Île aux Cerfs Golf Club

need_my_wedge

Has Now Found His Wedgie
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Played 6 rounds here last week, thought it deserved a separate review from the picture thread.

A journey to Île aux Cerfs begins with a 10 minute boat trip from the nearby Island of Mauritius. The boats run every 15 minutes or so, and is a fairly painless transfer to the smaller island. If you sit on the port side, (left) and the sun is shining, there are some stunning views back to the volcanic mountains on the mainland as you head to the island. As you arrive at the island, there is always someone waiting to greet you, take your clubs and shuttle you to the clubhouse. Straight to the pro shop to check in. Buggies are mandatory, and not included in the all inclusive deals, but we were aware of that before we went, they are approx £15 per person, and can be charged back to your hotel room if you want. The practice range is not included either, and costs an extra, 50 rupees (approx £1), hardly seems worth adding, but not the end of the world. Also disappointed that the pro shop had very little stock in the way of souvenirs, especially shirts. The were very limited ball markers, no stroke savers and not a single shirt available in M or L. This may be an consequence of the recent covid pandemic, and they haven't ramped back up yet, but it was a shame not to be able to buy a souvenir.

Out to the buggy master, clubs are all loaded, towels on seats, ice box packed with ice (you'll need your own bottles of water, or have to buy one), and then off to the starter. Take your own water bottle, you can refill at the starter hut on 1, after 4, and after 9. There is also a cold herb tea which is surprisingly refreshing, and complimentary madeleine cakes. You can pick these up each time you pass too.

The course itself is quite short but very narrow, with water on 6 of the front nine holes. The front nine in my opinion is the tougher half of the course, anything offline left or right is in the jungle, literally. There is some long thick grass bordering the jungle, and this will snaffle your balls with no second thoughts. Careful if you go wondering into the jungle, there are no snakes or creepy crawlies, or anything dangerous, but there are lots of hidden roots, small tree stumps and uneven lava rock, and spikey stuff that snags your shirt. It's very easy to turn your ankle, trip or get snagged up. The back nine is the easier half, there is still water in play on 6 of the holes, whether that be waste areas or the 160yd carries over the mangrove swamps on 17 and 18. Depending on the tide, some of the waste areas can be dry on some days. Whilst you can see glimpses of the ocean on a good few holes, there are some stunning views over the ocean on the back nine, particularly the 11th green, which is just picture postcard perfect. It's like playing on Fantasy Island.

The greens are small and tight, some very narrow, the second is a raised green, and missing left or right very much short sides you, making it almost impossible to stay on the green with any kind of chip or pitch back. I found the greens in general to be very firm, and tricky to hold, a few times I had good shots pitch on the front edge, only to frustratingly roll off the back. There are probably 5 or 6 tee shots that need to carry water or hazards to be in play. The fairways and approaches I believe are Bermuda grass, and the rough is Kikuyu, it's like cabbage, and can be difficult to chip out of, needs a really committed swing.

With the course playing tight, and the amount of water in play, it's worth making sure you take plenty of balls, it doesn't take much to lose one. The Callaway Chromesoft on sale in the pro shop were an eye watering £77 for 12. Obviously, they are imported, but even so....

Once the rounds complete, a return to the clubhouse for cold beer and lunch is a pretty much order of the day, our man Sydney, in the bar, was a superb host and looked after us very well. If you're on an all inclusive deal, it covers lunch in the clubhouse but not the beer. The food is decent, portions are large, but I'll advise against the fish and chips. Without doubt one of the nicest and tastiest fish I have ever had, I asked what it was, and was told "white tuna". I'd never heard of it before, and looked it up, it's a nickname for a couple of different fish, most notably the waloo fish (escolar). Whilst being particularly flavoursome, it comes with it's own health issues, which I unfortunately experienced the next day, and would not wish upon anyone. The Caesar salad, and chicken panini are both good options and more than filling.

The course also has it's own private golfers beach, they will shuttle you round the island to a beautiful sandy cove, with warm crystal clear tropical waters, and sunbeds under large grass parasols, it is quite beautiful, quiet, and you can spend as much time as you like there. Your partner can even spend the day on the beach whilst waiting for you to complete your round if they want. There are staff waiting on you for drinks and food if you prefer to eat here instead of the clubhouse, but none of the beach food is covered in the all inclusive deals. The wagyu burger was very nice, but a little pricey, nice for a treat, but if you're playing here as often as we did, it's probably better to eat in the clubhouse before retiring to the beach.

I know I highlighted a couple of minor niggles, don't let that put you off playing here, you can prepare accordingly. I would whole heartedly recommend a visit, the course is beautiful and it's a fabulous experience all in all.
 
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