Jérôme Querrien, Golf Course Superintendent and Director of Agronomy, Braemar Golf Management Projects, Morocco
Jérôme Querrien, Golf Course Superintendent and Director of Agronomy, Braemar Golf Management Projects, Morocco

Casa Green, Casablanca, Morocco

Posted on May 24, 2013 at 12:00 PM

Casa Green is the first 18 hole golf facility to open in the Grand Casablanca region of Morocco in the last 90 years. Designed by renowned English golf course architect Jeremy Pern, it combines links-like fairway shaping with dry waterbeds, known as Oueds, and desert-style vegetation.

When talking to Jérôme Querrien, Golf Course Superintendent and Director of Agronomy for Braemar Golf Management Projects, Morocco, early one May morning when it was already 25 degrees, Jérôme began by explaining the kind of weather conditions he faces.

“Casablanca is not far from the sea, so it can be wet, and we get heavy morning fogs in the winter months. The temperature can be around 10 to 20 degrees in the November to December period, and drop to around 2 or 5 degrees between January and February. Then it gets hot – not quite like Marrakech, but still around 35 degrees in the day, dropping to around 20 at night through the summer months.”

When asked if the variety of temperatures made his job difficult Jérôme responded with, “The climate is the climate… there may be bad greenkeepers but there is no ‘bad’ climate. You can be unlucky - but our job is about being prepared and using preventative measures.”

Jérôme has been with Braemar in Morocco for 2 years. Originally from France, he speaks fluent French and Spanish and despite apologising for his lack of understanding, he speaks perfectly accented English too.

“Construction was still ongoing when I arrived, so I’ve seen Casa Green emerging. We are still very new. The official opening was only in April of this year although the course has been played since December 2012.

It’s a very different kind of course – very open. We actually have 18 holes with 10 lakes, an advanced high-tech academy area, 4 learning holes, an enormous putting green and state of the art teaching facility. You can see most of the course like an open book, in fact from the Club House you can see 14 holes, so it’s rather like an amphitheatre, which is dramatic and quite unique.

We have a team of 23 including 2 mechanics, 1 irrigation tech, 1 spray tech, 1 assistant, 18 greenkeepers and we operate all types of machinery here – 3 Fairway mowers, 5 rough mowers, 4 Triplex, and 7 manual.

It’s great to have my own grinders so I can control everything on the machinery, the cut and the quality of cut. As soon as I think I need to adjust or sharpen I don’t have to waste time, my mechanics can just get it done. The job is perfect every time. The machinery is the best in the world.

I know when I put sand on the green I need to sharpen more or less every time I mow. It makes such a huge difference visually that I can see it straight away.

We work the machines in twos, sharpening two, top dressing, and replacing them with two more freshly ground machines.

We learn in agronomy that when the cut is better the plant is losing less water and is better for disease resistance. We can’t leave the door open for disease to get to the plant. “

Bought up on a golf course in the Ivory Coast, Jérôme started to play golf at the age of 5. “My great grandfather was a greenkeeper in France, my father was a Pro on the European Tour, so golf is in my blood. I’ve worked in France, Spain, the Ivory Coast, and now North Africa. I love my job, and being around golf, but of course, I don’t get the chance to play much any more.

I am proud of my team, and proud when I give a good product. It is a great pleasure to see people enjoying the game and my course.”