Reputed to have cost around $11.5 million to construct, the course at Ile aux Cerfs (formerly known as Le Touessrok) is a prestigious IMG layout that bears the Bernhard Langer architectural stamp of approval. Debuting in 2003, it winds its way around the Ile aux Cerfs – a small island which lies just off Trou d’Eau Douce in Mauritius’s largest lagoon – with eighteen holes set out in an old sugar plantation.
According to Bernhard Langer, "What I have aspired to create with Le Touessrok golf course is a golfing experience that truly arouses all the senses. From the amazing natural setting to the challenges presented by the course I want it to be a game to remember for all who play."
The setting is absolutely idyllic – fantastic white sandy beaches flank fairways around the periphery of the property – but Ile aux Cerfs has gained the reputation of presenting far more than a pleasant, resort-style challenge; a view that has recently been endorsed by new French Golf Federation slope ratings for the course.
The natural topography is brought into play at every opportunity with a wonderful routing that takes golfers on an exotic tropical trip through lush mangrove forests, past shimmering tidal pools and over craggy volcanic lava outcrops, skirting the spectacular sandy shoreline on several occasions along the way.
Each of the four short holes on the course is visually stunning, but the best of these is possibly the 125-yard 8th, where its pulpit green sits high above the fairway, surrounded by trees. The 337-yard 14th is another feature hole on the inward nine and this tempting short par four plays to a long, narrow green at the end of a short uphill approach.
Ile aux Cerfs is a quite magical island, just off the coast of Mauritius, that is little larger than 1 square kilometre (100 hectares) and was formerly a sugar plantation.Today it has undergone an incredible conversion into an amazing golf course, the design carried out by Bernard Langer. The course sits in the middle of some world-class sandy beaches.
The golf course is constructed over swamps, around volcanic rocks and between lines of jungle and yet the quality of the layout in this tight area is exceptional. Sure enough there are some narrow fairways but the greens are good and if you are striking the ball well, there shouldn’t be too many lost balls. From time to time you play along the coastline and here the scenery is quite breathtaking.
The golf course challenges from the start with a drive over water to a raised fairway before a tight uphill approach to a putting surface with a large bunker on the right. 2 is a gentle dogleg again to a raised green while 3 is a short hole with water on three sides. Dramatic challenges continue, I particularly like the 3 hole stretch that starts the back nine. 10 requires a precise short iron approach to a very narrow green, 11 is a sweeping par five right to left dogleg and uphill approach and 12 a left to right downhill dogleg to a large green with a magnificent ocean backdrop. 17 and 18 both demand that you still have plenty of strength left as the drives over mangrove swamps need to be long and straight.
Of course you can vary the toughness of the course by your tee selection, but I suggest that the black tees giving a course length of over 7000 yards is only for the professional player. From the white and particularly yellow tee boxes, the undaunted golfer can record a number of par scores, and just as importantly have a lot of fun.
The golf course is so beautiful and natural that it looks as if it has been on the island for ever. You frequently have to pinch yourself to believe that you are playing this wonderful game in what seems like paradise. The long trip to this remote spot in far-away Mauritius is a must for the avid and itinerant golfer, you will be pleased you came!
Unique experience - certainly worth a visit - although we found the course to be overly penal throughout with long carries to find narrow fairways, missed fairways almost always resulting in lost balls (there is rarely any rough, just jungle), and very small green complexes.
The boat ride to the island is incredible and there are some truly wonderful holes on the course - most notable for me, the stretch through 11-12, and the par 4 16th where the tee box is perched above the mangroves. The staff were lovely, the range set-up is excellent, and the club sandwich is on point.
But holiday golf should not be this hard!
Not often you have to catch a boat to play a golf course, the setting could not be any better. Good layout with the need to play strategically from the tee. An unusual 18th provides a choice of green for your final approach shot, either to a dog leg flat green or over a 60 yard ravine. Great experience, which I would recommend
World Class. Words can not describe how amazing this course is. Not just the 18 holes, which is an experience, but from the boat that takes you there, to the staff that run the pro shop, to the spectacular lunch on the beach. This is by far one of the TOP 10 courses in the world in terms of experience. This is a golfers vacation paradise.
This place is world class and like nothing you have experienced. The course is superb with such a well designed layout keeping you interested and engaged the whole way. I love this place!
Very strange golf course. A beautiful place, but the golf course is definitely not the best in Mauritius. Stock up on balls and do not expect a good result. It’s just for fun. The staff is friendly and acknowledges that their golf course is very strange.
Well, i don't think i'll ever play a round of golf in a more tropical location than this. Condition was amazing, but some of the layouts was not working too well. Even though it deserve a high rating, because it's so special! Just the fact that you have a small 5-10 min boat ride just to get there is amazing. The club, island and the course is something special and if you're ever on Mauritius to play golf, this one has to be first priority, no doubt! You will experience something unique and it's just a magical place!
really interesting place to paly golf with the Ocean in the background, and all in a serene setting that just wants to make you play it all over again.
The routing of the course is very good given the limited land, but if you are not hitting the ball straight , take plenty golf balls, holes 9 and 11 were my personal favourites
I had the pleasure of playing Ile aux Cerfs twice whilst on honeymoon (this was negotiated well in advance of our wedding day and I was out early!). Firstly the journey out to the course has to be relatively unique, a serene ten minute boat-ride through the mangroves deposited me at the jetty. Met by a man in a buggy, I was then whisked up to the clubhouse where club hire (from memory Callaways XRs or something similar) and accoutrements were quickly sorted out. The staff were very friendly (as everyone on Mauritius seems to be) and did their best to accommodate my requests.
The Pro-shop no longer has stroke-savers, instead you have to take a buggy as all are fitted with GPS touch-screens. There are a handful of blind or semi-blind tee-shots and otherwise there is almost always some sort of carry, so in the absence of a course guide, the buggy is a must. In the end I didn’t regret it as the round was seriously warm work and the hire cost was not extortionate.
Warm up facilities were adequate, clearly space is at a premium, but there’s enough room to launch a few balls and miss a few putts.
With clubs, buggy, complimentary water, a few free balls (included with the green fee) and a couple of balls I brought with me (having read other reviews on this site) I was quickly called forward at the first tee to pair up with another single. 5 iron in hand I pulled the first left, pushed the second right and drove on to drop one on the fairway. Neither tee-shots were seen again and they weren’t terrible! So, yes, the course is quite tight in places. Generally there’s a little/no first-cut and then just ‘jungle’, volcanic rock and oblivion.
I’m a 12 h/cap and a member of a club where my h/cap travels well. I played off the whites (one below the black championship tees) and at no point were the carries more than c. 170 yards, but with the course being so tight I never hit more than a 4 iron over the two rounds I played. I think 28 points was my best return and with borrowed clubs etc. I wasn’t too disappointed with that.
If you have looked at the photographs you can see Ile aux Cerfs is stunning, it’s hard not to play the whole round with a smile on your face, no matter your score. Particular holes that stood out are those run alongside the beach (6, 11, and 12) but there are plenty that will last long in the memory. The greens were not particularly fast, but they were true and you got value for your putts. Overall the course condition was excellent.
Thanks to 0800 tee times the pace of play was good for both rounds (understandably the afternoon is apparently quite slow as the course gets busy). I think we took roughly 3.5 hours per round (with a fair amount of looking for balls). As a result my fledgling marriage survived, in fact the course was so beautiful I managed to persuade my wife to chauffeur me around the back 9 for my second round, which she even admitted to enjoying.
In keeping with the surrounding resorts, the clubhouse is well appointed with good showers etc and an air of luxury. The food was good and there is a lovely view to enjoy as you sip a post-game drink and count up how many balls you lost. I can’t wait to go back to play this stunning course again, but I’ll take my own clubs next time!