Above: The beautiful view from behind the tee at the 6th hole
My starting point here has to be the condition of the course which is very poor from the tee boxes to the fairways – all need reseeding apart from some patches on the greens that have been cut in. These are some of the fastest greens with so many complexes that I have played. I think even the professionals would find them tough to putt on.
It really is a shame about the condition because the design of the course and the way it plays make this track the toughest course I have played this week and it also offers some stunning vistas of Hammermet and out to sea, along your journey around the course. Yasmine Valley is still a course I would recommend you play, by the time you get there the conditioning may have improved, especially now with the Nicklaus design group coming on board.
As I stand on the elevated first tee with the view out to sea and the top part of the course on my left, the par-5 opening hole stretches out doglegging right around water below. It is a tough tee shot with a long bunker on the left. If you are long enough and brave enough, you can carry the water. But this is a three-shot par-5 for all but the longest hitters out there.
By the time you get to the par-3 fourth, if you haven’t realised how tricky these greens are, you are about to find out. The green slopes back towards you and must drop at least 8–12ft from back to front. Is it fair? Probably not, but spinning your ball back from the back of the green to a front pin position has to be fun. At least you can say you spun the ball back 10ft at least once in your life. Stroke index 18, I think not!
The fifth is all about being in the right position from the tee with out-of-bounds on your right. The par-3 seventh is again all about being on the right section of the green. The eighth is another carry over water for the longer hitters, and a tough uphill par 4 completes the front nine.
I must admit I find the back nine to be the better of the two, from the opening par-4 tenth to the tough par-4 18th there is not a weak hole and all will test your golf game. I will be surprised if you break your handicap around here, but if you do put your ball in the right place and trust your caddie on the line of putts – and yes I did doubt mine several times, but they are always right – then you can get near your handicap.
As I sit on the veranda of the clubhouse looking out to sea and over the gleaming sun-kissed white buildings of Hammermet, I was happy to sign for my 30 points off a 6-handicap on a tough course with a 2/3 club wind. I certainly felt I had earned my cold pint of Löwenbräu.
The back nine gets underway with the tight looking 10th, but there's more room than you think!
Don't be long at the 3rd holeLooking back down the 5thBeautiful view from the 12th
Yasmine Valley has some stunning views looking out over Hammamet, like this one on 17.