New Zealand Golf Club – former preserve of lords, viscounts and oh apparently Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (so I am reliably told by my male golfing friends who tell me the names of previous members are still up in the locker room!) – is a beautiful, slightly quirky, but traditional golf course.
The old club house still seems at first a bit like an ‘old boys club’, with the ladies changing area bolted on round the back: a genuine after thought, as I suspect there was never any intention that ladies would play when this was first built
However it is warm and friendly, and for me I felt not one hint of ladies not being welcomed here. In fact the opposite. Smiling members and groundsmen stopped to chat and one member seemed really pleased and proud when he asked if I had enjoyed the round and I told him I had loved it.
And I did! From the first hole, off the reds where I made a splendid par (drive, rescue, chip and putt) to then find out later it was actually a par 5 for the ladies. Ting! Bonus ! Birdie on the first hole was a good start and I would say pretty achievable for those who can avoid the heather.
The reds are really not that much further than the yellows, so the two par 4 fours (Holes 1 and 2) that are par 5’s for us ladies are gifts really. But the other par 4s are long – and only the biggest hitters likely to make most of the greens in regulation. As long as they avoid the heather.
The heather is beautiful. The heather is lethal! Take the punishment has never been truer.
There is only one par 5 on the course for the men and the distance is similar off the reds – the 14th. It’s not much less than 476m so can be a par opportunity (if you don’t get in the heather like I did). One of my female team members eagled this, so if you are a big hitter like she is go for it!
There are two very long par 3’s – 7th and 16th – so some ladies may find it could be 2 to get on the green.
To summarise, this course is not long overall, but is very demanding in terms of accuracy. The fairways are not wide and lined with heather, and the carry on most of the holes means the heather is in play if you duff or don’t do your best drive!
However it is absolutely beautiful. All the holes are different and memorable. A sign of a great course. And when you play on a glorious autumn day like we did it is golf at its best!
I’m not saying it is the best course I have ever played but for sheer exotic island paradise Ile Aux Cerfs has got to be up there near the top. Shimmering sands, aquamarine water, palm trees…and the smell of barbecued fish and getto blasted reggae music wafting up the fairway as you play is seductive and hedonistic – and perhaps not great for the golf concentration, but for sheer delight in life 10/10! Just a short boat trip off the east coast of Mauritius, even the journey to the course is special. But beware – the cost of refreshments is pretty outrageous so head back to your own hotel for the 19th hole indulgences. We stayed at the Belle Mare Plage. Fantastic for golf, excellent food and accommodation and if you are travelling with a non-golfer, there is plenty there for them to do – snorkelling , diving, boat trips as well as just chillin’ in the sun and sipping cocktails.
I happily carry in the winter, as long as it is a light, slim bag ( I have a Sun Mountain) – and I can fit all my favvy clubs in it! So in goes my putter, sandwedge, pitching wedge, 9,8 and 7 iron, my trusty rescue clubs (a 4 and a 6) and my driver. I can also fit in my water proofs in the side zip, and there are two large pouches for balls and other essentials! There’s a slot for my water bottle ( I drink copious amounts when playing – always top up at the halfway hut) and room for phone, tissues, nibbles and gloves. And most importantly it has the legs to stand up on its own. My last pencil bag didn’t and it was horrible having to lie it down on wet or muddy ground! So, what more does a girl need? Okay I slip some lippy in the side zipper.