I had played the Jack Nicklaus Design Samanah Golf Course southwest of the city back in 2012, and then found it to be the best course in Marrakech by far, so I was very curious how it would hold up now that I had sampled new courses like Assoufid, Montgomerie, and Palm Golf Ourika.
I’m happy to say that it did hold up quite well.
Samanah is a golfers golf course. By that, I mean that it doesn’t try to wow you with beautiful but artificially created holes of dubious playability. Instead, it more or less follows the lay of the land (ok, some dirt was moved) and provides you with some serious golfing challenges. It is definitely a course that caters more to the lower handicap group, although it is quite playable by players of all levels.
The course starts out with a few not very remarkable holes where you play over large waste areas, but it soon gets better. Hole 3 is the first “short” hole, at 186 meters from the club tees. This is typical of Jack Nicklaus’s design, with very long par threes. This happens again on hole 14, 168 meters from the club tees. Personally, I don’t like these long par threes, but they are indeed a good test for better golfers.
On hole six you encounter the first and only water on the front nine. A sizeable pond guards the green in a beautiful way. In general, there is not much water on the course, a good thing for a desert layout.
After nine you are back at the clubhouse. The back nine are similar to the front, with many good but not remarkable holes. The finishing four holes are great, though.
The par four 15th is one of the most challenging holes. Unless you have a very long tee shot, you will face a long approach shot to a green guarded by a natural ravine. A layup will be the smart play for the bogey golfer.
The 16th, a long par 5, is one of the most beautiful holes, and also where you encounter water for the first time on the back nine. Your approach is along the water to an elevated, well-bunkered green. The 17th, a par 3, forces you to play over the same water to reach the flag, but you can stay safe and aim for the left portion of the green.
At the finishing hole you again encounter water, a small lake that is the largest body of water on the course. A long par 4 with the lake in play all the way to the left of both the fairway and the green. For your long approach, you have water to the left of an elevated green well protected by bunkers. A setup that is sure to decide the outcome of many tournaments.
The course is located a bit further away from the city than most, about 30 minutes southwest of Marrakech, but is well worth the extra effort. I highly recommend you take on the challenge of Samanah.