You won’t find the Seychelles in golf holiday brochures. The honeymoon archipelago of tropical islands has only one 18-hole course, for heaven’s sake. Why would a keen golfer want to visit?
A number of reasons. The Seychelles are islands of astonishing, unique natural beauty. It doesn’t take the scientific curiosity of a Charles Darwin to get excited about long-tailed frigate birds, 200-year-old giant tortoises and fruit bats the size of vultures.
Lémuria, the resort with the golf course, is one of the most spoiling oases of air-conditioned, brushed-cotton tropical luxury imaginable. Perched among the granite outcrops of the northern tip of Praslin, a 15-minute flight from mother-island Mahé, it has a sheltered, sandy cove for every wind direction.
Golf buggies whirr along its paths, inviting us to hop aboard for a lift to breakfast. Smiling helpers are forever knocking at the door, on an urgent mission to lay a flower on the pillow.
The menu is fresh, colourful and appetising, and the weather on Praslin is balmy at all times of year, with sea temperature that hover one or two degrees either side of 30˚C.
Our winter months are calm and hot out there, perfect for diving and staying up late to watch baby turtles hatch on the beach and scuttle down to the sea. There’s more of a breeze in our summer – April to October, roughly – which suits the golfer.
Lémuria’s course is tremendous fun: plenty long enough, well kept and beautiful. Its rich variety of exotic natural hazards and old-fashioned golfing challenges will send visitors away frustrated and delighted in equal measure, determined to do better next time.
Eternally quiet, at Lémuria you can play as much golf as you like, when you like. Take a break after holing out at the short 15th, follow a path through the mangroves and throw yourself into the waves at Anse Georgette, a desert-island idyll of palm trees overhanging soft white sand, lapped by a perfect, aquamarine sea. And don’t hurry back to the golf course. The 16th is an absolute stinker.
My favourite time for golf was late afternoon, when the fruit bats are on the wing, casting sinister shadows over my puny efforts. The light fades fast and at six o’clock sharp sundowners are served on the 18th tee, a magnificent vantage point at the top of the course.
They say one course is not enough to make a destination. But one good course can make all the difference between an exquisitely beautiful place to get fat, sunburnt and irritable, and a perfect holiday bolthole for a truly relaxing mixture of idleness and exertion.
Air Seychelles. Two flights a week from Heathrow to Mahé.
T: 01293 596656
Constance Lemuria Resort. Golf, tennis, sailing and watersports are free for hotel residents. Spa treatments, deep sea fishing, diving and other excursions extra. The hotel has a children’s club.
T: 00 800 2000 0002