Tazegzout Golf

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

We’re late and it’s my fault.

It’s pushing 2:15 and our taxi was booked for 1. Why should the driver care? He doesn’t give a shit about MANORS, or our campaign shoot, or our 4 o clock tee time on the beach 3 hours from here. The selfish bastard’s left us in the heat to die and he doesn’t even - oh here he comes.

Rumbling through the desert bouncing over potholes in a puff of diesel comes an ancient relic. In Britain, this stallion would be categorised as a classic car, but in Morocco it’s a “Grand Taxi”. Deemed too old for European markets, Mercedes like this one were shipped from Europe by their thousands in the 70’s and became part of the fabric of Moroccan society. With no established train system, travellers piled their worldly possessions into the cars enormous boot and took off across the North African Kingdom. The MANORS crew were about to do the same.

I coil back, ready to unleash a tirade of criticism on our tardy driver , but a man in a baker boy cap and a shooting jacket steps out from the Merc,older and cooler than the car he’s driving. He flashes a gold plated smile. Screw it, this man is a legend.

James, Ayoub, Josh and Adem, our travelling band of elite golfers pile into the cab and we hit the road hard. 3 police bribes, a roadside breakdown and a few hours driving through the Atlas mountains later, we roll into TaghazoutTazegzout late for our tee time. The cast are pulling on their socks and shoes as they hop through the clubhouse past the general manager. Smoke hisses from Mr Chavi’s ears. I politely bat him away and make for the first tee. A panoramic view of the Moroccan Ocean washes my worries away.

10 years ago Taghazout Bay was a sleepy village on the outskirts of Agadir, Now the town abounds with young, long haired surfers arriving on budget airlines from Germany and the UK. They sleep in the back of vans or in $20 hostels and take to the waves every morning. Mr Chavi thinks we belong on the beach with the great unwashed surfers, but this group of unwashed has a different bug.

Alone on the coast, 3 hours from the next best course, Taghazout is anything but a destination golf course. The fairways aren’t perfect and the greens have more than a little wobble. Most of the people playing are from the Hilton down the road; they drive carts and breathe deeply between shots. And yet, Taghazout is the definition of a hidden gem.

A special mention must go to the par 3 17th where the green protrudes from the cliff towards the ocean like a diving board. A wayward tee shot will put you another ball down. The Par 5 18th back to the clubhouse is a long, beautifully bunkered, meandering fairway that borders the ocean and ends on another infinity green. These are the star holes but the course sparkles throughout.

The turf plays like a true Scottish links with fairways that are hard and rounded like a tortoise shell. They are incredibly tough to hold, making par incredibly tough to make. Wayward drives aren’t stopped by whispy fescue, they’re stopped by rocks, and cacti, and dried out branches. Sometimes they aren’t stopped at all and the ball rolls ever further from safety.

As James, Josh, Ayoub and Adem make their way around the front 9 of this strange remote track on the Northern Coast of Africa the rest of our crew plot a way past the turn without another confrontation with Mr. Chavi. It should be easy. The African sun is setting quickly.