Marrakech is undergoing something of a sporting boom as the Moroccan government encourages the development of golf facilities to the south of the city. The Al Madden course from Kyle Phillips debuted in 2010 and the 18-hole Samanah layout from Nicklaus Design was unveiled a year later.
Both these modern designs preceded the 2014 opening of the impressive Assoufid golf course – designed by former European Tour player Niall Cameron – and its fairways have been routed in such a way that most of the holes lie in a north-south orientation.
The par four 5th is one of the toughest holes on the card. Played from an elevated tee, its fairway is flanked on either side by desert as it rises directly towards the Atlas Mountains. Tee shots played to the left will afford golfers a better view of the flag for an approach whilst a drive up the right side will leave more of a blind shot into the pin.
The tee for the par three 17th is located at the highest point on the course – offering panoramic views of all the holes on the back nine – and it’s the starting point for the signature hole at Assoufid. Tee shots must carry a natural dry stream (called a shaaba) that runs through the course before reaching a wide but shallow green protected by bunkers to the front and rear.
I returned here last week after six and a half years but unfortunately missed out on a return match against director of golf Guy Maxwell who was back in Scotland on holiday. Still, it was nice to relive the previous playing experience and refamiliarize myself with the layout.
I’d forgotten how much land movement there was across the property – nothing flat and boring here with the terrain – and I’d also forgotten how well the fairways are configured to bring natural sandy waste areas into play either off the tee or flanking the holes.
I enjoyed the front nine again but the action moves up a couple of gears on the inward half, thanks mainly to the clever routing of several holes alongside or across a dry stream bed (“oeud”), most noticeably at the downhill par four 10th and downhill par three 17th.
I was a little critical of the greens last time (terming then a “big disappointment” because of a lack of internal contouring) but I didn’t see that as an issue this time – perhaps I was clutching at straws to explain a poor putting performance against my opponent back then!
There’s no doubt Assoufid ranks among the best of the golfing layouts around the Red City and a golf trip to Marrakech would not be complete without playing here – I can’t state things any simpler than that.
I reviewed this course from playing in 2016 and have now worked out why I was confused at the time as to wether I loved it or not . It was because it has a rubbish first five holes followed by 13 world class holes.
From the sixth hole on this is a truly outstanding layout (apart from a ridiculous copse of trees left in the middle go the 14th fairway)
The first and second are flat and featureless , the third is actually a really good par 3 and the 4th and 5th are uphill featureless par 4's almost identical. If the first 5 holes were redesigned this course would be amongst the very very best, it is such a shame to see a great course spoiled by 4 really poor holes. There does seem to be a lot of room available within the boundaries of the course, so hopefully the powers that be will sort this out in time.
Having just spent a few days in Marakesh, i was lucky enough to play Al Maaden and Assoufid. This was in November 2019.
Assoufid is about 15 minutes south west of the airport, and has an unassuming entrance. Was given a nice welcome by the marshalls who took our bags and we went to the first tee around the corner of the nice looking club house. We had caddies who cost around £20 before tip. Round was about £60 which is great value.
The 1st hole is one of the tighter on the course with OOB on the left and trees to the right, and is actually one of the poorer holes on the course. Holes get more open (scrub land either side of fairways) and more hilly. Par 3s are good holes and the 9th and 17th probably the best. Both no more than 160 yards and both downhill. Best hole on the course i think is the 10th where a good drive avoiding the fairway bunker leaves a 160-170 yards approach over a dry river to the green well guarded by bunkers.
The greens were receptive and not too quick with subtle breaks. Fairways are still bedding in, and you can tell this is a relatively new course. But still perfectly playable.
Caddies were great and meant we could walk the course easily.
The marshalls obviously know how to start groups as we managed as a fourball to get around in 3.5 hours, which is great.
Assoufid was the best course we played on our trip by mutual agreement of our group ( as a group we played Samanah and Al Maaden also)
The club house at Assoufid is nice, with views over the course from the terrace, and guessing on a clearer day there will be nice views of the mountains.
We had a great lunch and a few beers after, and the golf manager from Scotland came and introduced himself to us and had a good chat about our day. I feel Assoufid is on the right path to making this the best course in the area and are doing everything properly. Well done, and will be back when i return in the coming years.
(gave excellent rating, but with a few more years maturity on the course, Outstanding rating is achievable).
To me definitely a world class venue. This spectacular course offers beautiful views overs the Atlas Mountains as well as 18 very interesting & various holes.
Before starting your round, the practice facilities are the perfect location for warm up. Driving range, chipping & putting green are all in perfect conditions.
After your round, enjoy an exquisite lunch on the terrace facing the Atlas and relax.
A great day of Golf at Assoufid.
Probably the best course in the area, far more contour than other courses and more trees to define fairways and make driving well a bit more critical than other local courses, particularly 15 which just gets tighter the further back you go. No water hazards, greens and fairways in great condition. Back 9 probably the stronger, tough second shot over a gulch into 10, great tee shot on par 5 11th. and 17 just a cracking short par 3. Would have awarded 6 balls but for the bunker sand which appeared to be little more than building sand, plenty of it in all bunkers into which balls plugged deeply most of the time a pity really because it spoilt a memorable day.
this is one of the best golf courses in Marrakech. i recommand you to try it.
Whilst in Morocco I really struggled getting any accurate information of the quality of the golf courses... but I have to say this goes down as one of those rare times when you are surprised but in a good way when you play a course. I try to keep my 6 balls to the very top courses and its only because this one caught me out a little that I am reluctant to give it 6 balls.
To me the true test of a great course is how memorable each hole is say a month after you have played it, and Assoufid didn't disappoint , I can honestly say fo the first time in a long time I remembered the majority of the holes in detail and the variety was excellent. I remember the first being ordinary dont let this throw you and also somewhere around 14th ?? a couple of quirky holes that were very narrow and felt a bit crowbarred into the corner of the course but other than that this really is a very very good course with lots of memorable holes.
I played Assoufid on hot late September morning. Unfortunately the hazy weather meant visibility was poor and I couldn't enjoy the views of the Atlas mountains. The course itself is carved out of rolling desert scrub with waste areas lining most fairways to catch wayward shots, it has its fair share of elevation change using the landscape well. On my visit the condition of the course was very disappointing, I understand summer is the time in Morocco when maintenance is performed and wouldn't expect perfect conditions so early in the season but it was very poor, fairways on the front nine only had a thin covering of grass, the rest being sand and worm casts. The greens were equally poor as well with too many dead patches making putting a lottery. In my opinion the course shouldn't have been open or offering at least a reduced green fee. That said it is an attractive layout with the chance to use most clubs in the bag, service is good with a great practice area and free balls. Overall a 3 ball course, just check the conditions before you play.
A fantastic golf course with stunning views of the Atlas Mountains in the background. A new course but you would not know as the course has used all the nature available to its great advantage.
Friendly welcome and a great practice area off the grass.
The changing rooms are from a 5 star hotel with everything you require.
Assoufid has a creek or dried river that runs through the golf course, a very deceptive water hazard, its there but not there as you do not see water. If you enter the hazard it is not permissible to retrieve your ball except on the 10th.
The Golf club itself is in pristine condition and is very looked after. The staff are very courteous/well trained who are aware of the players on the course and stop all machinery well before you are taking your shot which I found very special, I know it is common courtesy but it is nice to see that they adhere to this courtesy.
The 10th hole for me was fantastic, not only needs a good tee but also requires a good second shot. Tee is protected by that creek.
The 17th par 3, is just awesome. Played from an elevated tee and very well protected by that creek, it there but not there :-)) Needs thought with the club selection.
I could carry on as there is some enjoyment on every hole.
I played 3 courses while in Marrakech and I would make Assoufid a must visit every time I am in Marrakech.
A job well done Guy, congratulations.
The number of new courses that have emerged around the city of Marrakech in the last few years is nothing short of extraordinary. As I was arranging to come here last week, I received an email to notify me of another new layout that’s just opened at PalmGolf Ourika (which I’ll look at tomorrow) then, on arrival here yesterday, I was told of yet another course – designed by Tony Jacklin – that’s opening next year (which I had a quick look at earlier today). I now make that a dozen different golf facilities in and around the Red City, which some might think is verging on the side of overprovision.
Assoufid has been on my hit list for a while now, as some believe it to be one of the best new tracks to have opened in all of Africa in the last five years or so. Although it’s a little further south than most of the other Marrakech courses, I still expected it to be pretty flat – how wrong could I be , as the quite marked movement in the landscape really surprised me, with what appeared to be naturally rolling fairways in play throughout.
I was told the nines were reversed soon after the course opened and that was a smart move because holes 10 to 18 are stronger than 1 to 9. I’m not a fan of long par threes and there are two on the course (at holes 3 and 12) which are no fun if you have to take driver to reach a target over 220 yards from the tee.
Then again, balance that against a pair of back-to-back short par fours (at holes 6 and 7 then at 15 and 16) and that more than tips the playability scales back the right way.
The greens were a big disappointment, unfortunately. Apart from the wonderful Biarritz green on the 15th, there was next to no internal contouring on any of the other holes so, although the putting surfaces were immaculate and beautifully paced, I found them to be rather on the bland side.
The 10th sets the tone for the inward half as it sweeps right and down to a green sitting behind a wonderful dry ditch that runs alongside many of the back nine holes. The 13th and 14th run along the perimeter of the property and they’re two very different types of par five: the first sweeps beautifully down and left to the green whilst the second plays to a split fairway which tapers to the target, with out of bounds lurking menacingly to the right of the fairway. The short 17th, played from an elevated tee position across the dry creek, is probably the signature hole on the course and it precedes the right doglegged home hole, which veers right and uphill to a very smart clubhouse.
I mentioned earlier the possibility of there now being too many courses in the Marrakech area. If, in the fullness of time, that does turn out to be the case, I don’t see Assoufid suffering unduly as it appears to be a cut above many of the others.