The former CEO of the winter sports goods manufacturer Völkl is considered a pioneer in his industry. Retired Gregor Furrer from the canton of Valais still skis regularly. He also likes to play golf and does so often, including in Mauritius, one of his choice golf destinations. Gregor Furrer tells us what attracts him and his wife to this island paradise:
“I have played golf for over thirty years. My current handicap is 18.5. I usually play once a week. Added to that are my regular golfing holidays. All in all, that translates into about forty to fifty rounds of golf a year.
What fascinates me about the sport is the physical and mental preparation it involves. You have to focus fully on preparing each and every stroke. And every time you think you have it right, you make a mistake. There is never any guarantee for a good round, regardless of how skilled a player you are. That challenge is probably the reason why so many former top athletes, academics and top managers choose to play golf. Every stroke is a new beginning, it is about the swing, the concentration – the interplay of several factors is decisive. A round of golf takes a good four hours, during which players are in their own world. You don’t answer your cell phone or think about dinner, but are fully devoted to the game. But I must confess: I am not an overly ambitious golf player. I would call myself a recreational golfer who also has time for a chat.
Never without my golf clubs
So what makes a good golf course? It has to be multi-facetted, have sand variety, water variety and other hazards to play across. But the most important criterion for me is the scenic appeal, with views of hills, forests, the sea and a sense of being in the heart of nature.
My wife and I first visited Mauritius more than fifteen years ago. We travelled there with our young grandchildren. Back then, it was primarily a beach holiday, although I never travel anywhere without my golf clubs. We have been back to Mauritius regularly since then, and consider it to be the nicest of all island destinations. We love its multicultural diversity. Despite the different cultures, national languages and religions, everything is very peaceful – just like in Switzerland. The people are incredibly friendly and nice, and the quality of the hotels and golf courses never fails to convince us.
Lost golf balls on the Île aux Cerfs
One of the nicest golf courses is situated on the Île aux Cerfs, a small uninhabited islet off the coast of Mauritius that can only be reached by boat. The 18-hole par 72 championship golf course is located on a plateau and offers fantastic views. The area is characterised by lava rock – so if you lose your golf ball, you will never find it! The sale of golf balls is an excellent line of business on this golf course. Nestling along the coast at the gateway to the offshore islands is the fabulous five-star Shangri-La’s Le Touessrok Resort & Spa that features wonderful white sandy beaches and fabulous restaurants.
One of our favourite hotels in Mauritius is the ‘Constance Le Prince Maurice’. The ‘Constance’ hotels (the ‘Constance Le Prince Maurice’ and the ‘Constance Belle Mare Plage’) are home to two lovely, private golf courses. The 18-hole course ‘The Links’ stands out with plenty of water, while the ‘Legend Golf Course’ is basically situated on the beach. Both courses are quite a challenge to play on.
Days on the golf course, at the beach and on excursions
The climate in Mauritius is ideal for golfing. It is never too cold and never too hot. The best time of year is between November and January, thus precisely when golfing isn’t possible in Switzerland. However, when in Mauritius, I am not on the golf course every day. I alternate with beach days and going on excursions. We enjoy exploring the island in a rental car and cannot get enough of the beautiful landscape. The interior of the island is relatively rugged, and there are also fairly high mountains. By the way, communicating with the locals is not a problem as, besides Creole, everyone speaks English and French.
Our beach days are usually spent at the private hotel beach. But visitors should make a point of going to Flic-en-Flac beach, which, stretching for five miles, is the longest on the island and largely open to the public. Every now and again, corals, shells and sea urchins can be found on this natural beach, which is also very popular among the locals. Thanks to the shallow waters that extend far into the ocean, the beach at Shangri-La’s Le Touessrok Resort & Spa is one of the most suitable ones for families. We often stayed there when our grandchildren were small.
No crowded beaches or golf courses
By the way, the food in Mauritius is fantastic, whether in the hotel restaurants or elsewhere. Besides fresh fish, there are dishes with a French or Creole twist. I especially appreciate the relaxed atmosphere on the island, free of any pressure. And unlike in some places in Spain, the beaches and the golf courses are never overcrowded.
I have been everywhere in the world, professionally and privately, and have played golf in many countries. An island that attracts me and draws me in time and time again must be something very special. And, indeed, Mauritius is undoubtedly very special.”
The Golf Courses in Mauritius
Île aux Cerfs Golf Club: Situated on a plateau on an islet off the coast of Mauritius, the 18-hole golf course offers magnificent views of the landscape, the beach and the ocean. The course was built by the famous German golfer Bernhard Langer. (Île aux Cerfs, Trou d’Eau Douce, Mauritius, www.ileauxcerfsgolfclub.com)
The Links Golf Course: This golf course was designed by the British golf champion Peter Allis and architect Rodney Wright. Breathtaking vistas and a variety of hazards provide a treat for any golfer. (Constance Belle Mare Plage, Poste de Flacq, Mauritius, www.golfmaurice.com)
The Legend Golf Course: Nestling in nature and right on the beach, the 18-hole course has everything golfers could wish for. It was built by South African golf champion Hugh Baiocchi. (Poste de Flacq, Mauritius, www.constancehotels.com/de/erlebnisse/golf/legend)