The 40th anniversary edition of the Trophée Hasssan II, a tournament established by the late King of Morocco in 1971, could not be staged in a more fitting venue than the magnificent Golf du Palais Royal.
Set inside the Royal Palace walls in Agadir, the Golf du Palais truly is a hidden gem.
The great golf course architect Robert Trent Jones Snr was commissioned by the King to build the course in the late 1980s, producing one of his finest works on a beautiful site within the Palace grounds that border the Atlantic Ocean.
Measuring just under 7,000 yards, the par 72 layout is by no means long but Trent Jones used a devilish combination of undulation and small greens protected by severe run-off areas to punish any erroneous approaches.
Add to that an almost guaranteed breeze from the Atlantic Ocean, and you have a test of golf fit for the very best in the business.
The European Tour players in attendance at this week’s €1.5 million event are certainly in no doubt as to the honour attached in being able to play inside the Palace grounds.
“This golf course is just awesome,” said Marcel Siem. “It is in such good condition, and it is a very special place to play. Once you get inside the palace grounds, everything is pretty perfect. There are times when you think you shouldn’t be playing golf on the course because you don’t want to take a divot!
“Playing in the palace grounds is very special, it’s just one of a kind so it’s very cool to be able to come here and play. It’s unique, and they do such a good job in getting it ready for us and allowing us to play here.”
Siem’s opinion is echoed by almost every player you speak to in Agadir, among them England’s David Howell.
“The golf course is simply fantastic,” said Howell. “It is a really beautiful design, and I think it would be fair to say that we should feel privileged to be able to play here. It is a real treat to be in the surroundings of the palace, and we are just very lucky to be allowed to play here.
“The feature of the course is in the run-offs around the greens. You have to be very precise with the approach shots – that is the key because if you get in the wrong position, you’re in real trouble.
“It’s just a great week, and it is all very easy for the players. We are well looked after, we are in a great hotel by the beach and it all just adds up to a very pleasant week for the players.
“Morocco is a real hidden gem for golf. There are so many great courses around this area, and the weather is great so you can’t have too many complaints to be honest.”