A Mauritian Masterpiece: Four Seasons Golf Course at Anahita
Pro golfer and South African native Ernie Els takes us behind the design of the island’s finest course.
It was Mark Twain who commented after a visit in 1896, “You get the idea Mauritius was made first, and then heaven.” Today’s golfers subscribe to the same view. The island of Mauritius has become a world-class golf destination with many exceptional courses well worth playing, including the Bernhard Langer–designed Le Touessrok course, the two 18-hole courses at Belle Mare Plage, the Heritage Golf Club, and the rocky Tamarina course. But Four Seasons Golf Club Mauritius at Anahita is the jewel in the crown of this growing scene.
A one-time sugar plantation on the island’s east coast, the 18-hole, par-72 course at Four Seasons Resort Mauritius at Anahita is revered for its beauty and loved for its playability. Tour professionals and Resort guests can (and do) excel on Anahita, as the course is called, sometimes teeing off alongside one another. This versatility is a feat of design attributed to architect and pro golfer Ernie Els.
Here, the South African native and 2012 British Open winner speaks about the course that’s helped solidify the status of Mauritius as a prime golf retreat.
What was your initial vision for Anahita?
My standout memory from those early site visits to the proposed Anahita course in 2004 was the sheer beauty of the setting. So a key part of my design brief was to maximize the visual impact of the scenery, while preserving the coastline’s natural beauty.
What makes the course so distinctive?
There are some unique features like the existing dry-stone walls, which act as strategic hazards; plus links-style streams and grass-downed bunkers which reveal just a sliver of sand from the player’s-eye view. Each hole is very different, but the standouts would obviously be those that play along the ocean. The 9th is a classic risk-reward drivable par-4 with a small creek in the fairway. Then there’s the 14th, which has an old stone wall slanting across the fairway.
Was it difficult to design a course for both tour professionals and amateur players?
As a designer, you have a responsibility to create a course that’s playable for golfers of all standards. From the tips, it’s a really good test for pros like Nicolas Colsaerts, who won the inaugural Mauritius AfrAsia Golf Masters here in 2010. But there are five sets of tee boxes, so golfers can play the course at a length they’re comfortable with.
Do you have a favourite hole?
My favourite is the par-5 18th, as you have to navigate your way round the old ruins of a sugar estate. In general, I just love all the luxury around, but you also feel like you’re experiencing a genuine taste of and insight into the Mauritian way of life.
As you designed Anahita, did you seek inspiration from your native South Africa?
It’s fair to say that Mauritius and South Africa have many shared characteristics, particularly the Indian Ocean coastline, the weather, the laid-back lifestyle and a real love of the outdoors—and that’s reflected in the overall vibe at Anahita.