Golf is one of the top sports in the tropical country of Mauritius, and the island boasts of exceptional courses set in paradisiacal scapes, attracting golfers globally (a UK survey claims it is the second most popular destination in the world for this sport).
History has it that Mauritius was the third country in the world that was introduced to golf, after the United Kingdom and India. Members of the British Royal Navy opened the first Golf club (the Gymkhana Golf Club) in 1902, and that makes the Mauritius Gymkhana Golf club the oldest golf club in the southern hemisphere, and the fourth oldest golf course in the world.
From 9-hole courses to world-class championship golf courses with 18 holes, an astonishingly high number of golf courses dot the island. Some of these courses have been designed by leading golfers from across the world, such as Ernie Els, Bernard Langer, and David Leadbetter, that test the accuracy of golfers. Here are a few.
Heritage Golf Club (Bel Ombre)
An award-winning 18-hole golf course, designed by South African golf architect, Peter Matkovich, the Heritage Golf Club in south Mauritius covers an area of 100 hectares. Home to the AfrAsia Cup, which will be held in November 2017, the golf course is attached to the Heritage Le Telfair Golf and Wellness Resort.
With a volcanic mountain for a backdrop and breathtaking views of the sea, the landscape is interspersed with lakes, streams, and tropical trees. The championship course (par 72) is technically challenging and varied.
Four Seasons Golf Club
Designed by South African golfer Ernie Els, the Four Seasons Golf Club in Anahita is a 7,372-yard, 18-hole, par 72 championship course with large fairways and five sets of tees. Six stunning ocean-front holes culminate in a final shot that is among the most spectacular in the world. It is also home to the AfrAsia Cup.
Set against lush mountains and fringed by the vast crystal-clear lagoon in eastern Mauritius, this course has been built to USGA standards. It also features some tough deep bunkers, numerous natural water hazards and six ocean-side holes, and fortunately five sets of tees.
Paradis Golf Club
This 18-hole, par 72 golf course stretches along 5,924 m between the iconic Le Morne mountain and the aqua-hued lagoon of the Le Morne Brabant peninsula, in southern Mauritius. It’s said to be the most beautiful golf course in Mauritius. The first luxury golf resort to come up in the 1990s, much of the creative design of the bunkers and fairways at the course is attributed to golf legend Tony Johnstone, who spent several years playing the course through its many evolutionary stages.
île aux Cerfs Golf Club
This one was named 10th best golf course in the world by both Golf World magazine (UK) and Middle East Golf Magazine, as well as 19th by Golf Journal (Germany), recently.
Designed by Bernhard Langer, this 18-hole, par 72 championship course with four different sets of tees, is spread over 6,452 m (7,056 yards) in east Mauritius. Fringed by white sands and surrounded by the azure Indian Ocean, it features breathtaking views from all 18 holes.
Avalon Golf Course
Designed by Peter Matkovic, this 18-hole, par 72 championship course spans 6200 m in idyllic surroundings in the heart of a natural reserve, within undiscovered and authentic south Mauritius. Set on the central plateau, it is an inland golf course that is accessible to all and offers a vista of the southern coastline of Mauritius. The fairways are large, fun, and easy to play.
Tamarina Golf Club
Situated on a beautiful estate of 206 hectares in west Mauritius, this 18-hole championship course spans 6,886 m (7,436 yards) and is a par 72 course, designed by Wright Golf Design (owned by renowned architect, Rodney Wright).
This 18-hole Championship course undulates over rugged savannah land framed with beautiful trees and crossed by the Rempart River. The holes have been specially designed to give spectacular views of the impressive Mount Rempart and the towering mountain range. Some holes also offer great views over the crisp crystal clear blue lagoon of the Tamarin Bay.
Legend Golf Course
Home to the Johnnie Walker Classic, the Mauritius Open and the European Senior Tour, this golf course is designed by South African champion, Hugh Baiocchi and spread over 6,018 m (6,582 yards) in east Mauritius. Each of its 18 holes (par 72) have distinctive characteristics, and the course boasts of superb fairways that are laid in the heart of an indigenous forest, culminating on velvet greens. The course has been made to conform to US PGA regulations.
Gymkhana Golf Course
Finally, the oldest golf club to have opened in the country. While the course may not feature all the complexities of modern golf courses, it is perfectly maintained. This 18-hole, par 68 and 4,870 m long golf course in central Mauritius, designed by the British Royal Navy, offers a good mix of hazards and low rates.