Mauritius Gymkhana Club

Golf, was first played in Scotland in 1778 and then in England in 1798 and later the Officers of the British Military created the Calcutta Royal Golf Club in 1828 and the Delhi Royal Golf Club in 1832.

 

In 1844 Golf was introduced by the Officers of the British Military in Mauritius.   It was played on the grounds of the military base at Vacoas, known today as the Mauritius Gymkhana Club.

 

The ground was generally level, with an ideal temperature around the 20º C and very pleasant for residential and sporting purposes both during the summer and the winter seasons.  As from 1812 onwards till the First World War was a peaceful time, the officers of the army with lots of free time used to occupy themselves playing polo, on horseback.  From records available at the war office, golf was played at the MGC grounds in 1844, which makes it the fourth country club in the world where golf was played.

 

According to Golf Encyclopaedia, a golf tournament was played in Mauritius at Mauritius Gymkhana Club in 1847.

 

The course was indeed created on the grounds occupied by the British Military Garrison on which were to be found the military base, the various military compounds as well as the official residence of the Commanding Officer.  In fact, the house of the commanding officer has now been converted into an official place where the Prime Minister holds certain official functions.  It is better known as the Clarisse House.

 

The MGC golf course is located in the town of Vacoas and part of the course runs along the main Phoenix to Floréal road.  It is easily accessible from the main motorway and is only 25 minutes drive from Port Louis, the capital

 

The MGC was under the management of the British Military and Naval Forces up the year of 1976, eight years after the independence of Mauritius in 1968.  The first Mauritian president was Jean Gallea.  To-day the MGC is a Mauritian Club with over 2000 members.  Around 500 members play golf, of which a good majority participate in competitions on a regular basis.  One of the most famous golf competitions is the Ireland Cup, which was first played in 1932 and is being played every year together with the Island and Highland cups.  This competition is played on 3 consecutive days.

 

The MGC golf course is 5. 6 Kilometres long and is a par 68.  Despite the fact that it is a relatively short course it offers great challenges to the players as it is very tight and thus precision and technical shots are called for.  However, it is playable and enjoyable by golfers of all levels.

 

The course comprises six holes of par 3, two holes of par 5 and ten holes of par 4. The shortest being hole no.5 playing 132 metres and the longest being hole no 6 at 497 metres long. Hole 18 is lined on the left side with magnificent “tulips du Gabon’ and palm trees with an Out of Bound. The fairway gently slopes from left to right. On the right, a fairway bunker awaits those avoiding the left side of the fairway. The colourful flowered 18th green is also well protected. On the far side, the Club’s car park awaits the over hitters and the front of the bunker is protected by two bunkers.

 

The course is lined with trees and some of the original Elm tress dates back over 200 years.  Unfortunately, most of the historic Elm trees were destroyed by a severe Elm tree disease in 2001. However, the MGC has replanted some 1200 trees and is now also creating a special endemic garden, with the assistance of the Conservator of Forests of Mauritius as well as the assistance of the Mauritius Wildlife Fund.

 

The course can be compared to the famous St Andrews in Scotland, in as much as it is a natural course.  This course has been visited, played and appreciated by many top professional and famous international golfers such as Gary Player and Nick Faldo and most recently Jean Van De Velde from France.