Hammamet is located on the southeastern side of the Cap Bon peninsula and it’s the oldest of Tunisia’s modern, purpose built tourist destinations. Golfers who visit the resort have a trio of 18-hole courses at their disposal, all of them designed by American architect Ron Fream.
The course at Yasmine is a fine layout offering unrestricted views of the sea and surrounding countryside while the two courses on the 430-acre Citrus site – Les Oliviers and La Forêt – are championship tracks that provide both stimulation and challenge for the many golfers who play here.
La Forêt is the tougher of the two 18-hole courses at Citrus, a strategic and demanding layout with many of its fairways doglegging through pine groves over hilly terrain. Les Oliviers on the other hand is a more forgiving course with generous fairways that allow golfers to let loose with the driver on most of the holes.
Both nines end with testing holes. The par four 9th doglegs to the right with three bunkers at the bend in the fairway and out of bounds to the left. Normally played against the wind, the par five 18th features out of bounds on either side of a fairway that leads to a kidney-shaped home green.
The Citrus facility, which also boats a 9-hole compact course for beginners, is owned by several local hotels that offer preferential green fee rates to residents.
I didn’t get the chance to actually play Les Oliviers due to time constraints but what I saw on a buggy tour was sufficient to let me know that this course – like its sibling next door – has been constructed to a very high standard.
The slope rating of 125 indicates it’s a lot easier to play than La Forêt (though it measures slightly longer from the back tees) and fairways certainly appear to be wider than next door but that doesn’t tell the full story.
Standing on the back tee of the 181-yard 11th at Les Oliviers, looking across the tree-lined valley to a distant plateau green, you can see that this hole would not be out of place on any of the top championship tracks in the country.
And there are plenty of others like this one; including the difficult, par four, uphill 10th and the downhill 16th, where the green is flanked on three sides by palm trees.
Conditioning throughout was surprisingly good and a noticeable feature of the greens was their closely cropped fronts, allowing golfers the option of playing a low running shot if desired.
This is a must-play course as part of a 36-hole day of golf at Citrus.