INTERVIEW WITH CLÉMENT ROUSSEAU, DIRECTOR OF GOLF AT MICHLIFEN
Michlifen Golf & Country Club opened for play in 2018 and is located in the historic mountain town of Ifrane, a 45 minute drive from the historic city of Fez. The course forms part of the iconic Michlifen Resort & Golf recognised as one of the finest and most exclusive Spa and Alpine retreats in the region.
In an exclusive interview, Clément tells us more about this unique club.
1 – What are your first impressions of Michlifen Golf & Country Club?
I’m very impressed and absolutely in love with it! The way Jack Nicklaus designed the course in the middle of the Atlas mountains is simply amazing.
The view from the 9th and 18th holes and the Clubhouse terrace are out of this world - but what really impressed me was the incredibly high standard of the golf course maintenance. After 4 years of opening, the playing conditions are excellent and the whole team, along with the IMG team, have done a great job.
I would say golfers who visit Michlifen come for an experience that goes beyond the golf course. To be able to play a Jack Nicklaus Signature course on top of the mountains with all the spectacular vistas is something simply unforgettable. The climate is also very pleasant during the Summer whereas in other parts of Morocco temperatures will be much higher.
Located in the middle of the Ifrane National Park and at 1,660 meters of altitude, Michlifen offers a unique natural experience. When walking through the course you’ll see the most incredible array of wildlife including turtles, monkeys, storks, hundreds of beautiful butterflies and also majestic cedars.
2 – How do you think your previous international golf experience can help you with managing Michlifen?
I just arrived from Cambodia where the golfers have very high expectations in terms of golf course maintenance and are very detailed orientated, always looking for a personalised service.
This is experience that will be very valuable here at Michlifen in that it matches what we are trying to achieve as we aim to continue improving our service standards and amaze our members and guests every time they visit us.
3 – Michlifen is one of the most successful golf clubs in North Africa and was recognised for the second time as “Best Golf Hotel in Morocco” by the World Golf Awards. Apart from the high standards set for the golf course, what else makes Michlifen so special?
The majestic Clubhouse with the view from the terrace overlooking the Atlas mountains is definitely one of the most impressive features!
You can easily forget the time here. The buildings architecture, the luxurious interior design, the delicious food, the calmness of the location, all contribute to a simply unique experience.
In addition to all of this, I would definitely highlight our team. Morocco is famous for being one of the most welcoming countries in the world and our team is just a proof of that. Whether a member, visitor or hotel guest, we can ensure golfers will have a great time with us on and off course.
4 – Apart from the stunning golf course and clubhouse, what other benefits do Michlifen members receive?
We’re blessed to have one the most well equipped Golf Academies not only in Morocco but also in the whole of North Africa. The Academy features three IMG Performance Studios offering the latest in custom fitting and teaching technology including TrackMan, Sam Putt Lab and Sam Balance Lab.
The tuition available at Michlifen is also outstanding and our experienced Head Professional Saddek Bouhlal has a wide range of experience of teaching players of all abilities including juniors, adults, elite players, beginners and also focuses on group lessons for hotel guests, companies and schools & universities.
We work closely with the Royal Golf Federation of Morocco and will continue to as we want to help grow the game of golf in this part of Morocco. We’re actually running two school projects with the local community offering kids from Ifrane and Bensmim the opportunity to try golf and learn more about the game completely free of charge.
5 – Michlifen is recognised as one of the best conditioned golf courses in the EMEA region. How do you and IMG work together to keep this quality?
IMG is a global leader in the development, marketing and management of world class courses just like Michlifen. For more than 30 years, IMG has set the standard for excellence in golf club management and we’re pleased to have them onboard since opening the club and particularly appreciate the vast experience they bring.
IMG’s management team oversees Michlifen Golf & Country Club’s development and frequently visit us to support on different areas. Having their help is very important not only for me but for the whole golf team as their guidance is key for us.
Michlifen Golf & Country Club deserves a global recognition and by working with IMG’s marketing team we’re able to promote the resort in different parts of the world thanks to the IMG Prestige programme and also multiple international campaigns carried out throughout the year. Their network of media, suppliers and tour operators have been hugely important to Michlifen and I’m looking forward to continue working closely with them.
6 – In a few months you’ll host the first edition of the Michlifen Atlas Pro-Am. What can you tell us about this event?
After two difficult years with the pandemic, we really wanted to give national and international golfers the opportunity to come back to Michlifen and play a fun and exciting Pro-Am.
The course forms part of the iconic Michlifen Resort & Golf, recognised as one of the finest and most exclusive Spa and Alpine retreats in the region. Players will be able to experience a 5 star hotel, a luxury spa, world class dining and much more.
Michlifen is located less than 3 hours from the main European cities and only 1 hour by car from Fez international airport and we’re confident that any international guest visiting us to play the Pro-Am will have one of their best ever golfing experiences!