MATKOVICH
EXCELS AT
LA RÉSERVE

MAURITIUS WILL BENEFIT AS GOLF DESTINATION
FROM NEW LINKS-STYLE LAYOUT AT HERITAGE

Published by : Stuart McLean - 11 October 2023

Peter Matkovich has kept himself active as a course architect with several attractive projects in Mauritius the past decade. His fourth and latest creation, La Réserve Golf Links, in the south of the island, has received fulsome praise prior to it hosting the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open in December.

The course, officially opening in December, and still growing in, is a novel design, one which most golfers dream about playing. The first tee is isolated high in the hills overlooking the Indian Ocean, and the 18 holes meander downhill from there to the clubhouse. I visited the site in the first year of its construction, 2019, and the views from all over the layout are spectacular. This is pristine rolling countryside, unblemished by development, situated alongside a biosphere reserve.

A special destination therefore with the potential to be acclaimed as one of the Greatest 100 Courses in the World outside the United States. The course will only add to the growing stature of Mauritius as a golfing paradise. Access though will be exclusively for members and their guests, and anyone staying at one of the luxury hotels belonging to Heritage Resorts. La Réserve belongs to the Heritage Resorts, a second course to its sibling (Le Château) built by Matkovich almost two decades ago.

blank
Ocean views from the higher slopes of La Réserve. This is the par-3 fourth.

Another unique feature is the links-style look and feel, appropriate given this can be a windy site, exposed to the elements. On what used to be sugarcane fields there are artificial dunes, pot bunkers with revetted faces, rugged rough and waste bunkers, and long indigenous grass waving alongside the fairways. A quirky design touch is a pot bunker built in the middle of the 13th green. Heritage Golf Club general manager Jonathan Menteath compares the par-3 17th hole, with its green enfolded by dunes, to a similar par 3 at the famous Waterville links in Ireland.

One strain of grass, Dynasty Paspalum, has been used from tee to green. It proved a success at Mont Choisy, another Matkovich design which hosted the 2022 Mauritius Open.

blank
The par-4 third hole at La Réserve has an “Infinity” green.

Matkovich originally thought he would be designing a parkland-type layout to complement Heritage Le Château, and could hardly contain his excitement when briefed by Ryan Dodds, head of golf projects for The Golf Company, that the resort had instead conceptualised a links design for La Réserve as a distinctive separation of symphonies. The undulating terrain naturally lends itself to that, with steep runoffs from the greens on the more challenging holes.

Shaper Ryan O’Connor has done some creative sculpturing of the earth with his machinery to conjure up a series of visually enchanting treats for those lovers of links golf.

“It’s clearly not an authentic links because there’s no sandy soil, but the look and the strategy required is what you would expect at a links,” says Matkovich.

Not every hole is downhill – the drop in height from first tee to clubhouse is 190 metres – and the course maintains its design variety and balance by having some uphill approach shots to raised greens. There are only two holes where there is a significant elevation drop from tee to fairway.

blank
The first of the short par 4s is No 6, alongside a large dam collecting storm water.

Matkovich had a co-designer for the project in Louis Oosthuizen, who did a site visit. They have previously collaborated at Nkonyeni in Eswatini. There’s a possibility Oosthuizen will make his second appearance in the Mauritius Open from December 14-17. He had a top-10 at Heritage Le Château in 2017.

The back nine, with three Par 5s, three Par 4s and three Par 3s, has an unusual sequence of holes, 4-3-5, 4-3-5, 4-3-5 from 10 to 18, something I have never previously encountered, although Ernie Els came close on Oubaai’s back nine. George GC and Simola in the Garden Route, and Highland Gate in Mpumalanga, are South African layouts with an equal number of 5s, 4s and 3s on the back nine. All told there are 5 Par 5s and 5 Par 3s at La Réserve.

Five different tee markers on every hole will ensure the course is playable for all. From the black championship tees, named the Louis Tees, it’s a sturdy 6 727 metres, and that includes two short par 4s of 284 and 302 at No 6 and 13 respectively. The 18th is a 564-metre par 5. The white (6 035) and yellow (5649) tees will be popular.

It’s good to hear that golfers will be allowed to walk the course, although most will probably prefer taking a golf cart.

blank

Peter Matkovich and Louis Oosthuizen on site at Heritage La Réserve.

DP World Tour ‘Opening Swing’

The AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open will form part of the new “Opening Swing” schedule on the 2023-24 DP World Tour. It’s the first of five different swings around the globe. The “Opening Swing” begins with the Joburg Open at Houghton from November 23-26, followed by the Investec SA Open at Blair Atholl (November 30-December 3) and Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek from December 7-10.

Article Search
Search for news articles
Top 100 Course News, Blog
and Feature
Recent news articles
The Top 100 rankings have returned to… Read more
There are five new entries in the… Read more
Golf Digest South Africa has returned and… Read more
Mount Edgecombe CC in Umhlanga, KwaZulu-Natal has… Read more
Ten years ago Gowrie Farm in the… Read more
If you follow SuperSport’s 213 channel, then… Read more
Stellenbosch Golf Club has been rated on… Read more
The seaside course at Milnerton Golf Club… Read more
1 Bosch Hoek Golf & Lodge Near… Read more
Joe Knox is not a golf pro… Read more
Louis Oosthuizen’s display at Leopard Creek is… Read more
Homeowners at the Oubaai golf estate in… Read more
The weekend of the SA Open at… Read more
Fancourt have built a new halfway house… Read more
This year is the 25th anniversary of… Read more
An attractive 9-hole course on the remote… Read more
Peter Matkovich has kept himself active as… Read more
Marco Simone was the first purpose-built golf… Read more
More than half of South Africa’s courses… Read more
On a quiet Central Drakensberg road between… Read more
Listed below are all 414 courses affiliated… Read more
Gary Player Country Club will forever be… Read more
The new millennium has seen a remarkable… Read more
Pretoria Country Club has been rated on… Read more
The US Open at Los Angeles Country… Read more
South African Open host Blair Atholl, ranked… Read more
Of all the great tournament venues that… Read more
Augusta National has Amen Corner to describe… Read more
The closure of Beachwood CC in Durban… Read more
Former Sunshine Tour commissioner Arnold Mentz has… Read more
Durban Country Club will be closing their… Read more
Casey Jarvis has become the second youngest… Read more
In South Africa, the Halfway House stop… Read more
Amanzimtoti Country Club was devastated by flooding… Read more
The Garden Route is a popular destination… Read more
Pearl Valley has been judged as having… Read more
Zwartkop Country Club, the 18-hole course owned… Read more
Does any other sport offer as many… Read more
Silver Lakes has asked to be removed… Read more
Mount Edgecombe Country Club is hosting two… Read more
KZN estate Cotswold Downs, at No 52… Read more
There was a change of the guard… Read more
Houghton and Hermanus are two clubs at… Read more
Woodhill continues its phenomenal rise up the… Read more
Having a river flowing through your course… Read more
Atlantic Beach is one of those courses… Read more
Katberg, Orkney and Emfuleni are this year’s… Read more
An exciting project in Mpumalanga is the… Read more
We’re seeing five key changes to the… Read more
The Eastern Cape has been included as… Read more
The Alfred Dunhill Championship is one of… Read more
Royal Johannesburg’s newly renovated West Course was… Read more
Durban Country Club’s iconic short par-4 18th… Read more
Composite courses could become fashionable locally in… Read more
Blair Atholl is an exciting new addition… Read more
Veteran East London Golf Club member Denis Jones… Read more
How would you react if you learned… Read more
Blair Atholl has the longest stretch of… Read more
Amanzimtoti Country Club suffered the most devastation… Read more
Durban Country Club will next year be… Read more
Bryanston Country Club head teaching professional Leigh-Jane… Read more
Work has started on the refurbishment of… Read more
Golf Digest magazine in the United States… Read more
The Sunshine Tour visited 17 of SA’s… Read more
TOP 20 GREENS 1 Fancourt Links, 2… Read more
No 1-ranked Fancourt Links claimed more honours… Read more
Links courses were the big winners in… Read more
Gauteng is endowed with wonderful golf courses,… Read more
Today’s announcement of 20 courses ranked between… Read more
Anyone who has played at Plettenberg Bay… Read more
Woodhill is one of 17 courses in… Read more
Four courses – Reading, Eagle Canyon, Centurion… Read more
Two new entrants to the Top 100… Read more
Such has been the huge amount of… Read more
The new year ushered in great excitement… Read more
blank blank
FIND A TOP 100 COURSE
blank
blank
blank
blank