The emergence of Somabay as a top end tourist destination on Egypt’s Red Sea coast has been due in no small part to Abu Soma Development Company’s desire to provide visitors with first class sporting amenities like this Gary Player golf complex – it's hard to believe the course was previously a military base that had to be cleared of land mines before construction could begin.
The 18-hole Cascades at Somabay was far ahead of its time when it opened in 1998, in fact it was the first championship golf course in North Africa or the Middle East to be designed by any of the modern day “Great Triumvirate” of Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer.
Kikuyu fairways are routed in an extended figure of eight with each loop of nine holes returning to a clubhouse in the middle of a peninsula that juts out three miles from the shore into the sea. Two of the more inland holes stand out here, one on each nine.
The first is the 614-yard 2nd hole, a monster to tackle so early in the round and it takes its name (“Lions in waiting”) from the pair of lion-shaped sphinxes that loom over the entrance to the hotel behind the green. On the back nine, the other hole of note is “Dilemma, dilemma” at the par four 12th, which can be played in one of two ways due to its split fairway, hence its name.But there’s no doubt the best holes on the property are those by the seaside at 5 and 6 on the outward half and 14 and 15 on the inward circuit. The short 5th, entitled “The Pebbles of Soma", features a continuous narrow bunker on three sides of the green whilst the 186-yard 14th (“Second signature”) demands a tee shot played across a gully to a wide but shallow green protected by three intimidating bunkers.
Sorry, but this review does not tally with my experience in October 2017. I played 3 rounds in a week at that time and enjoyed the course very much. Certainly I had no issues about the condition of the greens or fairways, both of which were in very nice condition. This is a very tough golf course, especially in the strong winds which prevail at most times of the tourism season. But I have played golf all round the world, including approximately 35 of the World Top 100 on this website, and so I believe I am qualified to state that this is a very nice golf course indeed. Perhaps the previous reviewer caught the course at a bad time in the maintenance cycle. But when I was there, the course was getting plenty of attention and it looked and played very well.