Noria Golf Club Marrakech is an ambitious attempt at fusing traditional Moroccan architecture with modern golf course design.
Situated close to the small village of Chrifia, on the southern periphery of Marrakech, the course at Noria Golf Club celebrates the traditional architecture and landscape features of its surroundings, embracing diagonal water ditches (seguia), natural creeks (oued) and a water lifting wheel (noria) with small buckets to transfer this precious natural resource into small aqueducts for irrigation.
The vision for Noria was to create a traditional Moroccan village that celebrated the architecture and landscapes of the South of Morocco. These landscapes include mountains, fields, desert, oasis, orchards, villages and palaces. The legend of Isli and Tislit, Morocco’s version of Romeo and Juliet, also became part of the marketing story.
Therefore, the golf course design incorporates these various elements into the overall plan. There are three primary zones—1) the olive orchards and lavender fields on holes 1 through 7, 2) the desert on holes 11 through 13, and 3) the formal pools and architecture found along the central axis that runs north from the clubhouse. The two lovers, Isli and Tislet, represented by the lake on hole 14 and a basin in the Village of Isli to the north, are forever linked by a water feature on hole 15.
Anchoring the development, a stunning two-storey clubhouse, designed by Youssef El Melehi, sits in front of the formal pool that separates the 9th and 18th greens. The canvas roof of this magnificent structure takes its inspiration from the nomad’s tent, wrapping itself around a large observation tower, the largest of several that run through the spine of the property.
On the course, the opening hole plays to an offset green, the first of several putting surfaces placed diagonally to the centreline of the fairway. Another diagonal element arises at the next hole, where a water channel cuts across the fairway at a 45-degree angle in front of the green. The left doglegged 4th features the only bunkerless green on the course and it’s followed by the longest par five on the card, as holes swing back towards the clubhouse, with the Atlas Mountains as a backdrop. For our team the most beautiful hole at Noria Golf Club is the par-5 fifth flows beautifully from tee to green with a nice combination of strategic bunkers.
The remarkable 175-metre 8th is without doubt the signature hole at Noria, played from an elevated tee position across a reflecting pool to a rectangular Biarritz green that sits between the water and an authentic Moroccan bell tower. It’s a very simple, yet incredibly visual little hole that will live very long in memory of golfers who play here.
On the back nine, the short par four 11th doglegs right across a dry-bed creek to a two-tiered hour glass-shaped green that slopes markedly from front to back. A path strewn with large rocks and cactus plants then leads down to another thrilling short hole, with the fairway and semi-blind green of the 12th hole lying well below the level of the surrounding rocky terrain.
The routing heads north again at the 14th, the first of back-to-back par fives, with a big carry required over a wetland area from the tee. A large body of water sits to the left of this hole and a water channel – complete with Noria water wheel – runs away from the lake, before cutting diagonally across the front of the 15th green.
The round ends in spectacular style with the 18th returning to the 9th hole’s long water channel, but this time on the other side of the reflecting pool. To the right of the tee boxes, there’s a traditional Moroccan irrigation system (a “khettara”) with open pits leading to an abandoned underground canal. A diagonal line of bunkers protects the front of the rectangular putting surface, whilst water to the left of the fairway challenges all the way to the home green.
A magnificent practice facility complements the golf course and clubhouse will provide the focal point of the resort with it’s lounge bar & restaurant. A full service Proshop stocked with a large range of fashion apparel, shoes, equipment and accessories.