A couple of years ago I traveled to Normandy to see the D-Day beaches and bask in the wonderful wine, cheese, art and history lifestyle. Unlike most of my travels, I left my golf clubs at home. I wanted to focus on all things related to D-Day.
That said, I was surprised at how many excellent golf courses there are in Normandy and the western part of France. Golf is much more than a recreation afterthought in this region of France with more than 67 options on the course menu.
Uncrowded fairways, spectacular coastal and countryside terrain and a chilled glass of local white wine at the 19th hole are part of the overall golf experience in Western France.
You won’t bust your budget, either. You can tee up at one of the top notch courses in the region with green fees ranging from $50 to $150. Better still, this region of France is easy to reach by train, rental car or ferry. The most convenient ferry to France from the U.K. is Brittany Ferries. For logistics purposes, the coastal town of Roscoff is in the northwest corner of the region, Paris and Orleans are on its eastern boundary and Bordeaux is situated in the southern quadrant. Here are some of the high-profile play options in Western France:
Golf National Albatros–Twenty miles west of Paris, this future Ryder Cup site (2018) is built like a TPC layout with spectators in mind. Built in 1990, this tournament tested course has impressive mounding and strategically place water hazards. Golf de Granville Bale du Mont St. Michel–Originally laid out in 1912 then redesigned by Harry Colt in 1921, this 18-hole course is regarded as the only true links course in France. Bump and run shots, unpredictable winds and spectacular scenery are part of the overall golf experience at this layout located four miles north of Granville in Normandy. There’s also a fun-to-play 9-hole, par 33, links course at the complex. Golf De la Bretesche–Routed around a magnificent chateau, which golfers see at the start, middle and end of their round, this Henry Cotton design is an exceptional golf experience exuding distinctive western France sophistication. Impeccably maintained to high standards, it features fairways mown in an attractive cross-hatch, chessboard-style. It’s located in the town of Missillac. Saint-Malo Golf Resort–For those seeking a multi-amenity golf resort experience, Saint-Malo near Le Tronchet in Brittany is a great choice. Framed by the Mesnil Forest and bordering Lake Mirloup, this 18-hole course features breathtaking views and well-bunkered greens. More golf is available, too, with an additional 9-hole, par 36 course. Omaha Beach Golf Club–Comprised of two 18-hole courses, this popular facility offers a variety of golf challenges and scenic views. The “La Mer” overlooks the sea and Port en Bessin, a quaint fishing village. For a parkland experience, the hilly and heavily wooded “Le Manoir” introduces visitors to lush Normandy terrain. Golf Club Des Ormes–Located between Saint Malo and Mont St Michel, this course, which is situated near a chateau, has ancient trees, small lakes and beautiful flowerbeds and landscaping.