Words by: Alex Ames
Photography by:Douglas Guillot & Ollie Allison

We’re on the first tee in the dark, waiting for the light like a starting gun. Bang.

The Moroccan sunrise is biblical. Literally, Muslim prayer booms over Marrakech coaxing the light out from behind the Atlas Mountains. I look left and right to the devout members of our crew. Perhaps they’re gathering their thoughts, making a covenant with god. I pray that the course we’ve chosen today for the MANORS Spring Summer campaign is as beautiful as the website makes it out to be. My prayers are answered.

Golden light explodes over Assoufid Golf Club to reveal an oasis of palm trees the likes of which only appears in films when the main character is delirious from thirst. We’re about to play golf through a mirage.

On the tee box is; Ayoub Id Omar, one of the foremost golfers in Morocco who plays on the Pro Golf Tour; Adem Wahbi, a fellow Moroccan and professional disabled player who competes on the European circuit; MANORS creative strategist and ex-professional golfer James Wilson; and Josh Park, celebrity golf coach.

Normally, our campaign shoots feature a couple of biscuits; they love golf and look great in the clothes, but they’re happy if they break 90. Not in this four ball. We’ve unintentionally assembled the best group of golfers ever on a MANORS shoot. As the competitive juices begin to flow the importance of our campaign evaporates with the morning dew. Perfect.

Ayoub’s the pro, James wants to show he’s still got it, Josh teaches guys like Ayoub, and Adem represents disabled golfers every time he steps on a tee box. We’ve got Morocco vs The Rest of The World in an epic 9 hole matchplay through the desert.

James and Josh are smiles and handshakes whilst Adem and Ayoub talk a little trash. This offends James’ traditional Scottish sensibilities and he’s eager to let his golf do the talking. But as the sun rises ever higher him and Josh go one down to the Moroccans and their smiles turn to ash.

The game twists and turns and immaculate fairways pull the four golfers and our crew deeper into thick jungle. Assoufid swallows us like great courses do. We lose our bearings only to appear on a tee box staring at a mountain so big the fairway appears telescopic. We’re in Marrakech; the only place you can play golf through a jungle, surrounded by desert, in the shadow of a snow-capped mountain.

As the match enters its closing stretch the two J’s are depleted. 2 down heading onto the tee box at the short par 4 16th, little hope remains. Drivers towards the vicinity of the green turn this match into a short game contest to which no one affronts. Josh is the first to duff his chip onto the apron of the green. Determined for redemption but in a hollow act of surrender, he rushes to his next shot with the same club. An aloof back and through motion sees the ball track from right to left, and drop in the hole. Game on.

The par 3 17th is the signature hole at Assoufid. 160 yards down the hill, over the dried out river, to a green protected by bunkers. The type of hole you could hit to forever and not get bored.

4 balls pepper the pin but Ayoub’s spins well back onto the fringe. As if born on the windy links of Fife, he reaches for his putter and drains it from 40 feet. Fist pumps erupt, Adem demands to be paid, but James has other ideas: casually rolling it in from 15 feet takes the match to the final hole. Pars all round and the battle in the desert falls in favour of the locals, but its time to head to the windswept Western coastline. The Scotsman licks his lips.