The magic of golf in Morocco - By Champika N Sayal
The Moroccans showed the way to global golfing communities with their new mantra “Golf Together”- symbolizing gender equality. It hosted best of male and female players from across the globe at the same venue, in May, opening up a new chapter in golfing history.
In the country’s first ever Men’s & Ladies concurrent championships at a common venue, an impressive display of governance and coordination greeted us. The full field events had over two hundred and fifty professional players – 144 vying for the men’s trophy and 126 for the women’s.
The Royal Dar se Salam Golf Club nestled in capital city of Rabat, played host to the Men’s European Tour Championship 43rd Hassan II Trophy on their “Monster of Africa” Red course set at almost 7370 yards kept its reputation. A matured forest course designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr in 1971. The final leader board depicting under par scores were just few- in single digits. An exciting double playoff between Spaniard Nacho Elvira and 20-year-old Korean Jeunghun Wang saw the young Korean take the Men’s title.
Ladies European Tour played for the 22nd edition of the Lalla Meryem Cup on the blue course. Set at 6400 yards, it was yet another formidable setting. Both the courses boasted of small greens and difficult first cuts. A spectacular score of 65, gave Spanish rookie player Nuria Iturrios the coveted title.
Inclement weather on the final round did not deter the young player from making a course record.
In exemplary settings both the tournaments played concurrently were being viewed live across the globe. A small nation of golfing aficionados, Morocco boasts of over forty international golf courses, in their premier cities of Casablanca, Agadir and the renowned red city Marrakech.
Royal Dar es Salam in Rabat, has the distinction of figuring in the top 100 most difficult courses worldwide.
A wonderful learning experience- many lessons for global golfing administrators for hosting both genders concurrently. Two mighty international tours, two worthy winners, a common prize distribution and a “GALA” Royal black tie dinner were synchronised events that guests from across the globe were welcomed to. A treat indeed and happy life long memories. Certainly a golfing destination not to be missed.
Salaams Royal Dar es Salam Golf Club and the Kingdom of Morocco.
Champika N Sayal, Secretary General, Women’s Golf Association of India.