Friday, April 27, 2012

Golf in France is Magnifique

The spectacular Etretat Golf Club in Normandy.

Phenomenal wine, exquisite cuisine, amazing culture and history and golf courses designed by marquee names like Jack Nicklaus, Pete Dye and Gary Player make France an enticing and viable golf destination.

Though France doesn't immediately top the list when thinking of a European golf destination, (Spain and Portugal promote their golf offerings more aggressively), it has all of the necessities for a superb golf-oriented excursion.

France has almost 600 courses, which is more than the rest of continental Europe combined. Equally important is there are only about 300,000 golfers in France resulting in courses that are, for the most part, relatively uncrowded. Visiting golfers are treated respectfully at most French golf clubs and are generally considered members for a day instead of suspicious interlopers like at some snooty European clubs.

The French golf menu is a diverse one ranging from traditional parkland layouts and links courses to dramatic clifftop and mountain courses. The divergent topography has given designers exceptional terrain to fashion courses with high-impact features. You'll be hard pressed to find two courses that look or play the same.

Whether you want to tee up overlooking the French Riviera, along the rugged coast of Normandy, in golf happy Biarritz or Bordeaux, near Paris or other areas of France, rest assured, the settings, food and wine will always be magnifique. 

Omaha Beach Golf Club in Normandy.
Here's a quick glance at some of France's popular golf courses (listed alphabetically):

Etretat Golf Club (Normandy region)--Its famous white cliffs make it one France's most identifiable courses. By all means, bring your camera along when you play this panoramic layout, which has a view from each hole of the ocean.

Evian Masters Golf Club (Rhone-Alpes region)--Situated at the foot of the Alps Mountains on the shores of Lake Geneva, this championship layout hosts the women's Evian Masters. A wonderland of lakes, trees and mountain views, it's one of Europe's most beautiful courses.

Golf de Chantilly (near Paris)--Stunningly beautiful, this wooded 36-hole complex, originally built in 1909, is the quintessential, traditional French golf experience.

Granville (Normandy region)--If you love links golf, this course is for you. The Golf de Granville du Mont St. Michel, originally laid out in 1912 and later redesigned by Harry Colt in 1921, is a 27-hole links golf complex oozing with charm and challenge.

Les Bordes (Loire Valley)--Consistently ranked as one of Europe's best courses, this private, Robert von Hagge layout has an American feel.

Moliet (Biarritz region)--This Robert Trent Jones design is famous for its jagged bunkers and carpet-like fairways.

Morfontaine (Chantilly region)-Annually ranked by many magazines and websites as a Top 50 course in the world, Morfontaine is notoriously private and you'll need to know a member or have a good connection to play this beauty.

Paris International (near Paris)--The only Jack Nicklaus design in France, this undulating parkland layout features high-profile water hazards and island greens. It's only open to non-members in July and August.

Omaha Beach Golf Club (Normandy region)--Located near the beaches where the Americans landed on D-Day, this picturesque layout is a supreme challenge, especially when the wind starts howling.

Seignosse (Biarritz region)--A highly ranked course designed by Robert von Hagge, is a wildly undulating layout dominated by pine and oak trees.

Versailles-Golf International-Albatross (near Paris)--A blend of Scottish links and target golf, this Robert von Hagge design, home to 18 of the last 20 French Opens, will serve as the venue for the 2018 Ryder Cup.

If you're looking for somebody who thoroughly understands how to combine golf with the French lifestyle,  I'd like to introduce you to Beatrice Martin, managing director of La Haute Couture du Voyage, a boutique style travel agency, with offices in Biarritz, France (+33 689657638) and New York City (917-981-9555) that can help you plan a luxury golf trip  to France. She has programs that incorporate wine appreciation, cooking classes, spa treatments, shopping, historical tours and a variety of other fun and interesting activities away from the fairways.

Here's a sample package to Bordeaux offered by La Haute Couture du Voyage:

*  7 nights accommodation at prestigious chateaux hotels or manors 
*  5 green fees (18 holes)
*  7 days transportation (self drive or with a driver-guide) 
*  daily breakfast
*  5 lunches
*  4 dinners at gourmet restaurants 
*  4 wine tasting visits in some of the famous Grands Crus Classes de Bordeaux 
*  visits to St Emilion medieval village 
*  sightseeing and boat tour in Bassin d’Arcachon and Paris
*  meet and greet at arrival in Bordeaux

Non golfers will enjoy different activities;  Spa treatments, shopping, cooking class, ...
Price starts at 4200 Euro per person/dbl room/ group of 6 minimum (approximately $5,560 U.S. dollars)


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  2. James,
    Always glad to help out a high school grad. Thanks for the compliment. The Guru

  3. I am a big fan of golf and my friends are also golf lover. Last vacations I have a plan to Golf travel but some issue it could not be happened. Now, after visiting your blog sharing I must visit there after my yellowstone bus tours . Your sharing is fully cor operative and helpful for my visit because you shared the Golf information completely and sum up very beautiful. All things are now cleared. I must share my experience after my come back. Any tip for my visit would be much appreciated there.