Laid out on a very tight 75-acre site in a suburb of the Tunisian capital, the course at Golf de Carthage was originally established in 1927 and French architect Yves Bureau is credited with renovating the old layout in the early 1990s.
It’s an absolutely charming old track, hemmed in by housing on all sides, and fairways fan out from the clubhouse around the property, using every spare inch of available space to shoehorn in twelve short par fours and six par threes.
The par four holes measure between 247 and 363 yards with eight of them routed around the front nine and four set out on the back nine. Back-to-back short holes are squeezed in near the end of the round at holes 13, 14, 16 and 17.
Holes 2, 4 and 18 all play to elevated greens that sit behind a couple of ponds in front of the clubhouse and they’re probably the pick of the holes on the scorecard – though the three-tiered green on the 14th hole is perhaps the most interestingly contoured putting surface on the whole layout.
With the recent arrival of the RTJ2 course at Le Residence nearby, Carthage will probably shrink further into the Tunisian golfing shadows but with the right investment to bring the course up to scratch, it could easily be marketed as the national golfing treasure that it truly is.
This course is one for the connoisseur. From the moment you arrive at the wonderful old archway at street level outside the club, you know you are in for a real treat. Stairs take you up to a lived-in clubhouse from where you can look out over many of the holes on the layout.
I didn’t have time to play at Carthage, much to my disappointment, but an hour’s spin round the course in a buggy with the course superintendent was enough to let me see that this place is really something special.
Some of the tees and fairways may be a wee bit frayed around the edges but the greens were in absolutely fabulous condition, which, let’s face it, is all that really concerns 95% of golfers.
This government run facility has sadly suffered from underinvestment for years now so it can only be hoped that Tunisia’s new rulers will put in some extra money to reinvigorate the old-fashioned golfing charms of Golf de Carthage.