is either meat or cheese
The restaurant featured a musician playing a stringed instrument I’m not familiar with. Looked like a bouzouki but it wasn’t. Then after that we were treated to a belly dancer who was fantastic.
John (GolfBlogger.com) enjoys the show
John (above) enjoyed watching the belly dancer, but yours truly was the one she picked to dance. Never before have such awful dance moves (mine, not the belly dancer’s) been on display in the content of Africa. I guarantee it.
I had NO idea how many knots I had in my back. It was a great thing that I was able to get a massage while at Mazagan. The masseuse was incredible. She found, and resolved knots in places I didn’t know existed. It really helped out my endurance and flexibility for the rest of the golf trip.
While working out some knots the masseuse, who spoke nearly zero english asked, “you work on computer?” She could tell. I responded, “world famous golf blogger. If I’m not on the golf course I’m at the computer penning Blogitzer Prize winning golf blog posts.” Actually, I just said yes.
I did not test my luck at the casino, though I did take a quick look in. Very nice. My bank account thanked me for my self-control.
I’ll be posting a review of the Gary Player designed Mazagan Golf Club soon. The course runs along Mazagan beach. Huge breakers crash in on the shore. Huge. Now I know why some friends of mine take the trip to Morocco to surf.
The course is very fun to play, and not so difficult that it demoralizes you.
Think outside of North America.
Casablanca, Morocco is a 6.5 hour flight from JFK Airport in New York. From there it’s not a long drive to Mazagan. Rather than traveling in the USA or to Mexico for your next golf trip, you could be in fabulous Morocco enjoying a 5-Star resort, great food, beach, surfing, gaming, lodging, and golf at Mazagan.
The fourth and final golf course on the HOG World Tour trip to Morocco was the #1 course in Morocco (World Golf Awards), Assoufid Golf Club. Assoufid is a desert style course with some great elevation changes and creative architecture.
Target golf, anyone?
Assoufid is located a short drive southwest of Marrakesh, a city of about 1.5 million (map below).
Assoufid Golf Club, Morocco
If you’ve played golf in Palm Springs, you’ll feel at home at Assoufid. There are distinct takeoff and landing areas, with desert between. Holes are lined with palm trees and olive trees.
Unfortunately our group’s round there was rained out, hard. We got as far as the approach shot on the 10th hole when it was too heavy to plod on. Sorry to my Scottish friends about that.
I even left my golf ball in the fairway on #10. I need to go back and find it soon.
Stay tuned for a full review of Assoufid, and more posts on Morocco.
Golf course three of four on the HOG World Tour to Morocco last week was the tremendously fun Royal Palm Golf Club in Marrakech (see map below for location). Royal Palm is architecturally different than Mazagan Golf Club and Royal Golf Dar Es Salam.
This course is more of what I would have expected in Morocco, a desert course. It has some light “target” style aspects to it, like courses in Arizona, Nevada, and southern Utah.
Some courses beat you up or lack in interesting holes and movement. Not here. This course was very “fun” to play.