First established as a 27-hole facility in the late 1990s, an additional nine holes were added to the Blue nine in 2006 to fashion a new 18-hole Tikida course, with the original red and yellow nines rebranded as the Championship layout. The 27-hole les Dunes facility lies next door, sharing a common boundary at the 4th and 5th holes on the Tikida.
Both golf complexes are situated a few miles south of Agadir and du Soleil is operated by the Tikida hotel group, so golfers residing in the on-site Tikida Golf Palace hotel don’t have far to go to tee it up on either course whilst those staying in other downtown Tikida hotels have the use of a dedicated shuttle bus service to and from the clubhouse.
The shorter Tikida course offers a slightly easier test than the Championship though some might feel it’s little unbalanced because four of the five par five holes on the scorecard are played on the front nine though it does conclude – just like its sibling – with a terrific short par three tee played across the small pond that fronts the clubhouse.
The Championship course measures 5,976 metres from the back markers and it’s a beautifully bunkered layout with distinctive banked sand traps and a smattering of water-laden holes. The par five 3rd is a real feature hole, dog legging left to a two-tiered green that also tilts from right to left.Du Soleil can boast of a recent international championship pedigree as the 17th edition of the Lalla Meryem Cup on the Ladies European Tour was held here in 2011. On that occasion, Slovakia’s Zuzana Kamasova became the first person from that country to win an event on the women’s European professional circuit.
The Championship course is laid out on a rather flat landscape with just the occasional change in elevation so intelligent use of raised greens and large, eye-catching greenside bunker complexes add visual stimulation to the layout. There’s also a good mix of trees found around the course, with additional palms positioned around many of the putting surfaces for obvious aesthetic effect.
On the front nine, I particularly liked the sharply doglegged par four 5th, where a cunning swale in front of the green adds to its appeal, and the 344-metre 9th, which has a threatening water hazard to the left of the tee shot landing area.
On the back nine, the severe cant of the back-to-front sloping green on the 12th hole contributes to the stroke index 4 rating for this hole and the round concludes with a lovely short par three at the 18th, played across the pond in front of the clubhouse to the home green.
It may have held a Ladies European tour event in recent years but the Championship course is more of a pleasant resort layout than a tough tournament track, allowing golfers of all abilities to enjoy, rather than endure their round here.
As with my visit to les Dunes next door, the course was very busy – presumably because of the excellent transportation service that conveys golfers to and from the handful of hotels attached to the course – but if you only have time for just one round of golf at du Soleil, make sure you play this course rather than the Tikida, which was a little too quirky for me, especially at the uphill holes in the dunes at the 4th and 5th and the water-laden holes round the hotel at the 7th and 8th.