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Inside Samanah Golf Club and Al Maaden
Aerial view of the clubhouse and 18th hole at Samanah Golf Club

Organised Under the High Patronage of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, the second edition of the LET’s Lalla Aicha Tour School Final Qualifier is being held this week in Marrakech.

Located in the mid south-west of Morocco, at the gates of the Atlas Mountains, Marrakech is the most popular golf destination in the country. The ochre tinted city is surrounded by eight superb golf courses and a diverse range of accommodation, including luxury five-star hotels and apartments to boutique hotels and Riads.

Golf Al Maaden and Samanah Golf Club are two of the best golf courses in Morocco and will provide a fitting test for the 95 Ladies European Tour hopefuls this week.

Al Maaden was one of two courses to host the first edition of LET’s Lalla Aicha Tour School 12 months ago, along with Amelkis, while Samanah Golf Club has joined the LET roster for the first time.

Clubhouse and terrace at Samanah Golf Club

Surrounded by cactuses and palm trees, Samanah Golf Club is a ‘desert-style’ course.  The Nicklaus Design was built and is maintained to USGA standards and opened in December 2009.  

Nestled to the north of the foothills of the dramatic, snow-capped Atlas mountain range, the Samanah course is the longer of the two at 6643 yards, or 6043 metres par 72.

A year older than Al Maaden, the course has previously hosted the German Pro Golf Tour in 2013, Alps Tour in 2011 and the final of the Satellite Tour in 2009.

The signature hole is the iconic 423-yard, or 387 metre par-4 18th, with a large and perilous lake which plays down the left side. Generally considered the tougher course, the wide fairways belie the challenge of the 140 bunkers and the slick, undulating raised greens.

At 6497 yards, or 5941 metres, the par 72 course at Golf Al Maaden is not to be underestimated either.

Perfect for long hitters, the wide fairways are lined by villas and geometric lakes and water features. The stunning clubhouse, which blends Moroccan modernity with tradition, is a revelation in architecture and the perfect place to unwind after a round of golf.

Golf Al Maaden

After the enjoyable hours spent on the golf course, there are many cultural aspects to appreciate in Marrakech. The Jemaa El-Fna is the main square, used by locals and tourists and named by UNESCO as part of Humanity’s Universal Heritage. During the day it is predominantly occupied by local food stalls, youths, Barbary apes and snake charmers and you can walk through alleyways of the enormous souk looking for leathers and candles. One cannot miss the Koutoubia, one of the city’s architectural marvels, a tall, tower-like mosque which is a vestige of the 12th century. Those preferring relaxation could visit any of the gardens that decorate the city, including the Menara or the Marjorelle Garden. However Samanah and Al Maaden are also ideal spots to unwind.

The pressure-packed Final Qualifier is always a stressful week for the competitors as dreams of a place on the Ladies European Tour are either shattered or become a reality. Last year’s Final Qualifier acted as a springboard for players such as Ariya Jutanugarn, Charley Hull, Maha Haddioui and Cheyenne Woods to launch their professional careers.

This year’s five-round examination will test potential newcomers including Karolin Lampert, Amber Ratcliffe and Nobuhle Dlamini, among other exceptional talents.

The Final Qualifier gets under way on both the Samanah and Al Maaden courses from Saturday, 14th December, at 9am local time.

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