The three 9-hole loops at les Dunes occupy a large 250-acre site adjacent to the du Soleil golf complex, to the south of Agadir, and the courses first opened for play in the early 1990s. Designed by Cabell Robinson, each nine has its own character: the fairways of the Oued are very tight and undulating, the Tamaris brings water into play at several holes whilst the Eucalyptus is more open, with wider fairways.
The championship 18-hole configuration at les Dunes consists of the Oued and Tamaris combination, stretching to 6,243 metres from the back tees, though the Eucalyptus nine shouldn’t be easily dismissed as it possesses a fine set of holes, the best of which is probably the 587-metre 8th, doglegging right and up to a raised plateau green from an elevated tee position.
The Oued nine, also known as the Jaune (yellow) circuit, lies within the more heavily forested portion of the property so tall, mature trees flank the fairways. Indeed, the only hole with a little width is the closing par five 9th hole, which is routed around a large irrigation pond. The par five 4th is the pick of the holes on this loop, veering left and up to a raised green from another elevated tee placement.The Tamaris nine, also called the Rouge (red) nine, possesses an imaginative collection of putting surfaces, highlighted by the wonderful Biarritz green on the par four 7th hole, though the long, narrow three-tiered green on the par three 2nd comes a close second for ingenuity. Water also comes into play at the 4th, 5th and 8th, where small ponds protect the greens at each of these holes.
We were back again in Feb 2018 and enjoyed the courses, most notably the 14th par 3 160 meters over water into a sausage green >>which looked a bit like the challenge of hole #12 at Augusta, better to play from yellow at 115 mtrs to get the same shot. Some par fives were somewhat blind. pd
The Eucalyptus nine at les Dunes is a decent track – with several really interesting greens such as the small left-to-right sloped 3rd and the back-to-front tilted 7th – but it’s the Oued and Tamaris nines that form the best 18-hole combination at les Dunes. The Oued is laid out in dense woodland, where the landscape is pleasantly undulating, and the narrow fairways pitch and roll back and forth in a very agreeable manner.
Fairway and greenside bunkering is particularly striking and I cannot pay those sand traps a higher compliment than comparing them favourably to the ones I saw on the nearby Palais du Royal course when I was there four years ago.
Elevated tee positions and raised greens abound in a secluded setting where the next hole is revealed only on arrival at the next tee box. The one slightly disappointing aspect was the relative flatness of the greens, with only the long, thin front-to-back sloping putting surface at the 8th offering any real excitement.
By way of a complete contrast, the greens on the Tamaris nine were so heavily contoured, you could be forgiven for thinking the two nines were not designed by the same architect. I loved the putting surfaces on the 2nd, 7th and 8th, but thought the double green at the 3rd and 6th was a step too far, with the bowl-shaped putting surface on the 6th verging on the absurd.
There’s one water-laden hole on the Oued nine (at the par five 9th) with three such holes on the Tamaris nine so the aquatic card is certainly not overplayed during an 18-hole round on these two circuits.
Having been to all five of the publicly accessible golf facilities in the Agadir area now, I think les Dunes is second only to the new big budget Kyle Phillips layout at Tazagzout so it’s well worth a visit if you’re here on holiday and looking for a place to play. There’s over a hundred caddies on the books here so that’s a good indication of just how busy this popular golf resort can get.
One small tip for casual visitors: get here nice and early for a tee time before the shuttle bus arrives with the first wave of visiting golfers from the local hotels as things can get a little lively around the caddie shack.