The Moroccan port city of Mohammedia was, until 1959, known as Fedala but its name was changed that year in honour of King Mohammed V. Constructed by the French in 1913, it’s a popular holiday and leisure destination for residents of crowded Casablanca seeking a little time out in its relaxed, friendly atmosphere.
The 18-hole golf course at Royal Golf Anfa Mohammedia may have been laid out as far back as the 1920s (other sources have cited 1930) but details of its origin are vague, with no architect attributed to its design. What is certain, however, is that Hugues Lambert later remodeled the layout and up until the Royal Dar Es Salam courses were built in 1971, it was the premier 18-hole layout in Morocco.
Located next to the Atlantic, holes run through avenues of pine and eucalyptus trees, progressing onto more links-like terrain along the shoreline where the landscape is reminiscent of an old-fashioned Scottish seaside course with small dunes and tumbling fairways. “Heavily bulbous because of its proximity to the sea” is the quaint way the course has been described by local commentators.
The surroundings of this course are not the most stunning ones but it is definitely an enjoyable round for any level.
There are a couple of not good looking buildings under construction not too far away from the course and therefore, it is seeing from many different holes.
The hole that needs to be highlighted is the 10th hole. Not too long par 4, since it is only 390 meters long, but it has a dogleg right protected by front hazard and bunkers on the back sort of making an island out of it. The first shot off the back tees needs to carry 170 meters in order to make it to the fairway. The hazard goes all around the right side and the left side is protected by a line of fine bunkers. It is also possible to stay in the left side of the fairway or even lay it up in order to stay dry.
The greens are in great condition and roll decently. There is a lack of unfixed pitch marks, which is positive. It is mandatory to play with a caddy and the minimum tip acceptable to give them for a round of 18 holes is at least 12 euros (120 dimes). Most of the caddies are professionals and locals so they are quite helpful. Nevertheless, do not forget that the main language is Moroccan or French. Therefore, English speakers do not have it too easy to communicate.
The club house is small but cute. It has a classic style composed of wood and white walls.
Another hole to highlight is the 9th hole. A par 5 from which not much is expected off the tee, but not further than 120 meters from the front side of the green, starts a water hazard that is hard to see from the second shot since it is quite flat. Hence, laying on the second shot up securing the left side is a good idea.
Hole 12 is another interesting par 5. The green of this dogleg left will really surprise any player who has not seen it before due to the three big breaks it is composed of. The green lays on the top of a big uphill, and the hole is really close to the ocean. Therefore, clubbing up up to two clubs when into the wind is a smart idea.
The course overall is well maintained (December 2017), and the service is quite polite. It is a 100 year old course, the second oldest of Morocco and it is quite charming. A good stop by the market on the way back to the hotel is a fun idea in order to merge with the locals and get to taste some of their local food.
Having spent the day earlier looking around brand new courses in the Casablanca area that are all heavily blighted with residential units, it was totally refreshing to reach the coast and find golf the way it should be, with no outside interference from the outside world - well, apart from the big petrochemical plant skirting the property that you can occasionally see through the trees!
There’s a wonderful vibe just walking through the arched entrance to the clubhouse area and you know right away you’re in a real welcoming place for golfers, with no hint of corporate or real estate undertones to detract from the playing experience. Tree-lined holes give a real feel of seclusion, with the next fairway only revealed upon arrival at the tee. It’s more links-like than parkland in nature - even with trees on both sides of every fairway and a pond in front of the 9th and 18th greens! - and I’m sure that feeling will be endorsed when the coastal winds get up. It’s not exactly flat either, with beautiful little changes in elevation on fairways, at elevated teeboxes and at raised greens.
Apart from the 1st, I can’t remember any of the non-par three holes being anything other than doglegged to some degree, which also adds interest to the round. There’s a bit of a hotch-potch of bunkers: some of the really basic fairway bunkers don’t look great but many of the deep greenside traps cut into the green surrounds are of a very high standard, as witnessed at the fabulous short par four 6th. There was plenty of internal contour on the greens, none more so than on the par five 16th, where the putting surface carries a pronounced right to left tilt. If you like your golf old-fashioned and a little bit off the tourist trail, you’ll love Royal Mohammedia where you’ll enjoy proper golf for real golfers. Jim McCann.