Our flight arrived in Mauritius sixteen hours after we left London Heathrow. 13 hours in the air and a 3 hour layover in Dubai made for quite a long trip. We flew with Emirates and paid a bit extra to sit in the “middle of the plane” as my friend politely calls it, everyone else knows it as Business Class! Even better, the first leg was on the new Airbus A380. Now, I’ve travelled the world a fair bit in my tender 50 years but I’ve NEVER flown on a aircraft so big, it was enormous,
Check-in took no time at all and before we knew it we were in the shuttle bus on the way to The Links course for a 2:00 tee time. Turns out we’d completely forgotten about it being “winter” in the southern hemisphere and that by 6pm it would be too dark to play golf. As it was we were able to get off around 1:40pm as a three ball. The only problem with getting off so quickly was the lack of a warm-up!!
On The Links course, buggies are compulsory, which after 16 hours of travel was probably a good thing. We (MrsG and I) were paired up with one other person, who announced his handicap as 23, so when we said we were off 7 & 12 he said “Don’t worry, I’ll pick up when I have to”. And yes, he did have to a few times.
So, off to the 1st tee. A pulled drive meant a chip out of some trees (no snakes) then a missed green, two poor chips and two putts meant I signed for a triple bogey 7 on that hole. The second wasn’t much better with a 7 on a par 5. It got much better from there after I’d warmed up (golf swing not body temperature). 5 over for two holes translated into 11 over for the whole round, so the rest of my game was fairly tidy (one birdie and one other double bogey).
I think this is a course where you should definitely buy a course planner. There were a lot of blind shots and frankly, a 23 handicapper telling a 7 handicapper where to hit the ball (even if he had played the course before) did not really help much…sorry Alan (just in case you ever read this!).
That said the course was very enjoyeable. It was a bit siggy in places and overall there was no much run on the ball when it hit the fairways so it played its full length which was 6,044 yards off the white tees. I did try to play off the blue tees (6,495 yards), but the group behind us included one of the club professionals who politely suggested I walk down to the white tees!
Overall I enjoyed our first round of the holiday. I found the greens a tad on the slow side even compared to what I’ve been played back in the UK during the spring. Perhaps they had not been cut for a day or so and we were playing in the afternoon after all, so maybe there had been some growth.
The clubhouse was exactly what I expected from a hotel course. Great changing rooms, free showers & towels and a very nice bar area with excellent service. If you are looking to play golf in Mauritius then you could do worse than play at The Links at Belle Mare Plage.